What prompted you to start your fitness journey, was there a particular moment or realisation?
When I started my fitness journey, I was in a corporate job covering Asia Pacific – it was a demanding job. I travelled extensively, sometimes up to three months a year. My health hadn't been prioritised and slowly over the years I had gained the weight. One day in May 2016, I was in the office early, feeling exhausted, and was due to go on another flight to Singapore the next day. I realised something had to change to avoid burnout. I made the decision then and there to put my health as the number one priority in my life.
What was the first change you made to your lifestyle?
On the same morning that I made this decision, I was booked in to meet with Chris Foy, the owner of Vision Personal Training in North Sydney, to talk about starting personal training. It was good timing – I was ready to fully commit to it, and we agreed that I would start when I got back from Singapore. I had a lot to learn about nutrition and fitness!
What other changes did you initially make to your eating habits?
My biggest issue was more quality rather than quantity of food. I was never really into eating junk food – but I ate a lot of calorie dense processed carbs, bread, rice, pasta etc. and nowhere near enough protein in my diet. My immediate change was to start having protein for breakfast – it kept me fuller for longer, and the other change was to actually start eating more, of the right food. This kick started my metabolism.
What other changes did you initially make to your exercise habits?
I started personal training with Chris which included weight lifting 2 times a week, as well as joining boxing classes. I also made sure I walked as much as possible – bush walking, just walking to and from work – to get as much activity in as possible.
How did your weight loss/fitness progress?
As I was very committed to my goal, I was pretty consistent with my weight loss – I lost around 500g a week on average over the 16 months. I realised that I didn’t put on the weight overnight and that it would be better to be consistent and lose the weight slowly as a long-term lifestyle change, rather than a short term quick fix.
What changes made the most difference?
I learnt a lot about nutrition and eating a balanced diet - eating more protein really helped to balance out any hunger – I never felt like I was on a diet at any point or restricted. I told myself I could eat whatever I wanted, but I was just choosing a balanced meal - I aim to eat 5-6 times a day, with a mix of protein, fats and carbs balanced throughout the day. Boxing was a great way to let off steam as well. Another area I focused on was trying to make sure I got more sleep – it’s amazing the difference it makes. Having a personal trainer also helped me to keep accountable and pointed in the right direction towards my goals.
How did you feel during the process?
It was a real emotional rollercoaster – the biggest challenge in losing weight is a mental one, not a physical one. Turning up to do the weights or boxing was the easy part. Staying focused and disciplined mentally to keep on track with the nutrition took a lot of mental effort – you are changing lifelong habits, and with any change there comes a resistance to it at times. Yet I never had giving up as an option – I would give myself a pep talk and stay focused, re-evaluate what I needed to improve on and kept looking forward. There were great highs when hitting big milestones and goals and that made all the effort worth it.
What helped to keep you motivated?
A few things – first was actually the people around me. I had a great personal trainer who was patient, answered all my questions, and pushed me just enough. My husband and friends were very supportive and encouraging about what I was doing. Second, I also wanted to help inspire others about reaching their full potential and improving their health – if I could do it, anyone can. I wanted to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. This kept me going. Finally, I’m quite goal orientated, so the incentive of hitting a big goal motivated me in itself.
Do you have any favourite motivational quotes?
Progress not perfection.
What are your current short and long term goals?
Short term, I’m actually embarking on overseas travel in Asia and I’m looking forward to some multi day treks!
Long term, aside from continuing to build my lean muscle mass, I have established a small health and fitness accessories company– @gpgactive. 100% of profits are donated to health and wellbeing charities that provide support and services to help people achieve their wellbeing goals, regardless of their financial or personal life circumstances. Everyone has their own personal challenges that means their health is often not prioritised, and I strongly believe that everyone should be able to get access to the support that I was lucky to receive. This is a way to help make that happen.
What would a day on a plate look like for you now?
Breakfast: Salmon or tuna, spinach, almonds, and a little bit of mayo
Mid Morning: Greek yoghurt
Lunch time: Chicken breast, sweet potato, salad
Mid Afternoon: Almonds and fruit
Dinner: Steak, mushrooms, veggies
Supper : I love chocolate. I always have a couple of pieces of dark chocolate with herbal tea to finish the day
What is your current exercise routine?
PT sessions 2 x a week, boxing 1:1 once a week, and walking for around 4hrs a week
What achievement are you most proud of?
Hitting 40kg weight loss! I also had a DEXA scan and came in at 19.8% body fat.