“I’ve made a decision to be happy,” she tells WHO. “And I’m choosing to enjoy my life a lot more.”
To that end, she decided earlier this year to prioritise herself, and focus on her health and fitness.
“I’ve always exercised and eaten pretty well but nothing was shifting,” she says. “I was feeling tired, lethargic and not very motivated.”
Having celebrated her 40th birthday in Italy the previous year, Nicodemou concedes she hadn’t stopped indulging, with the champagne still flowing and her sweet tooth showing no sign of abating. So she signed up for the two-month challenge with Sydney trainer Lia Jones of Fit Me Jones. The intention was not to lose kilos but to gain strength and energy, reduce body fat and sculpt.
As she says: “I wanted to be the best version of myself at 41 and put myself first for a little bit.”
Her new boyfriend, Adam Rigby got on board as well and the pair have been training at least five times a week and following the keto diet, which involves cutting out carbs, fruit and alcohol but filling up on fats, meat, fish, chicken and vegetables. Weeks later as she switches from bikinis to exercise gear, her body is sculpted, her skin glows and she seems as if she’s running her life rather than it running her. “I’m so proud of myself,” she acknowledges. “I’ve got the best body I’ve ever had, but I’ve worked really hard and it wasn’t easy.”
Having “a goal and an endpoint” in the form of WHO’s photo shoot kept Nicodemou motivated but it helped that she and Rigby were doing it together. “I don’t want to let him down and he doesn’t want to let me down,” she says. “He’s not drinking so I’m not drinking—that makes it easier.” Asked if she’ll continue as a teetotaller, however, and she bursts out laughing. “Oh, that’s crazy talk. I’ll stick to this way of eating but it’ll be 80/20—80 per cent sticking to it and 20 per cent relaxing it a bit. Life is to be enjoyed.”
Nicodemou has gone from 52 kilos down to 47 on the morning of our shoot but says it’s not the numbers but her energy levels that are the most gratifying. As she says, she’s light, but at 1.55m, even a little extra weight shows on her: “I was one of those people who’d eat big meals every two hours but now it’s three meals a day. I wake up in the morning and plan what I’m going to eat.”
As for exercise, Nicodemou concentrates on strength training while at the gym, but on the days she can’t make it, she gets up around 4.30 AM to 5 AM to work out at home. She does exercises using her body weight, a skipping rope and bands and does a series of crab walks, sit-ups and push-ups every day on top of her gym work. “I’ve noticed a real shift in my body,” she says. “My waist is smaller, my legs and arms have more shape and my booty has lifted—which was one of my goals.”
This article originally appeared on Who