Anywhere between 85-83kgs. I will never forget when I jumped on those scales and saw those numbers and thought, hollly molllly I have to do something (especially because I am a shorty 5'5).
The lowest I got to was 57kgs however, I have put on more muscle etc now and found my 'happy' weight at around low-mid 60kgs but I actually do not weight myself anymore! I threw my scales out close to two years ago now and I encourage every woman to do the same, they are the devil, they trick you most of the time but I know how caught up a lot of females can get on the number and its not healthy.
I used to weigh myself every morning and sometimes at night and if my weight increased at all I put it down to the types of foods I was eating that day and felt down about myself. It's not healthy and I know so many woman who do this every day. Your body (especially as a woman) is going to change in weight all the time, different foods hold more water, 1kg of muscle is a lot smaller than 1kg of fat, our bodies can fluctuate a few kgs in a day etc. Now, I only ever take progress photos each fortnight and encourage the people I help to do the same and throw the scales out!
What prompted you to start your fitness journey, was there a particular moment or realisation?
There were so many realisations, stepping on the scales at the beginning. The fact I could never wear shorts because my legs would rub together. When I found out one of my friends called me a whale. I hated the beach because I was petrified to get in my bathers in front of anyone. I would always have to wear stretchy or baggy clothes and I was always called the 'nice one' never pretty, or hot or any of that. As much as you don't want to admit that what others think of you of you matters, it slowly got to me over the years and I was sick of never feeling confident or sexy in my own skin. It was harder for me to keep feeling like that rather than actually working hard to become a better version of myself.
What was the first change you made to your lifestyle?
I first tried to incorporate exercise as well as changing my diet. I have no idea why I became an Exercise Physiologist in the end because at the beginning (and even sometimes still now) I bloody hate exercise haha, it's hard and always challenges me. I slowly tried to improve my cardio by starting some running and at this stage I was in my first year of studying Human Movement at Uni SA so I was learning more about the body and it helped with ideas. I originally tried to cut out carbs, my lifestyle and diet before I started making a change and through school was horrible looking back on it and it came down to a lack of education. My days at school would look something like this, no breakfast, a pie and iced coffee for recess, a sandwich for lunch then I would go home and have two pieces of toast then dinner would be some sort of meat with a high amount of carb again. No wonder I ended up where I did right? I tried so many programs under the sun, low carb - high protein diets, lite and easy, body trim, you name it, I bet you I tried it.
The more I learned through my studies the more I learned that you need a balanced diet, but I wasn't seeing results and I kept falling back to decreasing my intake of carbs and increasing my fitness. I felt depleted, lethargic and I lost all balance in life, my life was revolving around what I was eating and that was brutal. To any woman reading this, carbs are NOT the devil. They are necessary and so important for your body and they will HELP you in weight loss if consumed properly.
What other changes did you initially make to your eating habits?
After years of trying different programs, succeeding then failing again, putting weight back on, then trying to lose it again, I finally found my mojo and something that worked to allow me to enjoy the finer things in life again guilt free (like a good vino and some hot chips, who doesn't love that combo!). My intake of food is a lot different now compared to what it used to be, I eat more veg (eat the rainbow!), I do have more protein in my diet, I have delicious smoothies full of goodness for snacks or if I'm on the run, I eat MORE, I eat carbs, I eat every 2-3 hours which is so important to keep your metabolism kicking and even though its a hard concept for a lot of people to understand, eating more is a good thing! I don't eat as much take away and bad foods etc, I definitely still enjoy myself on weekends and out with friends etc but compared to what I used to be like, its a change.
I now also include intermittent fasting into my weeks. It was something that I looked into a small amount during my studies but more so in the last 4 years the evidence that is behind it is huge not only for weight loss but cardiovascular benefits, future brain health and the list goes on! I incorporate a supported intermittent fasting day into each week and that has honestly been my secret weapon to life and I believe is one of the main reasons why I have now found a happy balance.
What other changes did you initially make to your exercise habits?
As I studied more in Exercise Physiology I tried HIIT training and loved doing circuit work and I would try to incorporate some light weights as well as cardio into my weeks. As I started to make changes, I just tried to have a goal to move my body every day or at least every second day which in itself can be its own barrier when you're not used to exercising at all. Its all about starting and becoming more consistent.
How did your fitness progress?
It takes time!!!! Its so easy to get disheartened when you have been smashing a program for a couple of weeks and you haven't seen much progress but I promise you guys, its helping, you just have to be consistent. It has taken me yearsssss to reach a stage where I feel confident in my own body, it has also taken a lot of stuff ups but its how many times you can pick yourself back up that counts. It also takes time to figure out what works for you and what feels good.
What changes made the most difference?
The consistent intermittent fasting was a game changer as well as finding ways to add convenience into my day. I am by no means a master chef and I definitely hate meal prepping because there is no worse smell then opening a tupperware container of cooked chicken and broccoli (trust me its a horrible smell and will put you off for life haha) so having easy ways to get nutrition into my body and playing around with easy and delicious meals that I liked helped a lot.
Combining this sort of consistent nutrition intake with consistent exercise, in particular weights is what I have found to be most effective for my body. So many woman are afraid of weights because they think they are going to get bulky (total myth!) but lifting heavier completely changed my body and there is nothing better than feeling strong!
How did you feel during the process?
At the beginning of my journey, it was hard I'm not going to lie. I struggled a lot especially when I was living at home and always having to cook my own meals and self motivate myself. I am so grateful that I kept going because today I can confidently say that I have found balance, and that with hard work and going through those ups and downs you find yourself, you find what works for you and you start to create a real lifestyle change in stead of feeling like you're constantly on a diet. When you start to realise the power you have in yourself and what you can achieve, thats when you become unstoppable.
What helped to keep you motivated?
The small wins! From getting through a day of not eating any junk, to getting through a session and knowing you put in 100% to then taking a progress photo and being amazed and thinking 'wow, I've actually got this'. Its all the small steps and the small wins over a period of time that lead to a real lifestyle change.
Do you have any favourite motivational quotes?
Coach Carter! I love it because it shows how powerful we can be.
'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve this world'
What are your current short and long term goals?
Fitness wise, I have just gone through a phase where I have been building my booty, I could never active my bum properly and I would like to call it the pancake to peach program hahaha so finally I have a toosh that can switch on and I have worked hard for but that will always be a work in progress. I am about to start a 16 week program with my partner just for fun and to get fit together (a slight in house competition ahah). But in all honesty, I always have the goal to get to the gym each day and to fuel my body properly and that is always a priority to me whilst still enjoying life and going with the flow.
Outside of my own goals, I want to help other women feel confident in their own bodies, no matter what body shape they are. I have been big before, I have been a lot smaller than what I am now and over time I have learned to love and respect my body at every stage. We are so much more than our bodies and there is so much more to life than trying to strive for 6 packs. Being healthy comes in so many shapes and sizes, the human body is bloody amazing and beautiful. To me happiness is balance, its nourishing my body, its moving my body, its still enjoying a vino with my friends on weekends and enjoying a pie at the footy with my dad guilt free. It's feeling confident in my own skin. I want to help others realise that eating well doesn't have to be hard and that exercise doesn't have to be the devil. There is a happy medium out there, I promise you!
What would a day on a plate look like for you now?
A normal day to me looks something like this.
Wake up: Morning adaptogen and vitamin shot and piece of dark rye toast with peanut butter
Gym: weights session or a short burst interval session
Post gym: Protein Smoothie
Lunch: Some sort of protein either eggs, tuna with veg and carb
Mid arvo snack: Protein Smoothie
Dinner: I have actually been using Hello Fresh for dinners at the moment because as I said above, I am all about convenience and I suck at cooking haha. But usually a protein and veg/salad with a small amount of carb.
What is your current exercise routine?
I have been trying to activate and build my booty a bit more lately so I am doing 3 heavy leg weights sessions a week, then two upper body sessions that would include some intervals of sprints of on the bike or sleds at the end for 20mins or a long walk along the beach instead of the intervals.
What achievement are you most proud of?
I think it would have to be realising that going through my own struggles and just doing the do has given me the chance to help others push through their own fears and achieve greatness. Its so easy to look back and be annoyed that you were always bigger and unhappy growing up and you wished things were different but if they were different, you wouldn't be where you are today. I am so grateful looking back on it all now that I went through all that I have because it got me to where I am today and gave me the belief that if a spud like me can do it, you can too.
What advice would you give to others wanting to do the same?
Stop striving for perfection, having a 6 pack isn't the bee's knees. Take it day by day and stop talking so harshly on yourself and your body. It takes time, it takes lots of stuff ups. You are exactly where you are meant to be right now and all you can do is be in charge of what decisions you make next. Just know how powerful you are and that if you want to make a change, you can do it.