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‘I Lost 50kg By Changing Bad Habits and Believing In Myself’
29-year old Norasa Yorkston had a “very unhealthy relationship with fitness and food.” Eating dinners for breakfast, consuming lots of alcohol and sugary drinks, and never exercising, was part of her norm only a few years ago. After getting very bad backpain (weighing in at about 125kg) and looking down the barrel of type two diabetes, she knew it was time to change.
Completely turning her life around, Yorkston started off with some lifestyle changes, like walking to and from work and ditching processed food, which saw her lose an initial 20kg. She then joined her local Genesis Health + Fitness where she took part in classes, a 6-week challenge etc and lost a further 30kg (got down to 75kg). She now trains 5-6 times a week with a mix of strength, high intensity and active recovery days and still walks/rides her bike to and from work.
Here’s how she did it.
I had a very unhealthy relationship with fitness and food.
I would eat large portions of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On average, I would eat leftovers for breakfast, usually some sort of meat and rice. For lunch it would vary depending on what was available at work or, again, I would be leftovers. Dinner would consist of either takeaway (pizzas, Chinese, Thai) or meat and rice with little to no vegetables or salads. Between meals, I would eat unhealthy snacks. During my days off, I would consume, on average, 2-3 cartons of alcohol and sugary drinks with minimal water in-between.
I did no pro-active exercise at all. I had bad sleeping habits so I would always feel tired and be mentally and physically exhausted. I struggled with my day-to-day movements which led to having bad back pain from being heavy. I was also on the borderline of getting type two diabetes if I didn’t change my lifestyle.
I don’t specifically have a defining lowest point but often I would feel uncomfortable in my own skin and body. I would struggle to find clothes that would fit me properly, which was mentally draining. I would hate when it was summer as I would often struggle at times to walk down the street and play with my nieces/nephews in the park.
On my maternal side, we have a history of heart attacks. I was my mother’s carer while she underwent a triple by-pass surgery. After witnessing and helping my mother and the pain she went through, I thought to myself, if I wanted to live longer, I need to change my lifestyle around immediately.
I started my journey early 2016. When I began, I was 125.5kg.
How it started
Changing bad habits to good habits slowly and taking it day by day. I stopped using public transport/car to get to work and instead, I would walk to and from work daily. I began changing my diet and increased my vegetables, fruits and water intake. I cut back on rice, bread, takeaways and managed my portion sizes. I started believing in myself and doing it for myself, trusting myself and the process.
A typical day looked like this:
- Increasing my vegetables, fruits and water intake. Cutting back on rice, bread, takeaways, drinking alcohol and sugary drinks. I also controlled my portion sizes, packed lunch and snacks to work.
- Breakfast: omelette, spinach, cherries tomatoes, medium fruit, baked beans and black coffee. Lunch: chicken or tuna salads. Dinner: either salad/steam veggies/baked veggies/fried veggies and portion size chicken, fish and steak. Snacks: carrot and cucumber stick with peanut butter. Rice crackers with banana and cinnamon. Fruit salads and mixed nuts. Sometimes I make homemade protein balls. Dessert: once in a blue moon or when I’m craving a certain dessert.
I started walking to work and then picked up the pace and did some running as well. Once I was a bit more confident and comfortable enough with my body, that’s when I walked into the gym. As it was my first time in the gym, I had no idea what to do or where to start. I would always be in the corner doing cardio only and watching everyone else working out.
Once I got more comfortable, I started doing some of the exercise classes which were awesome, fun and enjoyable. Every now and then, my brother Karim would help me with weight training. Weight training was not my thing and I did not understand one bit of it. One day I discovered the Coaching Zone, which is the group training section at my Genesis Health + Fitness gym. BEST THING EVER! I lost 20kgs before joining the gym just by changing my diet and being more active. Whilst doing Coaching Zone, I lost an extra 25-30kgs and I dropped down to 75kgs.
The Coaching Zone helped me immensely with strength, exercise techniques and more. I really enjoyed group classes as it kept me motivated and everyone else in the class pushed each other day in day out. Regardless of how bad my day is, when I hit the gym, I forget everything that had happened and finish the day with a smile. I believe what really worked for me, is the combination of strength and cardio.
I train 5-6 times a week with a mix of strength, high intensity and active recovery days. Today, I still walk/ride my bike to and from work.
My body, my mindset, my attitude, my energy levels and my confidence are 100 times better. I love the new me and who I’ve became today. Dropping clothing sizes was my biggest “wow” moment, that’s when I realised, I was making progress in my journey. I went from wearing size 22/24 to size 14/16.
My advice to other women who want to start but can’t find the motivation would be that nutrition and fitness go hand in hand. If you don’t know where/how to start, just start, because one day something/someone will come along and help you. You are your own worst emery, be consistent and enjoy the journey. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
It has taken me since 2016 to get where I am today but this is not the end of my journey. Since studying fitness in 2021, I now have a better understanding of how things work and what to do. My journey continues.
I never thought I’d be where I am today. This year, I started a job at Geneses Health + Fitness Cairns City – the gym where I have transformed myself over the last few years! My coaches encouraged me, as they saw my potential and my passion – and I wanted to gain a better understanding and knowledge of health and fitness. I completed a Cert 3 –4 and I now have a better understanding of fitness and how important the little things are to each individual. I love working with people on their transformations and seeing the members leaving a session with a smile always brings joys to my heart. My job and seeing other people determined to change their lives further inspires me on my health and fitness journey as well.
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