Four years ago, our incredible 12WBTer Natalie kickstarted her journey to better health and fitness. And WOW, isn’t she an inspiration! After losing 20kg she now has her eyes set on competing in a bikini fitness competition! Here is her unforgettable story to transforming her body, mind and entire life.
What was your ‘light bulb’ moment, when you just knew something had to change?
I remember being at my heaviest after having my third daughter. She was around 3 at the time. But it wasn’t just that I was heavy, I wasn’t healthy and I was miserable and just lacked energy. The pivotal moment, and I remember it like it was yesterday, was when I woke up one morning and I tried to get up out of bed but was unable to lift myself up because of the complete loss of abdominal strength. I had to literally roll myself onto my side and roll out of bed. I felt so low. I was 38 at the time and just thought that I didn’t feel old enough for my body to be doing this. I just knew I needed to change.
What was one of your biggest hurdles at the beginning of your 12WBT journey and how did you tackle it?
The biggest hurdle was juggling my time between three kids, fitting in all my workouts and making sure I was sticking to the nutrition plan. At first it was so overwhelming, working out “how to”. But it really is as simple as just organising a schedule and STICKING TO IT! With the meals, I organised a couple of days during the week to “prep” my meals for the next 3 -4 days ahead. I made sure I knew what meals I was going to eat for certain days, scheduled the same time each week to shop for the ingredients and then followed the recipes exactly. Organisation is the key!
What tricks or hacks did you employ to keep the motivation going?
I didn’t realise until I had to start working out 6 days a week for the 12WBT program, that I had so many excuses to talk myself out of a workout!! But I had to dig really deep within myself and understand “WHY” I needed to lose the weight. My reason for doing it was because I needed to make sure that my kids could have the very best version of me. I knew I wasn’t living my truth and that I had completely let myself go. The act of looking after yourself is never a selfish act. The idea of placing the oxygen mask on yourself first is so that you have the ability to then help others. Mothers so often put themselves last. Nurturing myself and finding time for me was important and also giving myself little rewards after weekly or monthly achievements was a great way to stay motivated.
How did you feel at beginning of your journey compared to now?
I definitely went in having absolutely no idea what I was in for. I was always tired and sore, lethargic. I hated it! But that was because my body just wasn’t used to so much movement. Now, I train quite hard and lift heavy weights, and I really enjoy being sore and tired from a tough workout! Hahaha.
What little quirks helped you through?
I always tried to save my last snack till as late as possible in the evening, when I could wind down in front of the telly with the kids. They were always the most challenging times as I would always want to pick at something. I would always have a chai vanilla tea and a large bottle of water when I would sit down, then I’d have the snack after that – blueberries were my go-to!
How are you planning on maintaining your healthy new lifestyle in the future?
I’ve crossed over the point of “maintaining” my new lifestyle – it’s now just a way of life. I continue to make new goals so I am constantly achieving and growing. Right now, my goal is to compete in a bikini fitness competition in September! I never would have imagined myself doing that in a million years just a few years ago.
What are the three biggest lessons learnt through doing 12WBT?
- You must take care of yourself first. Nourish your body, mind and spirit – all 3 are linked together for a reason. Keep your mind just as healthy and strong as your body.
- Be organised and plan well ahead. Being consistent is truly the key to your success.
- Know your “why”. Understanding why I was doing it was the ultimate motivation to keep persisting, especially during the tough times.
What’s one thing you’d love to say to your past self, now that you know what you know?
It will all be ok. You are so much stronger than you could ever imagine. Trust the process and enjoy the journey because that’s where your growth is.