‘I used self-care to lose 15kgs’

If you’ve ever struggled to find your motivation after an extended break from the gym, you’ll relate to this suburban mum, Hannah, who put her wellbeing on the back-burner as she struggled with a newborn and post-natal depression.

“Overcoming [my mental battle] was my priority, and my physical health fell by the wayside. I was eating emotionally and I remember saying to myself ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ and then every day would turn into the next day,” recalls the mother of two.

It took a photo her husband took of her to snap her out of her ‘emotional eating’ habits and into action. “I saw those photos and thought ‘wow, I’m big’! I was still in my pregnancy clothes even though my baby was 9 months old,” Hannah recalls.

At that point, Hannah weighed herself in at 86kgs, at 155cms tall.

The first step? “I started at a women’s outdoor training group and the other girls in my class, all my age, were lapping me. That was just so depressing, but it also actually made me really determined so I got more and more into it.”

Hannah also started to eat more mindfully, eating with purpose and making nourishment her priority. “I do 16:8 intermittent fasting. As soon as I get home from the gym I put the coffee machine on, so I start the day with a double shot almond cappuccino at about 6:30am. Then at around 9am I have I have an almond piccolo. Then for lunch I’ll have a poke bowl with brown rice or noodles, a cup of tea in the afternoon and loads of water. And then for dinner we’ll usually have protein and salad. We don’t drink generally,” she explains.

About 5 months ago, Hannah discovered F45, the popular HIIT training program at a gym near her home. “We have negotiated a time, so I get up at 4:30am every day and I go to a 5am class. This is truly the only time in my day where I’m not thinking about someone else’s needs; be it my children’s needs, what’s going on in everyone’s diaries, my client’s needs – 100% I am just there, pushing through the pain.”

“Since I started training in the mornings, I’ve noticed my body fat has reduced quite a lot. When I started at F45 my body fat was at around 25% and now it’s down to 17.5% (this happened in around 5 months) so I think morning exercise is so important.”

Hannah’s tips for other busy mums lacking the motivation to start? “Find a workout buddy. If you don’t have accountability, you just won’t to do it. I think F45, or any of those class-based gyms are great because you’re accountable from the moment you book in, rather than a standard gym when you just show up.”

She recommends locking in a time in your diary and being consistent. When it comes to diet, Hannah thinks it’s about changing your mind frame. “I think we are so preoccupied with the immediate benefits – being thinner or healthier – but I think weighing up the long term benefits is equally as important. In our family we have a history of heart disease, so thinking big picture; ‘I’m going to be around for my kids’ and ‘I’m setting myself up for a longer life’.

“I know how hard it was to get motivated because I was one of them. I remember my daughter asking me ‘mummy, why are you going to the gym?’ and I said to her, ‘because I’m not only mummy, I’m Hannah’. Remembering that you’re more than just a mum or a wife. This is something for you alone.”

If you loved this, you should read about how Khloe Kardashian lost 15kgs 3 months after giving birth without dieting, and the 5 pregnancy non-negotiable rituals Lea Simmons does to keep fit and healthy.

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Fitness | body+soul