Being a mother of two and a full-time student, making time for fitness wasn’t easy for Rebecca Malone. But with the support of her family and a rekindled love of the weights room, she’s celebrating the new year with some amazing results.
When I started this challenge I weighed the most I have ever weighed at any point in my lifetime – including both times when I was pregnant! But losing weight wasn’t my main goal; it was to increase energy and vitality and improve my overall health. My kids were the biggest motivation for me; I wanted to be a positive role model to them and show them that, even if you have setbacks or make mistakes, it is still possible to turn things around with focus, time and effort.
I have always liked eating healthy meals and being physically active but in recent years I have often lacked the energy and motivation to prepare the meals or make it to the gym. My ‘inner voice’ would say, “It’s not worth the effort”, so my new motto is “I am worth the effort”. I found weight training easy to get back into because I love how it makes me feel, but cardio was my biggest challenge. I couldn’t run at the beginning of the challenge because of the pain that it caused to my knees and lower back. Instead I went bike riding as often as I could and over time, as I lost weight, I found that I was able to run again without pain.
The biggest change that I have noticed is that I have more energy and greater clarity of thought. I have also noticed that I have improved digestion, better sleep, increased sex drive, and I feel happier overall.
Hit next to see how she did it!
On overcoming challenges:
While completing this challenge I was also studying lab science full time. For safety reasons we’re not allowed to bring any food into the lab room, and sometimes I’d need to stay in the lab room from 9am to 1pm without breaks. The natural temptation after such a long time without food was to eat just about anything regardless of its nutritional value. It didn’t take me long to realise that I needed to adapt and prepare for these days; so whenever I anticipated that we were likely to have an extended lab session, I made sure that I had a little extra food for breakfast.
On workout motivation:
I noticed that there were certain exercises that I did at the gym that made me feel pumped when I got home and for hours afterwards. This feeling kept me motivated and wanting to get back to the gym. My favourite exercise is bent-over rows for my back.
On food swaps:
Apart from the sugar cravings that I experienced for the first five to seven days, transitioning to a healthier eating plan was much easier than I expected. My husband is equally passionate about eating healthy, and my kids were very supportive and willing to try new foods and snacks, so that part was easy. For the most part we all ate the same foods. My oldest son, Isaac, 11, loves roasted Brussels sprouts and Josh, 8, was a big fan of my roasted kale chips, so I included these foods along with a lot of spices to keep things interesting.
On Saturday afternoon I would enjoy two pieces of dark chocolate with a warm cup of tea and on Sundays I would treat myself to half a glass of red wine.
During the initial three weeks, my weight loss was consistent but on week four I did all the same things and didn’t lose any weight whatsoever. I felt like I was letting myself down but my naturopath was very encouraging and, in the end, it really wasn’t a big deal. I am very happy with my after measurements and definitely plan to keep going!
My long-term goal is to get back to size 10-to-12 clothes, and along the way I intend to have fun being active with my family. I would like to run a faster time than my boys, but I don’t like my chances!
WHAT I ATE:
Breakfast: 1/3 cup muesli, two tbsp yoghurt, 1/3 cup warmed berries and ½ tbsp chia seeds
Morning snack: Two corn thins with avocado and cracked pepper and apple
Lunch: Two hard-boiled eggs and a large salad with baby spinach, lettuce, carrot and beetroot, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice
Afternoon snack: A protein ball or bar
Dinner: Skinless chicken breast served on sweet potato and butternut pumpkin mash, topped with steamed bok choy and green beans.
WHAT I DID:
Monday: 10 to 40 minutes of treadmill cardio
Tuesday: Weight training (upper body)
Wednesday: 10 to 40 minutes of cardio (spin bike or rower)
Thursday: Weight training (lower body)
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: Five-kilometre run (outdoors)
Sunday: Core workout and stretches