Natalie Wright has overcome more than just her weight and fitness woes. During the challenge, she had a lump removed from her breast, suffered a deeply personal loss and topped it off with a move overseas. Even so, she had some amazing results and has come out on top as our BodyBlitz Champion. This is her story:

BodyBlitz 2015 Grand Champion - IMAGE - Women's Health and Fitness

After travelling for almost two years with my boyfriend – who seems to be able to eat anything and never change – I put on a lot of excess weight, 14 kilos to be exact. I didn't regret one minute of the trip, but by the time we got back to Australia I felt heavy, tired and completely lacking in energy.

The turning point was realising none of my work clothes fit; I couldn't even do the zippers up! At the time I didn't have the money to buy a new work wardrobe... I broke down. I was working long hours in the corporate world, and the combination of the way I was feeling and the work I was doing simply made life harder. I got to the point where the money was good but nothing else was, and dammed if I wanted to feel like that for the rest of my life. I wanted more! I came across the BodyBlitz challenge after seeing a winner's article in WH&F, and I thought, 'Why not try this?' It turns out to be the game changer I needed!

The results I got from doing the challenge were the start of something bigger. I saw great results but knew I could get amazing if I kept going. It made me realise that I always want to do whatever I have to in the attempt to prevent cancer and diseases. After the challenge was when I started training harder and really stepped it up a notch. Two months after the challenge I made more changes to my diet and I noticed the thin layer of chub I seemingly just couldn't shift starting to disappear. This was unbelievably motivating as I started to see definition from all the weights I had been doing.

The change wasn't easy; actually, it was harder than I imagined! But the feeling of bloated and chubby is something I never want to go back to as it makes me so unmotivated to do anything, and I don't want that.

On overcoming challenges
About halfway through the challenge I found a lump in my breast. I went in for a biopsy and ended up having it removed. This was the hardest three weeks of my life – waiting to hear if it was cancerous or not. In the same week, my father was also diagnosed with lung cancer. This threw my head into overdrive. But my own lifestyle changed as a result – I wanted to be positive. It became easier to eat healthily because I didn't ever want to get cancer because of my own poor lifestyle habits.

Thankfully, the lump in my breast was not cancerous, but I did require an operation. They removed 80 per cent of my left breast and I had to have six days off. During this time, I stayed controlled with food and did lower body strength training at home. I didn't want this to be what stopped me continuing with my achievements, so I stayed very strong-minded and kept visualising where I wanted to be. I kept doing whatever I could to keep myself healthy, with excellent nutrition and low-intensity workouts.

Although this was the hardest and most traumatic time of my life, I kept strong and looked at setbacks like another challenge thrown at me to make me stronger. The BodyBlitz challenge kept me focused at a time in my life when I needed it the most. I had such a deep desire to keep going and potentially win. I guess it was like an inner challenge for me, and I believed that if I kept up the healthy eating and fitness then things could and would only get better. The week my winning article came out in WH&F was the same week my father passed away. It was a strange old time with a bittersweet feeling and my own personal victory. My father never saw the article, but I believe the reason I won was because his illness gave me the inner strength to never want to get cancer. The way of life I took on during the challenge is now just a part of every day. My life has changed in ways I never dreamed possible.

Natalie Wright is our BodyBlitz Grand Champion - PHOTO - Women's Health & Fitness

On workouts

During the challenge, probably over halfway, I decided that I needed to get a trainer. I wanted someone to help get me to the next level in my training. I worked with a trainer from my local gym every Saturday morning. I knew the basics of what to do, but that was from when I used to train in my early 20s, and by the time a woman's body gets to 33, things really change! My weight training was amped up tenfold by my trainer, and I was sore in places I didn't even know pain could exist. My trainer was amazing at working around this, but still getting results.

I love my current level of fitness! Since the challenge, everything has come a long way – I never thought I could have a butt that was as toned as it is now. It got to the point I thought, 'Oh well, it's just genetic,' but with the training I'm doing, I'm seeing huge results. I feel stronger than I have ever felt. It's helped me stay mentally strong and believe that I can do anything I set my mind to. When I didn't have the fitness I have now, I used to get down a lot easier. My cardio has definitely dropped back and weights are the main focus; however, I do love to run every day for mental clarity. Variety is key for me. I get bored easily, so I need to keep things mixing. Most of the time I won't go to the gym or park with a plan; I'll just do whatever comes to mind. I like to keep it this way – I don't like to feel like exercise has to be a strict plan every day.

On food
In the past, I would just eat and deal with the consequences later. Food changes everything inside and out. I never really understood this or even deeply listened to my body. I would just eat things, feel crappy, have heartburn, dry skin, brittle hair and an excess layer of body fat. No matter how hard I was working out and 'eating right', things weren't changing, but now through education and understanding my body, everything changed. I have since realised what works for me and what doesn't. The main thing I have changed is eating more raw foods, less meat and less dairy. When I'm craving something I'll listen to my body and work out what vitamins and minerals it really needs.

During the initial challenge, I had a girlfriend say to me, "What are you doing, you look so good?" That night I woke up with a great business idea to help people. It came to me at 4am. I decided I wanted to start a salad business. The next morning I was online creating a company. It's called BANG SALADS do SALAD. I thought 'bang!', I can educate people on how to eat and make healthy, quick and simple salads in a fun way. I've gathered followers and media interest around this great idea and loving every minute of it. Every week I'll film myself in the kitchen demonstrating how to make something. I love the challenges that come along with starting your own business. Promoting a healthy, happy positive way of life is the greatest thing I've ever done.

On body
Since finishing the challenge I have more motivation than ever. I wanted to see how amazing I can get this body to look! After the challenge I had less cellulite, firmer skin and fewer breakouts!

Three months after the challenge ended I had reconstructive surgery on my breasts. After losing a large proportion of my breast I decided for myself to have them fixed – I wasn't happy and at that stage didn't ever want to wear a bikini again! I knew some people would be judgmental, but honestly, that's their problem. For me this was a very important thing to do as it truly gave me the confidence back that I was missing. I know how much happier I am that I can walk down the beach without a missing breast.

Loving and accepting your body is something we are all capable of. When we treat our body with love and respect through eating right and exercising, it responds in amazing ways. I've been down and out in the past and didn't listen to any signs my body gave me, but once I started listening to my gut, everything changed. My best advice is to keep telling yourself you are amazing and great things will happen; cellulite and stretch marks don't define your future.

On the future
I'm currently based in the USA. If you asked me 12 months ago where I would be it would definitely not have been here. If I didn't take on the challenge, I would be still feeling the same, with no energy and limited perspective. I decided to take the path less travelled and signed up to become an integrative nutrition health coach. I love everything I'm learning and cannot wait to help people be healthy, fit and happy! If I can help transform one person's life the way I did my own then I'll be the happiest girl in the world. I'm also about to take on my personal training certificate in the USA.

To top it all off, I recently released my first book: The Kitchen Workout. This idea came about when I resigned from my career to go back to study again. I had to cancel my gym membership for a time as money didn't allow for it. I wanted to incorporate working out and cooking at the same time – two of the things I love the most. I also wanted to create something quick and fun and that's what The Kitchen Workout is: a seven-day meal plan for beginners, introducing them to healthy recipes and some quick workouts to go along with it!

Doing the BodyBlitz challenge
turned out to be the greatest thing I have ever done for myself. It kept me striving for greatness, and that's exactly what I achieved and will continue to do. I feel that if you're feeling healthy, then no matter what obstacles are put in your way, you can take them on.

NEXT: Taylor Ryan - Gaining weight made life better