As a self-confessed yo-yo dieter who had fallen off the bandwagon more than once, all Brook Avard needed was something to keep her accountable, and now she's changed her approach for good. 

Brooke Avard: August '15 BodyBlitz winner - IMAGE - Women's Health and Fitness magazine

I'm turning 30 this year, and I realised that I'd been dieting for half of my life. I know how to eat healthily and I know that I need to exercise... I just have never committed to anything with consistency.

My biggest motivation to take the BodyBlitz challenge was to ensure I was kept accountable – I decided that 2015 was the year to make the changes I needed to be fit and healthy for life. I'd spent years reading about the other winners of the BodyBlitz challenge and decided I could be one of them if I put my mind to it.

In the past I'd been too extreme with both my diet and exercise. I'd fall off the bandwagon by fatiguing my body to a point where I just didn't have the energy to do anything. I would try to go back to a my normal diet with some naughty treats in moderation. But I never had the willpower.

When I put in my BodyBlitz challenge application, took my photos and mapped out my diet and exercise, I was all set for success! But I made the same mistake I always do and went too hard, too fast. So I decided to scale it back a bit.

I still exercised regularly, just not as much, and I added in more carbohydrates to give me some more energy. After another four weeks, I had done considerably less exercise but still lost the same amount of centimetres and weight. This was such a turning point for me. Seeing proof that you don't need hours at the gym in order to get the desired results was such a relief!

After the challenge, my skin is clear, I have much more energy, I'm not as moody and I'm just generally much happier inside and out. My confidence has definitely improved and I'm feeling a lot more comfortable with my body. I'm working on keeping my diet and exercise consistent every day. It's all a work in progress, but by participating in the BodyBlitz challenge, I got the motivation I needed to kick-start my journey into a healthful, fit and happy life past 30.

Brooke Avard - August BodyBlitz winner - PHOTO - Women's Health & Fitness

 

On challenges:
Staying focused and not letting slip-ups get to me was really difficult. The mentality of 'Oh well, I've already eaten something bad today, I might as well start again tomorrow' is something I have struggled with for a long time. Now, if I'm going to have a treat, I'll make it healthy or something I will truly enjoy and make sure I eat well around it.

Honestly, I tend to dislike exercise. It is not something that comes naturally to me and I have struggled with the motivation to exercise since I was 15. Once I start exercising I feel great and I am very motivated to push myself, but I will go through phases where I lose that motivation and won't exercise for several weeks. When I'm not feeling up to a workout for whatever reason, I say to myself, 'Just do 15 minutes.' Then I usually muster the energy to put on my workout clothes because 15 minutes is manageable, and I'll end up doing at least 30 to 45 minutes.


On workout motivation:
I really wanted to have myself as my biggest motivator, because at the end of the day, if you cannot motivate yourself, you are never going to truly succeed in anything. But I have learnt during of the challenge that it's ok if you need outside help. No one is capable of being the perfect human being and doing what they 'should' do all the time. Without my boyfriend I would have really struggled to make it this far and I know going forward I will need his help to stay on track. He is always looking at ways he can better himself and keep healthy mentally and physically, and he encourages me to do the same. He would exercise with me and, if I had a tough day at work and didn't want to exercise, he wouldn't take no for an answer and would get me up and moving. Best of all, his compliments on how I looked and how fit I was getting was really motivating.


On food swaps:
As soon as people know you are doing something to improve your health, the opinions come in thick and fast, and sometimes they aren't very helpful. The amount of times I've been told to 'just eat in moderation'. I try to eat as many whole foods as possible and limit processed foods where I can. My attitude has changed to one where I look at foods and how they will make my body feel and how they will give me the energy I need to get through my day and to fuel my workouts. I've always disliked counting calories, so I'm in the process of learning how to listen to my body and what it wants and when.

On treat meals:
It can be hard to plan cheat meals, so I just try and be realistic about it and, when I do allow myself to have something a bit naughty, I make sure I eat healthy the rest of the time. I tried to make my treats as healthy as possible so I never felt like I was cheating.
Sometimes I would really indulge, but when I did I made sure I chose something I would really enjoy...like a creamy ice cream or a chocolate. I think by allowing yourself the treat, you feel much more content afterwards.


On measurements:
If I didn't have my measurements, I would have been really disappointed with my weight loss. I know scales aren't always the best measurement for weight loss but I had expected to lose much more weight than I did. But every month I measured myself and was so happy to see the changes. Seeing that loss of centimetres just cemented my thoughts that my clothes were fitting a bit looser. It's nice to have that as proof of your efforts.


On goals:
It's amazing how quickly your body adapts. One week I would struggle to do tricep push-ups and would be on my knees, the next week I would be doing a few on my toes and the week after even more than that. It is so motivating to experience that and to know that, even though you might not be seeing results on the scales, your body is changing in a positive way. I didn't lose too many kilograms during the course of the challenge but I consistently lost centimetres and had to go down a dress size. I'm concentrating on HIIT and strength training, and looking to lose another five kilograms and really tone up.

 

NEXT: Taylor Ryan: Gaining weight made life better