Natalie Wright lost 9 kilos when she took on the BodyBlitz 12-week Challenge. Read her amazing story and see before and after pics!

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 – 10 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 and having a breakdown. I couldn’t even do the zippers up. I didn’t have the money to buy a new work wardrobe; the money went on amazing food and wine and saving for the next trip. But it would not be a food trip this time!

I came across the BodyBlitz challenge after seeing a winner’s article in WH&F and thought, ‘Why not try this? It will give me the motivation to drop the travel weight!’

I’m not going to say it’s been an easy 12 weeks, because it’s been harder than I imagined. To get my body back to its peak performance has been the biggest emotional and physical rollercoaster.

Changing my diet

Before the challenge, I didn’t have a diet plan at all. I would eat what I wanted to, especially when travelling. Since finishing the 12-week challenge however, I’ve started studying health coaching. I’ve realised the effects of certain foods on my body. Even certain healthy foods react in my system. I have since realised what works for me and what doesn’t, whereas in the past, I would just eat and deal with the consequences later. 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. My biggest saviour for my sweet tooth is my homemade chocolate mousse with cocoa, avocado, and almond meal.

At week eight 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 as I didn’t know if it was going to be cancerous or not. Thankfully, it wasn’t, but I did require an operation. I must say, before the operation, the only thing I would look forward to would be finishing work and going home to my amazingly supportive boyfriend before hitting the gym. Running on the treadmill is like a superfood of positivity! After the operation, 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.

The week I discovered the lump, my father was also diagnosed with lung cancer. This threw my head into overdrive. I actually took so much growth from this and implemented it into my everyday life as a positive. It became easier to eat healthily because I didn’t ever want to get cancer because of my own poor lifestyle habits.

After the crazy health experiences, I decided that I needed to get a trainer. I wanted someone to help get me to the next level and amp it up. A gentleman by the name of Michelle from my local gym would train me every Saturday morning. My weight training was amped up tenfold; I knew the basics of what to do, but that was from when I used to train in my early 20s. By the time a woman’s body gets to 33, things really change! Things get sore in places I didn’t even know pain could exist. My trainer was amazing at working around this, but still getting results. I get bored doing the same cardio repeatedly so I mix it up usually every day. During the 12-week program, I learnt that I needed to shock my body daily in order to get consistent results.

Since finishing the challenge, I have more motivation than ever. I actually want to see how amazing I can get this body to look! I have definitely seen a reduction in the cellulite that was forming above my knees, upper thighs and backs of my arms. My skin is feeling firmer and less wrinkled with fewer breakouts. I can now run for 30 minutes, squat 35 kilos, and my yoga and Pilates poses have improved out of sight.

I have even started my own salad business. This came to me at 4am one morning; I woke up and thought – bang! – what a brilliant idea. The next morning I was online creating a company.

If I were to go travelling again, I would pre-check all the hotels I’m staying at to make sure they have an onsite gym or pre-download workouts on my phone or computer to watch. I’m at a point now that I just wouldn’t enjoy my sightseeing if I didn’t work out in the morning.

I still have a long way to go. I want to get better mobility and spot train certain areas for fat reduction. As anyone who trains will know, this is one of the hardest things to do. Everything’s still a work in progress and I’m dealing with lower back pain, which I’m working to slowly cure with yoga and Pilates, which I practise four times a week. I love the stretching and strengthening of core muscles in yoga, especially after intense cardio and weights. Next year I’m planning to go to India to do my yoga teacher training for six weeks.

My advice for other challenge participants is to detox bad friends and lovers out of your life. Change jobs if it’s making you overweight and miserable. Cook batches of quinoa, brown rice, pre chop vegies and lettuce, make homemade sweet teas to keep iced in the fridge, have some kind of little mantra you think daily, and keep telling yourself you are amazing. When people are eating junk food around you, just think, ‘That’s okay for them because it’s not my body.’ That person’s food could be your poison.

Monday: 30 mins cardio, yoga
Tuesday: 30 mins cardio, 20kg step-ups, 10kg kettlebell swings, yoga
Wednesday: 30 mins cardio, 15 mins Power Plate, 15 mins yoga
Thursday: 30 mins cardio, triceps, biceps, boxing, Pilates
Friday: 30 mins cardio, 20 mins stretching
Saturday: 15 mins cross trainer, 45 mins PT session, 15 mins stretching
Sunday: Outdoor walk

Breakfast: Two poached eggs with sriracha sauce and half an avocado or oatmeal, with almond milk and nutmeg.
Lunch: Tuna salad with lentils or quinoa with avocado, leftover meat and some steamed vegies.
Dinner: Steamed fish, chicken, or pork with vegetables, herbs and spices or vegetable curry with all natural foods and spices.
Snacks: Nuts, seeds, dried cherries, goji berries amd blueberries.

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