Coach Real Talk with Abbey
As a child I was very fortunate to live an active lifestyle, always being encouraged to chase every opportunity with sport that came my way. Weekends were spent bouncing around local sporting fields with my Mum and two older brothers supporting one another. Unfortunately, at 18 it all came to a holt when I suffered a torn ACL and meniscus. After my surgery and recovery time, my lifestyle had changed, and I wasn’t prioritising my fitness anymore.
My first bundle of joy was born in 2013 at the age of 21, quickly followed by another in 2014, and finally number three in 2016. Over the three years my body housed, nurtured and fed my beautiful little boys, I was in awe of all that I was physically capable of. Those three years are a blur of sleepless nights, colic and cuddles, definitely not prioritising myself physically or mentally.
On the night of my 25th birthday I was heading out with my friends and my jeans didn’t fit. I raced into KMART to get some new ones, they were four sizes bigger than my last purchase – I’ve always loved my body for what it can do, but this was a huge reality check. I realised the lifestyle that I was currently living definitely wasn’t what I wanted to be modelling for my 3 young sons.
I decided that day to make a change, I promised myself to prioritise my fitness. I headed to my local gym and signed up. After a month I started my first 8-week challenge. I was so excited and happy through seeing my results and improvements in the gym, I felt like I was finding some control again. I didn’t stray from the allocated meal plan once. I trained at least twice a day, some days id be at the gym 3-4 hours. I’d be exhausted when I would get home, but I felt so in control that it didn’t seem like a problem. At the end of the 8 weeks I was so happy to have lost 9kgs – a fire was burning inside me to continue on.
The first 8-week challenge then flowed on to be 18 months of back to back challenges. In that time, I started to develop some really negative habits. I was fuelling myself on an extremely restrictive diet and training atleast 2, sometimes 3 times a day. I would get so down on myself if I didn’t have the results I wanted to have, or get my heart rate to a certain point and I never made time for rest, I would be full of the flu for weeks on end but would still drag myself to the gym, with no consideration for those around me, just to get my sessions in. I put my fitness before my UNI and my grades very quickly declined. My sons were also getting a lesser version of me as come the afternoons I was tired and usually on a come down from a cocktail of pre-workout and thermogenic.
I based my Instagram around my progress and claimed to use it for accountability. Really, this obsession with posting everything started to fuel me on more. I remember looking up hashtags of the weight I’d be sitting at and comparing myself to what I could see. Throughout this time, I was still losing a lot of weight and I would receive so many compliments and praise for my effort it just continued to fuel the fire.
I would set out my goals – primarily weight loss based, and I’d get there but I wouldn’t celebrate, I’d just move onto the next. I would be so hard on myself while I was working towards something, but I wouldn’t allow myself to be happy when I achieved things either. After 30kgs of weight loss on this cycle and constantly chasing a better result, my best friend sat me down and asked me when would I be happy, when would I be satisfied. This conversation made me realise that no number on the scale was going to determine if I was happy or not – and I simply wasn’t. I felt miserable, I was tired, I was drained, I was bored of my training and I knew my mood was starting to have a negative effect on those around me. After this conversation I knew I needed to take a break from my gym - I could see that whatever it was I needed mentally couldn’t be found there and I didn’t want to bring anyone around me down. My best friend again came through with the home truths I needed – what I was doing was not working and if I didn’t change then nothing would.
After a lot of consideration, I moved towards weights training and started to focus on fuelling my body rather than starving it to achieve an aesthetic I had imagined. I began to love my training again and could really feel the benefits of a better diet. At this stage I decided to take up my dear friend Courtney’s offer to try Lissome. I loved my weights training but knew that my athletic ability meant a lot to me and that I couldn’t find that balance alone - I also no longer had any excuses as to why I wasn’t ready.
Luckily for me, and through a lot of reminders from my best friend to stay focussed, I am in a very happy place with my training and nutrition. Finally trusting my body when it leads me to rest and learning to celebrate my wins – aiming to raise the weight on my bar and not worry about the weight on the scales. I still have a long way to go, but I am open to learning and constantly trying to be better. My sons, now 6,5 and 3, love the outdoors and our family time is spent adventuring, I can beat them all in running races and have the energy to play a full game of touch football with them or swim all day at the beach.
I am grateful for my experiences, as challenging as they have been, as I can now truly understand the benefit of being healthy and the importance of giving time to mental health as well as physical health.
Love Abbey XO