Welcome to You Got This, news.com.au’s weekly slice of fitness inspiration featuring tips and advice from real women who’ve experienced it all.
For years, the thought of wearing a bikini was the last thing on Gabrielle May’s mind.
But after embarking on a healthy lifestyle journey three years ago, she now has the confidence to flaunt her physique.
She said since overhauling her eating and exercise habits, her physical and mental states have both seen huge improvements.
“I took a year before exercise to work on my mental health – to try and be nice to myself,” Ms May, 35, told news.com.au.
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Before embarking on her 55kg transformation, the single mother-of-five said she often put herself down, using the mirror to cover-up unflattering bits of her body.
“I became a mum very young. I was 21, and so much of our self-worth is tied up in how look whether we like it or not – and that’s a hard journey to go on,” she said.
“I felt like I was losing myself under increasing weight and I had very low self-esteem, I was very insecure and I didn’t have a kind inner girl.”
After spending all of 2016 working on her mental health, Ms May said she not only learned to love her self again, but realised she too deserved to live a happy and healthy life.
It was in this moment and after the birth of her youngest child, the Hobart woman decided she to put herself on her priority list.
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In 2017 she signed up to Aussie fitness guru Kayla Itsines’ 12-week Bikini Body Guide challenge and SWEAT app and together with changing her eating habits, she went on to lose a whopping 55kg.
“I can 100 per cent say that I feel how much these mums think it’s not possible because I remember feeling that way too,” she said.
“I really just switched what it meant to use my time – for example instead of spending 30 minutes on the couch binge-eating or scrolling through my phone, I would invest time in an activity and improving my energy.”
She also substituted one unhealthy meal a day for a salad with protein or vegetables.
“For me, it was all that mindless eating of rushing throughout the day, ending up hungry and eating whatever was left over,” she said.
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“I used food as comfort and I also had a lack of education, thinking eating less helped, not realising I would just binge later.”
Ms May began exercising at home which included three days of resistance training a week, before moving her sessions to a gym and doing five days of weights training.
“It was challenging,” she said.
“I was also homeschooling and I needed to do something that didn’t take up time in my family as I had no support.”
She said while it was a long, slow process, she did not lose sight of her goal.
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“I was so unfit I couldn’t actually do the cardio. I couldn’t complete most of the movements and often had to hit pause.”
But after reminding herself “I can do this” Ms May went on to surprise herself.
“I realised I was capable, that I can make myself proud and went from running 300m to running a marathon in Melbourne last year.”
“I also felt strong enough to leave my relationship and be a single mum to five kids.”
Ms May’s journey also inspired her first ever job after having been a stay-at-home mum for 12 years. She has now become a personal trainer and achieved something she always dreamt of – releasing her first book, If I’m Being Honest.
“I changed my life and the weight dropped off me. It was always about feeling amazing and doing my best.”
If you’ve got a transformation story you’d like to share, get in touch with [email protected]