Two Daily Mail Australia reporters defy shift work and the party season to shed 10kg in 12 weeks


A typical afternoon used to consist of joining colleagues for beers, but now you’ll see them sweating it out at the gym and meal-prepping lunch and dinner for the next day.

Reporters Kelsey Wilkie, 27, and Lauren Ferri, 23, have spent the past 12 weeks transforming their bodies – and their lives.

Beginning their fitness journey in October, they spent each week working with personal trainer Julian Hooper and nutritionist Jennifer May in the hope of getting shredded for summer. 

While the women started with the same goal, they quickly learned no two bodies are the same, and there’s no one program you can follow.  

But despite challenges and a few pitfalls along the way, both women were successful in transforming their minds, bodies and in many ways, their lives – losing a combined 15kg in the process. 

This is their journey.  

Kelsey pictured before the challenge

Kelsey pictured after the challenge

Before and after: Reporter Kelsey Wilkie (pictured) started this fitness journey at 69kgs and now weighs a healthy and comfortable 62kgs

Lauren pictured before the 12 week challenge

Lauren pictured at the end of the 12 week challenge

Before and after: Reporter Lauren Ferri (pictured) started this fitness journey at 98kgs and lost a total of ten kilograms, now weighing 88kgs

Kelsey pictured before at 69kgs

Kelsey pictured after at 62kgs

While Kelsey was often told she did not need to lose weight by those around her, she was keen to get into a more active lifestyle

Lauren pictured before

Lauren pictured after

Lauren has been technically overweight for much of her adult life but said she never really had any issues with body image

Kelsey Wilkie pictured before

Kelsey Wilkie pictured after

Kelsey found that the help from professionals was eyeopening and helped her tackle her bad habits that impacted her nutrition

Lauren pictured before at 98kgs

Lauren pictured after at 88kgs

Lauren said that beginning a full-time shift-work job caused her to fall into some bad habits and she got to the heaviest she had ever been at 98kgs

KELSEY’S STATS: 

Starting weight: 69kgs

Final weight: 62kgs

Starting size: 10-12

Final size: 8

LAUREN’S STATS: 

Starting weight: 98kg 

Final weight: 88kg

Starting size: 16

Final size: 14 

Why did we decide to do it?

Kelsey: Everyone kept saying to me, ‘you don’t need to lose weight, you look fine’. Sure, I wasn’t massively overweight, but I still wasn’t healthy and I knew it.

My eating habits were erratic, I relied on sugary foods for my energy far more than I should have. I was drinking more caffeine than water and eating a minimal amount of fruit and vegetables.

I was drinking heavily, doing little to no exercise and my sleeping pattern was irregular. 

My bad habits showed in both my skin and hair, and I knew something needed to change – I weighed 69kg and was at the point where I was struggling to fit into size 10 jeans. 

When Sydney City Nutritionist Jennifer May explained how my bad habits were impacting not only my nutrition but my entire life, it opened my eyes. 

I have never been a fan of cooking and would often rely on UberEats and cheese and crackers for dinner.

This had to change.  

Reporters Kelsey Wilkie (left) and Lauren Ferri (right) are both more confident flaunting their figures on the beach after they became stronger and fitter from the 12 week challenge

Reporters Kelsey Wilkie (left) and Lauren Ferri (right) are both more confident flaunting their figures on the beach after they became stronger and fitter from the 12 week challenge 

Reporters Kelsey Wilkie (left), 27, and Lauren Ferri (right), 23, have spent the past 12 weeks transforming their bodies and lives with the help of personal trainer Julian Hooper (middle)

Reporters Kelsey Wilkie (left), 27, and Lauren Ferri (right), 23, have spent the past 12 weeks transforming their bodies and lives with the help of personal trainer Julian Hooper (middle)

While the women both started with the same goal, they quickly learned no two fitness journeys are the same

While the women both started with the same goal, they quickly learned no two fitness journeys are the same

Lauren: I have been technically overweight my entire adult life and have never really done anything to fix it because I had learned to love my body no matter what the size. 

However, I wasn’t naive enough to not know my attitude towards health and fitness had to change.  

This was not my first attempt at tackling excess weight – but after settling into my first ever full-time, shift-work job and moving out of home, I found myself developing some pretty bad habits.

I found it easier to bulk-make a simple pasta dish so I didn’t have to be in the kitchen every night, with my regular form of relaxation becoming after-work drinks at the local bar. There was little time for relaxing at home.

But this behaviour had caught up with me and I became the heaviest I had been in years – 98kg. 

I wanted to become healthier and fitter, so I knew I needed to kick myself into gear. 

This was my chance.

How this is going to change my life going forward:

Not the same woman: Lauren believes the 12 week challenge has kicked off a complete change in lifestyle (pictured at the end)

Not the same woman: Lauren believes the 12 week challenge has kicked off a complete change in lifestyle (pictured at the end)

When I started this process I thought it was as simple as eating a healthy diet full of nutrient-rich foods and completing a session in the gym four to five times a week. 

But I was clearly wrong.

When I hit the wall at the halfway point, I felt I was not showing results and was ready to throw in the towel.

After raising my concerns to Jennifer and doing some blood tests it was found I had high insulin resistance, which can sometimes lead to diabetes.

Not only was this hard for me to hear, it was eye-opening and definitely a motivating factor in smashing the rest of the challenge. 

We tailored my diet to speed up my metabolism and incorporated foods such as grapefruit to tackle high insulin. As soon as we made changes I saw results almost instantly. The number on the scale dropped lower every week.

I went from being the woman who preferred to sit at home in her downtime watching Netflix to putting on sneakers and enjoying the fresh air as much as possible. 

During a grocery shop you’ll find me filling my trolley with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, and checking out the macros on the back of every product I pick up.

I have gained a wealth of knowledge from this experience and I am so excited to move forward and transform my body even more in 2020.

I am not the same woman I was 12 weeks ago, in every sense. I am the most active I have ever been and my mood is significantly higher than it ever was. 

The 12 week challenge has kicked off a complete change in lifestyle for me and I really believe my live has been transformed forever. 

2018 Daily Mail Australia Christmas Party

2019 Daily Mail Australia Christmas Party

 Lauren managed to lose 10kg over the total 12 weeks, showing dramatic differences in her weight and posture (pictured left at the 2018 Daily Mail Australia Christmas Party and right at the 2019 Christmas Party)

How Kelsey and Lauren did it:

What are macro-nutrients? 

Macro-nutrients are nutrients required to give us energy to keep our body functioning.

The three macros are fats, carbohydrates and proteins.

Consuming the correct amount of macros for your desired results, whether that is muscle gain, fat loss or toning up, you are more likely to achieve your bodily goals.

The first step was to get in touch with Sydney City Nutritionist Jennifer May, who had us fill out an initial assessment to analyse our lifestyle and eating  plans. 

‘Nutritional deficiencies lead to cravings, reduced energy and poor conversion of foods into energy,’ she explained. 

‘I found both Kelsey and Lauren suffered from high stress and poor sleep. Elevated stress hormones can lead to imbalanced female sex hormones, reduced metabolic function, reduced energy and increased cravings.’

Jennifer decided to create a food plan for the pair to follow that challenged these cravings by giving them individual calorie plans and macro-nutrients (macros) which we had to try and meet every day. 

Our personal trainer, Julian Hooper at Fitness Playground Newtown, analysed our bodies and created a 12-week fitness program that would be implemented in three stages.

Kelsey (left) and Lauren (right) pictured in October at the start of the 12 week challenge with personal trainer Julian Hooper

Kelsey (left) and Lauren (right) pictured in October at the start of the 12 week challenge with personal trainer Julian Hooper

The girls and Jules pictured at the end of the 12 week body transformation, where they feel healthier than ever before

The girls and Jules pictured at the end of the 12 week body transformation, where they feel healthier than ever before

‘My focus when developing programs for Lauren and Kelsey was to ensure they safely achieved their specific weight loss goals, while also enjoying the process and having fun,’ Julian said.

Julian Hooper (pictured) at Fitness Playground, analysed our bodies and created a 12-week fitness program

Julian Hooper (pictured) at Fitness Playground, analysed our bodies and created a 12-week fitness program

‘Their 12-week programs were split into three smaller four week blocks, all designed to reduce body fat and build lean muscle, but each block also targeted a more specific micro goal.’

The first four weeks focused on improving basic movement patterns and addressing any mobility, stability or posture issues found during the initial assessments.

‘The second focused on increasing muscular strength and endurance, and the last on building lean muscle and reducing as much body fat as possible,’ Julian said.

‘We incorporated resistance training, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and cardio training into each program. All sessions contained a tailored mix of compound exercises targeting the full body.

‘This included some form of a squat, hinge, horizontal and vertical push and pull, rotation, anti-rotation, bilateral and unilateral exercises which were all suited to Kelsey and Lauren’s skill levels.’

‘The complexity of the exercises gradually increased as did the intensity and volume completed in each session, however as this was done progressively we were able to achieve the desired effect from their bodies while avoiding injury.’

At the beginning of the process, Julian assessed the girls movement capability, analysing their form to tailor their programs, pictured is Julian assessing Kelsey's pull movement

At the beginning of the process, Julian assessed the girls movement capability, analysing their form to tailor their programs, pictured is Julian assessing Kelsey’s pull movement

Julian said his focus for the program was to achieve specific weight loss goals while also enjoying the process and having fun. Pictured he is assessing Lauren's form as she squats at the beginning of the challenge

Julian said his focus for the program was to achieve specific weight loss goals while also enjoying the process and having fun. Pictured he is assessing Lauren’s form as she squats at the beginning of the challenge

Both women finished their journey with a wealth of knowledge about nutrition and strength training (pictured at the end of the challenge)

Both women finished their journey with a wealth of knowledge about nutrition and strength training (pictured at the end of the challenge)

What they ate to achieve our goals:

Kelsey: Jennifer recommended a diet rich in bitter foods to combat my sugar cravings. She also wanted me to eat more food – but healthy food – to increase my metabolic rate. 

Eating fruit and vegetables, decreasing my caffeine intake and increasing my water were essential to improving my energy. I also needed to increase the amount of protein I was eating and healthy fats too.

Kelsey’s day on a plate: 

Breakfast: Macro oats with protein powder

Snack: 10 almonds 

Lunch: Tuna, spinach and kale with half an avocado 

Snack: A tub of vanilla Chobani Yoghurt 

Dinner: Turkey mince, roasted brussel sprouts and broccoli, spinach and kale, half an avocado and five olives

My breakfast switched from being just coffee or a bacon and egg wrap, to porridge with protein powder, followed by ten almonds as a snack and tuna, avocado, kale, lettuce and roasted brussel sprouts for lunch. 

Before heading to the gym I’d have some Greek yogurt or a protein bar and finish the day of with a typical dinner of salmon or turkey accompanied by roasted vegetables, kale and spinach. 

I don’t love cooking so I kept my food simple and made sure to keep my portions controlled, but with a limited amount of time in the evenings I made sure to meal prep each Sunday.  

I went from eating a lot of of sugar and caffeine to keep my energy levels up to eating a lot of vegetables and protein. The switch kept me fuller for longer and I actually noticed a big difference in my moods. 

The most notable change was probably with my sleep. As I wasn’t eating erratically I was managing to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep, which meant I wasn’t needing caffeine and sugar to keep me going throughout the day. 

As an added bonus I eventually saw my clothes fit better and I have managed to slip into size 8 jeans. 

The women encouraged each other by going to the gym together. Above is a picture of Kelsey and Lauren looking fed up after a gym session

The women encouraged each other by going to the gym together. Above is a picture of Kelsey and Lauren looking fed up after a gym session

Lauren and Kelsey were encouraged to have a high intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, incorporating 'as many colours as possible'. Pictured is one of Lauren's grocery hauls

Lauren and Kelsey were encouraged to have a high intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, incorporating ‘as many colours as possible’. Pictured is one of Lauren’s grocery hauls

Lauren’s day on a plate: 

Breakfast: Two slices of rye sourdough toast, one quarter of an avocado and two eggs

Snack: Pot of Chobani yoghurt

Lunch: Protein (Chicken, tuna, pork or turkey), brown rice, veggies such as green beans, broccoli, sweet potato, pumpkin

Snack: Fruit (berries, mandarin, grapefruit)

Dinner: Protein (200g white fish, chicken, red meat), lots of veggies such as sweet potato, corn, broccoli, asparagus, capsicum, mushrooms 

Lauren: In the early stages I found following the meal plan quite hard as I didn’t really have the time to buy groceries and cook meals.

As we were training more than ever, my meal plan was tailored to suit intense workouts, encourage a better sleep pattern and support my emotional well being.

I was instructed to have a high intake of fresh fruits and vegetables to improve mental and physical well being and aimed for ‘as many colours as possible’. 

‘Each colour represents a unique nutritional profile and therefore health benefit,’ Jennifer said.

My next priority was to incorporate mood boosting foods into my diet as neurotransmitters would help me feel motivated, energised and happy.

After we discovered I had higher levels of insulin and lower iron, Jennifer adjusted my plan to ensure I was eating foods to both lower my insulin and raise my iron, which definitely helped.

I also cut out sugary, processed foods and stopped having coffee, which I quickly found meant I was sleeping through the night and waking up well-rested for the first time in my adult life. 

Kelsey pictured with her lunch, which was spinach, avocado cherry tomatoes and chicken

'I was instructed to have a high intake of fresh fruits and vegetables to improve mental and physical well being and aimed for 'as many colours as possible',' Lauren said

Both Lauren and Kelsey got into the kitchen more and more as the challenge went on. Pictured left is Kelsey with her lunch and pictured right is Lauren’s dinner of fish, cauliflower rice and kaleslaw

The gym sessions Jules set out for the girls worked through every muscle in the body with the girls often being exhausted at the end (Lauren pictured after a session)

The gym sessions Jules set out for the girls worked through every muscle in the body with the girls often being exhausted at the end (Lauren pictured after a session)

Biggest mistakes Sydney City Nutritionist Jennifer May notices from people trying to lose weight:

  1. Skipping breakfast to try to reduce calorie intake. 

Whilst intermittent fasting can work, research shows this is only effective for those who consume their calories for the earlier 8 hours of the day – the subject must also be sure to meet their protein and nutrient goals. 

2. Following a 5:2 diet, yet not consuming healthy foods. 

You need your nutrients for regulation of blood sugar, production of thyroid hormones, production of energy, to support exercise performance and recovery. An unhealthy diet which is calorie controlled may work for a short term but your metabolism will generally adjust resulting in reduced losses. 

3. Trying to do it alone. 

Most people need accountability and weight loss can be complicated in many cases, reach out to a professional who has spent time studying and can help. Your Nutritionist can also hold you accountable and any good Nutritionist should adjust your plan when challenges present. 

4. Seeing weight loss as a personal success or failure.

In many cases your weight gain/loss is somewhat out of your control. Your body is doing what it thinks is best with the tools and information it is given. See each loss or gain as simply information which helps you to tailor your unique plan. 

5. An all or nothing approach. 

Be honest with yourself (and your practitioner) about where you are at right now. Then make small, manageable adjustments that you can stick to. If you’re too exhausted to exercise, stretch, walk, swim or do some yoga. 

If you’re craving chocolate, have a small serve of dark chocolate. If you’re dying for pizza – have some, but eat a big serve of veggies or salad first, then eat as much as you like – it’ll almost always be a smaller amount but if you have eaten your veggies first at least you know you’ve got your nutrients in. 

6. Cheat days – this is one of the worst. 

If you have a healthy balanced plan it should incorporate some treat options. If you really need to break your plan, then your plan is probably not right for you. If you need to restrict yourself for a while to reduce cravings or addiction then, rather than a cheat day, include a ‘treat day’ – this means that on this day you allow yourself a treat.

7. Don’t compare your results to others.

All that matters is that your plan is right for you, your results are achieved healthily and in a way that you can continue life-long to ensure maintenance without health complication. 

While the girls wanted to maintain a social life they did so in a way to benefit their lifestyle. Pictured is Kelsey enjoying a fresh poke bowl

While the girls wanted to maintain a social life they did so in a way to benefit their lifestyle. Pictured is Kelsey enjoying a fresh poke bowl

Our fitness journey:  

Kelsey: I’ve had multiple gym memberships over the years, and I would try to go at least three times a week. But going and actually putting in the effort were two different things.

Typically when I went to the gym I’d focus on cardio, mainly because I found those machines were the easiest to use. But I quickly learnt weight loss does not come from cardio alone – lifting weights is best to lose fat.

Jules’ words of wisdom: 

Top tips for losing weight: 

  • Consume a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats suited to your goals. Get to know your body, your food and what’s in it.
  • Tailor your programming, modify it regularly and gradually progress towards a specific goal. 
  • Don’t give up, it doesn’t always occur as easily for some as it does for others so be persistent.
  • Consult a professional, whether it’s your first crack at it or if you’ve tried before, you’ll be more successful and get faster results if you seek advice from an experienced personal trainer. 

Biggest mistakes from people trying to lose weight: 

  • Under eating… don’t just starve yourself in an attempt to lose weight quickly. You can do long term damage to your metabolism and you will not be able to exercise efficiently.
  • Don’t just go to the gym and run on the treadmill… resistance training, building lean muscle and lifting weights is a great way to reduce body fat. Solely focusing on cardio will take longer to succeed and the effects will be shorter lived. You also miss out on playing with all the other cool stuff in the gym.

Watching people focus only on the results and missing out on enjoying the journey makes me sad. 

It’s much easier to improve your fitness level, get stronger and lose weight if you think of your overall health and fitness as a lifestyle moving forward and don’t get caught up in how long progress takes.

It’s your life… not just a short lived project to make you look better in your bikini this summer… but if you get it right and enjoy the ride… you’ll look and feel better next year and for years to come. 

The idea of entering the area of the gym where the ‘experts’ spent all of their time was terrifying to me.

Getting the help from Jules was phenomenal. He explained why we did each exercise and ensured the technique was correct before upping the weights.

As I had very minimal experience lifting weights my progress was slow at the start.

I had to learn all the correct techniques to avoid an injury and as I already had issues with my back, shoulder and hip, the first few weeks were slow – including my weight loss.  

Within the first four weeks I was ready to give up as I could see no change, but Lauren was losing weight easily. 

I felt as though I was doing something wrong or wasn’t trying hard enough. 

Although I felt disheartened I stuck with it and hoped that maybe a miracle would happen by the end of the challenge. 

As I got more comfortable in the gym and with the workouts, the weights slowly started to go up and I was starting to find the exercises easier.

Both Lauren and I hit a wall again at week six. I was over it. I had people coming up to me and telling me they could see a difference but I couldn’t see it myself. 

I felt like I was failing, despite sticking to the program, only ‘cheating’ by eating sugar-free dark chocolate on Sundays.

When I went to weigh myself on week seven I was stunned to see the number had dropped to 65kgs. Later in the week I decided to reward myself with some new clothes. 

Bowl of deliciousness: Lauren (pictured) and Kelsey fell in love with poke bowls, enriched with protein and healthy fats

Bowl of deliciousness: Lauren (pictured) and Kelsey fell in love with poke bowls, enriched with protein and healthy fats

I tried on a skirt and found the medium was too loose. I was hesitant to reach for a small, thinking ‘not bloody likely, hun’. But tried it on anyway, and what do you know, it fit.

After that I was feeling quite chuffed with myself and was more enthusiastic about heading to the gym each day. 

With the finish line in sight the challenge became less of a chore too and having Lauren take part in this challenge made it a hell of a lot easier.

When we were both free, we were heading to the gym together. For me, this was incredible as I was still nervous about doing some of the exercises by myself. 

(Struggling to push a sled in front of a group of huge guys was not my idea of a good time).

Lauren was a great motivator, she was really committed to the challenge and her enthusiasm made me more enthusiastic.

Seeing her results very early on, when I wasn’t seeing anything, was disheartening, but she encouraged me to keep going. We were often telling each other to ‘trust the process’.

We suddenly became the girls in the office always talking about the gym or sharing healthy recipes. 

‘The idea of entering the area of the gym where the ‘experts’ spent all of their time was terrifying to me,’ Kelsey said

Kelsey on the dreaded assault bike

Lauren using the ropes

Sweat it out: Both girls spent their free time hitting up the gym or getting a healthy poke bowl full of all the right nutrients. Pictured left is Kelsey on the assault bike and Lauren is right using the ropes

What people can learn from blood tests: 

By Lauren Ferri for Daily Mail Australia 

At the beginning of this journey, Jennifer from Sydney City Nutritionist suggested we get blood tests done and negotiated with IScreen to allow us to get our blood testing done free of charge.

She recommended we get ELFT, Iron Studies and Thyroid Screening.

While neither of us thought we needed to get blood tests done, after we hit a wall at the six week mark, we thought it would not hurt to try.

The blood tests helped us understand our dietary needs better and especially helped me realise why I wasn’t seeing results.

Having high insulin meant that my metabolism was working at a slower pace than expected and we had to work hard to kickstart it.

Lauren: This was not my first time stepping foot in a gym. I have had quite a successful journey with fitness before, but I never had to pair it with the stresses of working full time and rotating shifts. 

The programs Jules created were easy to do, worked through every muscle in the body, and I always left the gym sweaty but most of all happy I had a good session.

Within the first four weeks I found almost 5kg dropped off me without me even realising it – clothes became a little baggy and I was motivated to push even harder as the weeks went on.

But by week six I completely hit a wall. Nothing I was doing was working and I was feeling lethargic and exhausted all the time.

Mostly I was frustrated because I was working so hard and seeing no results, so we called Jennifer and got the opportunity to have a whole-body scan and some blood tests to check my iron, insulin levels, thyroid function and liver health.

While nothing was worrying, the results showed I was producing a higher than ideal level of insulin in order to maintain optimum blood glucose levels.

Sydney City Nutritionist Jennifer May (pictured), had Kelsey and Lauren fill out an initial assessment to analyse our lifestyle and eating plans

Sydney City Nutritionist Jennifer May (pictured), had Kelsey and Lauren fill out an initial assessment to analyse our lifestyle and eating plans

‘This means that your pancreas is having to work harder than it should, to sustain and optimise your blood glucose and energy,’ Jennifer said.

My iron levels were found to be lower than ideal which was causing my fatigue, insomnia, easy bruising, sugar cravings and at time poor exercise performance and recovery.

‘Iron is required in many processes linked to weight loss including thyroid function and the conversion of energy into foods,’ Jennifer said.

We tailored my meal plan to ensure I was eating foods to target problem areas while also maintaining weight loss.

Once I started this, I noticed results were beginning to show right away and I continued to persevere and work hard, resulting in a further 5kgs of weight loss. 

I definitely went into this journey believing it’s difficult to stay on top of health and fitness while working shift work but now I yearn for the days I start work at 5pm so I can get to the gym earlier in the day. 

Working day shifts mean people expect you to socialise after work – friends want to catch up and if ever there’s a time to try and have a dating life, that’s it. Night shift means I get up, go to the gym, get my food sorted and head to work without anyone bothering me. 

Lauren pictured in the gym

Kelsey pictured after a workout

Despite challenges and pitfalls, both women were successful in transforming their minds, bodies and lives, losing a total of 15kg altogether, both pictured in the gym

TYPICAL EXERCISE SESSIONS: 

 Weeks 1-4:

Five minutes warm up on the treadmill or elliptical

Round one (super set):

Kettlebell squat: 3 sets of 15

Horizontal TRX row: 3 sets of 15  

Round two (super set):

Barbell hip thrust: 3 sets of 15

Cable push step: 10 each side

Cable horizontal woodchop: 10 each side 

Round three (super set): 

Squat into press: 3 sets of 15 

Sled push: one lap

Plank: 30 seconds 

High Intensity:

Assault bike, 15 seconds hard, 45 seconds easy, for five minutes.

 

 Weeks 5-8:

Five to ten minutes warm up on the treadmill or elliptical

Round one (super set):

Trap Bar deadlft: 3 sets of 15 

High Step Up: 10 each side

Cable Push Step: 10 each side

Round two (super set): 

Cable lat pull down: 3 sets of 15

Wall balls: 3 sets of 15

Round three (super set): 

45-degree hip extension: 3 sets of 15

Cable rear fly: 3 sets of 15

Medicine ball slam: 3 sets of 15

Round four (super set):

Cable tricep extension: 3 sets of 15

Cable horizontal woodchop: 3 sets of 15  

High Intensity:

Rowing machine, 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy, for five minutes

 Weeks 9-12:

 Ten minutes warm up on the treadmill or elliptical

Round one (circuit):

Kettlebell front squat: 3 sets of 15 

Incline push up:  3 sets of 15

Kettlebell swing: 3 sets of 15

Face pull: 3 sets of 15

Medicine ball slam: 3 sets of 15 

Round two (super set): 

Standing cable row: 3 sets of 15

Cable tricep extension: 3 sets of 15 

Barbell hip thrust: 3 sets of 15 

Round three (super set): 

Rope slams: 30

Wall ball: 3 sets of 15

High step-up: 10 each side

Cardio:

Elliptical – five to ten minutes constant pace. 

The outcome:  

Kelsey: The goal of the challenge was to drop a dress size and I did. I went from struggling to fit into my size 10 jeans to wearing size 8 easily. 

And while dropping a few kilos has been great, other benefits were far superior, such as getting me into the kitchen and cooking proper food. 

Meal prepping on a Sunday is highly beneficial and my approach to food and eating nutritious meals has improved drastically, as I went from eating the minimal amount of fruits and vegetables to loving brussel sprouts and kale.

My sleeping pattern has completely changed, I sleep through the entire night and fall asleep easier than ever.  

Most importantly my caffeine intake has decreased, so my bank account is looking healthier too. 

'And while dropping a few kilos has been great, other benefits were far superior, such as getting me into the kitchen and cooking proper food,' Kelsey said

Kelsey pictured at the end of the challenge, feeling stronger, fitter and healthier

‘And while dropping a few kilos has been great, other benefits were far superior, such as getting me into the kitchen and cooking proper food,’ Kelsey said

Lauren: While I never really went into the challenge with a specific goal in mind, I was keen on dropping a few kilograms and hopeful I would go down a dress size.

I successfully lost a total of 10kg and even managed to throw out some clothes and comfortably fit into a size 14 – something I have not been able to do in years.

However, I think the biggest thing I got from all of this is the awareness of what I’m putting into my body, how I am using it every day and the education surrounding fitness and nutrition.

My mindset has also completely altered – while I used to agonise over how I looked in the mirror each day, I am now grateful for what my body does for me every day and the movement I am capable of.

For young women – including myself at some stage – the pressures of beauty standards can be hard to live with, but this journey has helped me completely fall in love with the process and myself. 

I successfully lost a total of 10kg and even managed to throw out some clothes and comfortably fit into a size 14 - something I have not been able to do in years

Lauren pictured at the end of the challenge - healthy and happy

Lauren has successfully lost a total of 10kg and even fits into a size 14 – something she hasn’t been able to do in years (pictured at the end of the challenge)

Before and after: Throughout the process Lauren found more and more of her clothes were becoming too big for her (pictured before and after the challenge)

Before and after: Throughout the process Lauren found more and more of her clothes were becoming too big for her (pictured before and after the challenge)

Top tips from Sydney City Nutritionist Jennifer May for losing weight: 

1. Track your intake (as long as this is not triggering for you – don’t do this alone if you have a history of eating disorders).

Sometimes it’s surprising to see that you are over or under eating with simple mistakes that can be easily corrected.

2. Personalise your diet. 

If your diet is not right for you as an individual it will not work – what works for one, may not work for another.

3. Focus on nutrient rich foods. 

Ensure you are getting at least six handfuls of vegetables daily, which is easily achieved with three handfuls in both lunch and dinner. You can also snack on veggies between meals for improved results. The fibre in veggies increases the production of beneficial microbes which improve metabolic rate. The nutrients in vegetables are used for building lean muscle (which increases metabolic rate) plus production of thyroid hormones – your thyroid controls appetite, metabolism, growth and repair of all tissues plus immunity.

4. Ensure your calories are right for you. 

A good Nutritionist or Dietitian will calculate a plan that will help you achieve weight loss whilst supporting optimum energy and exercise performance. Sometimes eating too little will prevent weight loss as the hormone that is designed to save our life when we’re stuck in the desert will kick in and reduce your metabolic rate if you regularly consume too little calories. Eating enough is important.

5. Ensure you meet your daily protein goal. 

This is a minimum of 1g per kg of body weight. This is easily achieved with a balanced diet. For most of my patients who present to my clinic stating that they’ve ‘tried everything and nothing works’ – the problem is typically too little protein. A chronic deficiency will lead to reduced metabolic rate and slower weight loss success – or in some cases increased weight.

6. Fasting can work but it must be done right. 

I only recommend my high nutrient fast, which has been tailored to suit the unique requirements of the individual and loaded with therapeutic foods, high in protein, ensuring to meet their goals, yet low enough in calories to create a metabolic shift.

Daily Mail Australia paid for the personal training sessions and use of Fitness Playground in Newtown. Sydney City Nutritionist offered her services for free for the purpose of the article.



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