My journey to a bikini body.
BY ARCADIA LOUGHLAND
At the young age of 41, I had one of the worst years of my life. In April 2011, my beautiful dad was struck down with a rare illness that had him placed in an induced coma for a few weeks. Once he was brought out of this, he only lasted a few more weeks before passing away suddenly.
During this time, I noticed a lump in my left breast but, as I had a lot going on, I just left it. Once everything settled down, I saw a doctor, knowing my mum had had breast cancer in the past. I thought it was probably just a blocked duct from breast-feeding years earlier; however, the tumour was found to be cancer. ‘What the hell?’ I thought, ‘I am healthy, active, fit. I don’t have cancer!’
I thought the absolute worst. I had two kids at the time, aged seven and five. However, thank God I got this early, as the tumour was encased and hadn’t spread yet, so I didn’t require radiation or chemotherapy!
As they say, out of adversity comes strength. This took me a while to find, as I then suffered from anxiety. I had to succumb to taking something on a medical level to help me get back on track. I’m not ashamed to admit I am human and needed extra help just to be a better mum, wife and person.
In 2014, after years of eating well and over-indulging, I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, ‘I'm not really happy with who I see’. I was losing my identity; I felt I was just running around after kids, my husband, work and generally putting the whole world before myself, because if I dared to put myself first, that would be selfish.
One day, I was at our local Port Macquarie Race Cup and ran into a friend who looked amazing. I asked her where she trained and she said EBPT — Every Body Personal Training — with Graeme. She introduced me to him and I thought, ‘this is it; I need to do something for me’. I got Graeme’s number, and on the Monday I called and began my transformation.
I started to eat a whole lot more of the right foods at the right times and lift weights, with very minimal cardio. The result was amazing. At the same time as I started this, I also enrolled to become a health coach, and this has changed the way I view what I put into my body.
At the beginning of 2015, it was suggested to me to do a bikini competition. I don’t even go to the beach in a bikini, let alone jump on a stage in one!
But after a few false starts, I got there. Yes, I fell off the wagon, got sick and had to keep changing the date until I bit the bullet and actually registered for the INBA Muscle and Model Show, which was held in Sydney on October 18, 2015.
For me, this journey to stage was not about winning a medal. Walking on to the stage meant I had won, and boy was I proud of myself for doing it, with my family and friends watching me. My transformation has been the best thing I have done for myself and my family. I am in the best shape of my life at 45. I am a happier person, I nourish myself and that leads to being better at all facets of my life.