From fad diets to a fit lifestyle
Oxygen chats to chronic crash dieter Emilie Reynolds to find out how she overhauled her life, health and fitness in just 10 weeks.
Name: Emilie Reynolds
City: Adelaide, SA
Hey Emilie, can you begin by telling us what life was like before you started training seriously?
My life was erratic. I was working full-time as a journalist and also covering shifts at a bar on the weekend. I felt like I was busy all the time. Working out and eating right was always in the back of my head but, to be honest, I was pretty unmotivated. I would go to the gym gung-ho for a few weeks, then take months off. I also had a really full-on wedding season this year, with events almost every weekend between December and April. It meant a lot of binge drinking and eating crap when I was hungover.
Was there a pivotal moment that motivated you make a change?
Definitely. My weight has always yo-yoed because I was a chronic crash dieter. I’d gained 7kg since January; it was the heaviest I had ever been. My friends always paid me out for wearing what we call ‘mumus’ (big baggy dresses), but it was the only thing I felt comfortable in and, to be honest, the only thing that fit me! I couldn’t fit into most of the clothes in my wardrobe, but as a crash dieter I kept saying I would deal with my weight problem later.
I was getting migraines almost once a week and couldn’t work out what the trigger was. I went to the doctor for a blood test and he told me I was really low in a few pretty important vitamins and minerals. He asked me if I’d been drinking a lot. I guess it was the wake-up call I needed. That day, I decided to quit alcohol. As I work as a writer for a wine magazine, I copped a lot of flak at work for not drinking! My friend who lives in Canberra told me about a 10-week challenge ASN was having just after I stopped drinking, and I thought it would be an awesome opportunity to keep myself accountable.
How different do you feel now?
Tenfold. I’m so proud to say that through the challenge I lost 11kg and 10 per cent body fat. Going to the gym was something I absolutely dreaded before the challenge, and now it is my favourite part of the day! I used to be so intimidated in the weights room, and now I feel like I belong there. But more than that, my mindset has totally changed. Instead of just putting goals in the ‘never going to happen’ category, I’ve started to believe in myself.
What has continued to motivate you throughout your training?
I’m actually getting married next year. I swear the biggest motivator in the world is wanting to look your absolute best on your wedding day! There are still some goals I haven’t accomplished yet, so I want to take advantage of this level of dedication and work as hard as I can to continue to drop body fat and gain muscle.
What have you had to overcome to get to where you are today?
I’m pretty lucky in that I have a really loving family and an amazing fiancé. So I guess the only thing I’ve had to overcome is my own mind, lacking confidence and never feeling like I was good enough.
Since I was a kid, I’ve always been chubby. I actually remember the day I found out I was fat. Weird, huh? I was about six years old and with a family friend who said, “You’re fatter than your sister, but she’s older than you. That’s really bad.” I remember thinking ‘Oh no! What do I do?’ I asked my mum about it in the car on the way home and she said, “It’s just puppy fat; your sister is four years older than you so she doesn’t have it anymore.” I patiently waited four years for the puppy fat to disappear but it never did.
After high school, when I moved out of home, I started learning about calories and those ‘evil carbohydrates’! And so began my decade of yoyo dieting. I would cut my calories down to around 500 a day for weeks on end. I’d lose weight, look horribly unhealthy, then binge and gain it all back within a few days. I’d cut carbs out completely and live on packaged ham and protein shakes. I’d try every fad diet under the sun and be consumed by it for a few weeks before giving up and ending up worse and fatter than before.
I fought a huge battle with myself throughout the 10-week challenge. I had it stuck in my head that I wouldn’t lose weight eating 1500-plus calories a day. It was almost like I was brainwashed by all of the fad diets. I still get thoughts like that sometimes, but they are few and far between. Sometimes it blows my mind that the biggest secret to weight-loss is just to eat better and train hard. It’s so simple!
Lastly, what are your plans for the future?
These past 10 weeks have really served as an opportunity for me to completely overhaul my life. I feel like I’m going to reach my goal weight for my wedding, which certainly didn’t seem attainable before the challenge. I now have the tools to change my life and feel happy and confident again.
HOW EMILIE DID IT
For the 10 weeks, I followed a full-body strength program and hit heavy weights three times a week. I also incorporated fasted cardio every morning and tried to do at least 15 minutes of HIIT after my weights sessions. I managed to keep off alcohol, diet coke (I had been drinking at least one litre a day), sugar, gluten and most dairy.
DeFine8 was life-changing for me! I actually looked forward to drinking it every morning and feeling excited to hit the gym. Together with Alpha Venus and T432 Plus, I think I’ve finally started to fire up my metabolism again!
I’ve tried a few challenges in the past, but have never been able to stick with it. I think the simplicity of the ASN Challenge really appealed to me. Eat right, train hard and the result will come.