How Natalie lost 60kg in 18 months
THEY say a picture is worth a thousand words, and when Natalie Hicks saw a photo of herself at 128kg, she knew it was time to re-write her story.
Looking at the family photo five years ago, she noticed how much weight she had gained but it was a comment from her sister which really hit home.
"I remember looking at a particular family photo and thinking 'holy crap', I was so big'," she said.
"My mum and sister just looked at each other and my sister said 'no offence Natalie, but you actually look smaller in this photo than you do in person'.
"My stomach just dropped and my heart broke."
It was five years ago at the age of 19 when Natalie set herself a goal of dropping down to 80kg.
A drastic change in her diet was how she kick started her weightloss.
"My biggest weaknesses were fresh bread, potato and rice," she said. "I don't like fizzy drinks or alcohol so I was more cutting out carbs and sugars."
Natalie stuck to a strict exercise regime, which involved twice-daily workouts, for 18 months, and the weight fell off.
While proud she tipped the scales at just 60kg, there were plenty of times the now 24-year-old wanted to give up.
"Every day I'd have little points where I'd have break downs and just cry but I'd have to remind myself why I was doing it," she said.
"It was challenging but it was also hard mentally."
Looking back, Natalie said she was always a little bit overweight as a child but it was at the age of 12 when a tragic loss lead to her gaining more weight.
"I lost my dad at 13-years-old and for me, that's where a bit of the weight gain happened," she said.
"I missed out on sports as a kid because dad had to have treatments so I would do indoor activities like arts and crafts," she said.
Despite feeling she was always confident as a youngster, Natalie said she found a new type of confidence which she loved to express to the world.
"I was always quite confident but I was always a homebody and didn't want to leave home or go outside," she said.
"Going to the beach meant wearing a bikini so I'd avoid that.
"Now, I'm always travelling, hiking, I hate sitting at home and watching movies."
Since losing weight, Natalie has managed to travel to 23 countries - something she'd always dreamed of but never thought she could accomplish.
She said she was grateful for the support of her family, friends and fitness coordinator at Breathe, Belinda Zimmermann.
Now, she wants others who may be struggling with their weight to know it is possible to achieve your goals.
"There's a quote I live by and that's 'always strive for progress, not for perfection'," she said.
"With social media influencing out generation, it portrays a certain type of look you have to have but just focus on yourself.
"It doesn't matter if you lose 1kg or 2kg, it's a start."