Photo sparks mum’s epic bikini body
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Nicole Gallagher never realised how much she "let herself go" until she looked back on photos from a girls' weekend away.
The mother-of-two from Newcastle was on a weekend trip to Forster, a coastal town in the Mid North Coast region of NSW, just over a year ago when she was faced with a person she didn't recognise - herself.
"My friends and I had always been around the same size and it wasn't until I looked at the photos when I was like, 'Oh my God'.
"I had let myself go so bad. They are all size 8s and I was a size 20."
It was in that moment the 34-year-old, who weighed more than 90kg at her heaviest, decided to change her lifestyle. And she did just that, transforming from a size 20 down to a happy 8-10 in just six months.
"It was super confronting and tough. I just didn't want to be that woman anymore," Ms Gallagher told news.com.au.
"I had ups and downs with my weight, but I was never that heavy. With my first child (now seven years old) I got close to 80kg, but this time, with my second child (10 months old), I really blew out and let myself go."
Ms Gallagher suffered from postnatal depression (PND) with her youngest child and was also recovering from a broken arm after falling down a flight of stairs, which she said contributed to her weight gain.
"I didn't have PND with my son, it was a whole new feeling with my little girl. I put so much pressure on myself. I thought, 'I should know what I'm doing', having had one before.
"My brain was really playing tricks on me and I couldn't understand, being a devoted mother, why I felt this way."
Knowing she had to take control of her life again, Ms Gallagher joined her local Coaching Zone gym in November. Once she started clean eating and training her journey to happiness and contentment began.
She signed up to a six-week challenge and won. She also came first in a national competition through the gym and went on to win $5000 - she was judged on her weight loss, before-and-after images and overall lifestyle changes.
Ms Gallagher dropped 25kg and is now a happy and healthy size 8-10.
"Coaching Zone has literally changed my life. I never want to be that overweight, depressed woman again. She's just somebody I used to know," Ms Gallagher said.
STRUGGLE WITH JOINING THE GYM
Ms Gallagher said she had never been a "gym person" and signing up was a daunting experience.
Before joining Coaching Zone she started at her local gym and did three sessions a week.
"It broke me. I had no form and also suffered from ab separation after giving birth. I was in agony and I wasn't lifting correctly - I wasn't shown how to do things correctly," she said.
One of the mothers from her son's school then introduced her to Coaching Zone where she did a two-week free trial, taking part in group workouts.
"Since then I haven't looked back," she said.
Ms Gallagher now goes to the gym six days a week, mainly before school drop-off at about 4am.
She started seeing results after two weeks - a body scan then showed her visceral fat (fat around the organs) had also dropped.
"It added years onto my life. Then I started to notice I was dropping numbers on the scale and also my measurements, and I wanted more," Ms Gallagher said.
Her workouts consist of weights, endurance, strength and conditioning and high intensity classes.
"I feel like a whole different person. I've totally transformed and changed my life. I just never want to go back to that person. I feel like I am a better wife and mum with more energy for my family.
"Even with my husband I've got a higher sex drive."
Her words of advice for anyone looking to improve their lifestyle is not to listen to that "inner b**ch telling you, you can't do it".
"If I can do it, you can do it … the world is yours," she said.
DAY ON A PLATE NOW
Ms Gallagher says she continues to eat clean, using meals plans from the past that have been successful for her now.
Breakfast: Half a banana and coffee before training at 7am, followed by a protein shake, coconut YoPRO with raw almonds, berries and shredded coconut and a gluten-free muesli bar
Snack: Protein ball, rest of the banana
Lunch: Homemade tandoori chicken pizza
Snack: Two boiled eggs with cottage cheese and curry powder
Dinner: Homemade chicken schnitzel with vegetables and sweet potato chips
Dessert: Protein pancakes with sugar-free maple syrup, mixed berries, cottage cheese
Ms Gallagher also drinks up to three litres of water a day.