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40kg Weight Loss Journey

Hayley Keevers



Vanessa’s weight loss journey with me started one year ago this month. She has achieved an amazing 20kg of weight loss and ……cm’s. It has been a lot of hard work, consistency and dedication but Vanessa is here to prove that you can achieve your goals, you need to be patient. Her journey didn’t start just one year ago, it began one year prior to us meeting and at the time she started training with me she had already lost an amazing 20kg, bringing her total weight loss to an amazing 40kg!!!! Our interview today is here to find out about her journey, how and why she started and hopefully she will inspire others to get started now and achieve the best version of you you can be!

Ubody-Vanessa-40kgHave you always suffered from weight issues or if not why/how did you put weight on?

Vanessa: “Yes, all my life. I have spent a lot of years yo-yoing up and down with my weight and it’s always being a struggle to lose. I suffer from Hypothyroidism, Polycystic Ovaries and as of 2014 Type 2 Diabetes.  All of these things make it very easy to put weight on and then very difficult to lose it”.

Did you suffer from any health or fitness issues as a result of putting on weight?

Vanessa: “Yes, Blood Pressure used to be an issue, I had Gestational Diabetes whilst pregnant and general tiredness and lack of motivation to do anything. I lacked confidence, felt like I was too big to join in activities with Liv and had little to no patience levels. I know I wasn’t coping as a Mum”.

How did being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes affect your life?

Vanessa: “It was a good kick in the butt to really start looking after myself, to demand some time back just for me to get myself back on track with my health. I lost myself a little when I became a mum and put myself last, including my health.  I was never upset with the diagnosis as it goes hand in hand with the Hypothyroidism, Polycystic Ovaries and being over 40 but it was the motivation I needed”.

ubody-vanessa-before-afterBefore now have you tried to lose weight? What happened?

Vanessa: “Yes several times. I tried Sure Slim & Jenny Craig. I lost weight but it soon went back on again because I felt I couldn’t maintain consistency with the food, it became boring and I didn’t team diet with exercise. And as we know losing weight and maintaining weight loss is both through diet and exercise”.

Do you believe being a parent influenced your decision to lose weight?

Vanessa: “Very much so! I need to be there for my child. I also want to set a good example for her. I felt if I continued down the road I was going I wouldn’t be there to see her walk down the aisle one day. I wanted to be able to join in all the fun stuff that goes with having a child. I wanted to jump on the trampoline without fear of breaking through it. I was tired of saying “no Mummy can’t” to things she wanted me to do. There are lots of things I have missed out on doing with her because of my weight which is sad”.

What made you finally decide that you wanted to lose weight?

Vanessa: “The diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes. That made me realise enough was enough. I was like “right this is it, this is the time to make a change”. I felt physically unwell and wasn’t coping as a mum, I was tired all the time, I wasn’t a fun mum, everything was just difficult even walking up the stairs (which is no longer a problem thanks to all the step up’s Hayley makes me do )”

What was the first thing you did to begin your weight loss journey?

Vanessa: “I cut as much sugar I could out of my diet and started walking every day. It was a start, I knew I needed to do more but starting is always the hardest and that’s what I did”.

Did anyone help you when you started all did you do it alone?

Vanessa: “No I didn’t have any help. I did it all myself up until I plateaued at 20kgs. I got stuck at that weight for several months and got extremely frustrated & started to lose motivation. That’s where I knew I needed help to achieve my goal. I was recommended to join a gym, something I actually hated the thought of. I did a bit of searching and found a gym that did Ladies classes and met my trainer Hayley. It was the best thing I ever did!”

What have been your greatest obstacles?

Vanessa: “Making time and fitting the exercise in with my work and home life. Coming up with appealing and tasty meals. Hitting the plateaus of weight loss along the way.  And maybe a little sadness at foods I thought I was missing out on. Frustrations with injuries at times. Staying motivated, especially in winter whilst I was walking as my exercise”.

Ubody-VanessaWhat have you enjoyed most about this process?

Vanessa: “I have enjoyed seeing my body changing, the change in my mental wellness, trying new things like joining a gym (something I never thought I would do!), pushing my body to do things I didn’t think I could possibly do, meeting new people that I wouldn’t normally have crossed paths with that have now become friends. It’s a real confidence booster having other people notice my hard work and efforts, and also having my husband tell me how beautiful and sexy I look and how proud he is of me”.

What are the best things about losing all the weight?

Vanessa: “Shopping in the normal clothes section and not having to look at plus sizes, feeling sexy, confident and well. I have more patience with my child.  I am gamer and more confident to try new physical activities. I no longer look at the weight restrictions on rides and activities! Something that’s really special is that Liv can come up and wrap her arms completely around my waist when she hugs me. She told me the other day that I “look spectacular?” Don’t you just love 8 year old honesty! I can run up the stairs without feeling like I’m going to die and carry ALL the groceries bags from the car in one go! I’m just feeling fabulous!!”

Is there anything you are going to do now that you never would have done before you lost the weight?

Vanessa: “I am going to try Scuba Diving on an upcoming holiday and at Christmas I did nearly every waterslide at Wet’n’Wild and had a blast! I no longer have look at weight restrictions on rides”.

How often do you exercise each week? What do you do?

Vanessa: “I do 3 personal training sessions + 2 bootcamp (Boxing) sessions with Hayley.  I must admit that there is a lot of “I can’t”, “no”, “oh Hayley!”, whinging and talking but all in fun….hahaha….. I love having Hayley as my PT. She keeps me motivated which is important. I wouldn’t work as hard without her and would slack off. She pushed me to do heavier weights and extra reps. Exercise feels like less of a chore when you can chat and have fun at the same time”.

Have you been strict on your diet the whole time?

Vanessa: “For the most part yes. To start with the first 20kg I was very strict and never put a foot wrong. I would feel soooo guilty if I had anything bad. Whereas now in my last 20kg weight loss I can go enjoy a meal and know that I’m back on track the next day. I don’t blow out but I can relax a little knowing I have the gym to do to and Hayley to keep me motivated and knowing It’s all right to relax and have some fun”.

What would you say or advise other women who are struggling and want to do what you have done?

Vanessa: “Make a start, even if its small like starting healthy eating and adding simple exercise. Don’t get overwhelmed with the end goal, celebrate the little goals – they will all add up. Change up your exercise so you do different things, especially when the weight loss seems to stop for a while. There will be eating and exercise setbacks but don’t give up. Every day is a new day to get back into it! Don’t be afraid to find support from someone like a PT or even a friend to join you at the gym. It is great to have someone to motivate you to keep going even when it gets hard. Hayley is awesome at telling me to “woman up” and “suck it up princess” Ha ha!!”

Just get started……the rest will follow! =)

THANKS to Isaac Purcell for the great photo’s as ALWAYS ^_^

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Lift to TONE up, NOT bulk up

Hayley Keevers




1 More Effective Fat Loss

Think weightlifting only benefits those who want shirt-ripping arms? Think again.

Although many people consider weightlifting only a means to add size, when contrasted head-to-head against cardiovascular exercise, resistance training comes out on top in the battle to burn calories.

The huge advantage to weight training is your body’s ability to burn fat during and after exercise.

Think weightlifting only benefits those who want shirt-ripping arms? Think again.

After a heavy bought of strength training, you continue to consume additional oxygen in the hours and even days that follow. This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.

When your body uses more oxygen, it requires more caloric expenditure and an increased metabolic rate.

2 More Muscle, More Calorie Expenditure

As you increase strength and lean muscle mass, your body uses calories more efficiently. Daily muscle contractions from a simple blink to a heavy squat contribute to how many calories you burn in a given day. Sitting burns fewer calories than standing; standing burns fewer than walking, and walking burns fewer than strength training.

The more muscle contractions you experience during a day, the more calories you’ll burn. If you have more lean muscle mass, you’ll have more muscle contractions and thus burn more calories.

3 Curves

As you increase strength and lean muscle mass, your body uses calories more efficiently.
As you build muscle, your body begins to take a nice hourglass shape. Though endurance exercise can help you lose weight, that weight comes in the form of both fat and muscle tissue.

If you’re losing both fat and muscle, you can lose those lovely curves as well. Strength training can help create and sustain them.

4 Quality Sleep

Strength training greatly improves sleep quality, aiding in your ability to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake less often during the night.

A study published in the International SportMed Journal suggests that morning resistance training or high intensity training greatly affects the quality of sleep and lengthens the time of sleep the night after training.1

5 Increased Energy

As noted above, resistance training causes an increase in energy expenditure hours after you train. A study published by the National Institute of Health suggests that the chronic increase in energy expenditure, even after a minimal resistance training session, may favorably effect energy balance and fat oxidation.2 Rather than reaching for that early afternoon cup of coffee, grab a barbell.

6 Heart Health

Pumping iron can reduce your risk of heart disease and was approved as a healthy form of exercise for those at risk from the American Heart Association. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that those who lift weights are less likely have heart disease risk factors such as a large waist circumference, high triglycerides, elevated blood pressure, and elevated glucose levels.3

Another study conducted by researchers in Brazil found that though the heart rate increased in patients during heavy bouts of training, their blood pressure and resting heart rate were significantly lower the following morning.4

7 Bone Health

As you age, you are at risk of losing both bone and muscle mass. Postmenopausal women are at a greater risk for osteoporosis because the body no longer secretes estrogen. Resistance training is an excellent way to combat loss of bone mass, and it decreases the risk of osteoporosis.

All of us want to feel strong, determined, and confident in everything we do.

A study conducted at McMaster University found that after a year of resistance training, postmenopausal women increased spinal bone mass by 9 percent.5 The earlier you begin weightlifting, the greater chance you have to maintain bone health later in life.

8 Stress Relief

Exercise in general is a great way to manage stress. Researchers have consistently found that those who regularly strength train tend to manage stress better and experience fewer adverse reactions to stressful situations as those who do not exercise.6

In addition, resistance-training studies on older adults show that moderate intensity weightlifting improves memory and cognitive function. Next time you need to blow off some steam, hit the weights.

Ladies, Lift!

All of us want to feel strong, determined, and confident in everything we do: from fitting into jeans, to moving heavy furniture, to playing with kids, to dealing with a stressful career.

Resistance training can benefit in all aspects of your life. Put it in your fitness plan and feel stronger, healthier, and more confident!

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Emotional Eating

Debbie Bird



Does stress, anger, or sadness drive you to eat? Do you turn to food for comfort, or when you’re bored? Many people do. If you often eat for emotional reasons instead of because you’re physically hungry, that can be a problem.

Obeying the urge to eat more than you need is a sure-fire way to gain weight. It’s an even bigger problem if you already have health conditions like diabetes, obesity or high blood pressure.

You might not even realize you’re doing it until it’s too late. One of the biggest clues is eating until you are uncomfortable and stuffed, this is a sure sign something is going on.

Another clue to watch out for is that you are gaining weight and you don’t know why. Don’t assume that it’s just that you’re getting older or slacking on the treadmill. Consider how you’re doing emotionally, and whether that might be affecting your eating.

The surprising part is, it’s not really about food at all and there are steps you can take to help get things back under control. Below I have listed a few of these steps:


Press Pause

It helps to add a delay between the urge to eat and actually eating. That gives you time to check in with how you’re feeling and why you want to eat.

When you get the urge to eat something (usually something sweet, like chocolate or ice cream) out of sadness or boredom, remember that you have the option to wait it out. Saying to yourself ‘I’ll have it later’ gives the impulse time to pass and helps you feel more in control. You are not saying you can’t have it, just not right now & this will help you to think about it more logically & also decide whether you really want it or if you may be satisfied with a piece of fruit or maybe just a small piece of chocolate instead of a whole block.

Get Moving

When you’re tempted to snack for emotional reasons, try moving instead. Just walking for only 10 minutes will help, it refreshes you and increases your endorphins. Moving is a proven stress-buster and also helps you replaced the urge to eat with something else.

Be Realistic

The truth is not all emotional eating is unhealthy. It’s normal and natural occasionally to eat to celebrate with friends or because you’re feeling blue. It only becomes a problem when it is used frequently, you are consuming large quantities of food in one sitting or when there are medical issues and you are going against Dr’s advice.

And Finally Be Kind To Yourself

Greater self-compassion is the first step toward learning to comfort yourself in other ways. Beating yourself up over it only adds to your stress, which can lead to more emotional eating.

No one is perfect and the key is to learn what your triggers are and have a strategy in place to help overcome them. Overtime these will become your new coping mechanisms and emotional or binge eating will become a thing of the past.

I hope this has helped you understand emotional eating as well as given you some ideas on how to cope with it.

Until next time

Yours in Holistic Health

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Stories of an angel, life as a mum

Hayley Keevers




Katie Lowry is a fit and healthy mum to 18 month old Ivy and currently pregnant again, due late July with baby number two. She has always led an active lifestyle, having danced for the majority of her life. Katie worked internationally for three years, travelling different parts of the world whilst dancing on cruise ships. Upon returning home to the Gold Coast, Katie joined the XXXX Angels and spent a further two years travelling Australia, dancing and performing at many of the countries major sporting events. Having exhausted the travelling lifestyle, Katie then settled in at home and completed a University degree becoming a Registered Midwife. Having had such an active and energetic lifestyle, we were very interested to see how Katie found pregnancy and the transition into motherhood. The following article will share what some of Katie’s experiences have been.

Please note all information given is on Katie’s personal experiences and should not be taken for medical advice. Please seek medical advice from your doctor before starting any exercise regime while pregnant.

Q – So Katie, as a PT I find that a lot of women feel nervous and scared to exercise when they become pregnant as they fear it could be harmful to their unborn child, was this a fear you had when you became pregnant?

A – Being pregnant now for the second time not so much. I was definitely a bit nervous the first time as your body in undertaking such a big change. With so many scary stories out there, as a first time mum it was easy to feel anxious about lots of things that might not be safe for your baby. I didn’t feel nervous to keep exercising, I just felt nervous to keep up the same amount of intensity whilst exercising.

Q – Did you modify your workout routine once you found out you were pregnant? How and why?

A – Yes I did. During my first pregnancy I pulled back on exercising (especially cardio) quite a lot, as I mentioned earlier I was slightly nervous about over-doing it. This pregnancy however I’ve felt much more confident to safely continue exercising. The first thing I did was buy a heart rate monitor so I could track of my heart rate whilst training. If your heart rate is monitored and maintained at a safe level, most exercise during pregnancy is safe. Feeling confident with this, the biggest change I’ve made this pregnancy is decreasing the intensity of any exercises that increase my heart rate to a level too high (mostly toning down the cardio and using lighter weights). Once I reached the second trimester I also stopped doing any isolated abdominal exercises to ensure I wasn’t putting any extra stress on my abdominal muscles. I think it’s safe to say those more muscles are under enough stress during pregnancy haha! Whilst training I also make sure I’m drinking lots of water so I don’t overheat, as that becomes more important when pregnant also.

Q – Have you found it more difficult to exercise in general now you have a toddler?

A – The times and ways in which I exercise have definitely changed now because my lifestyle has changed. I now spend my day times being a mum so find it more enjoyable to exercise then by going to mum’s and bub’s fitness classes. I find classes like these are enjoyable for both me and Ivy, as they are very social and always leave me feeling energised to tackle the rest of the day. Ivy enjoys the play time with all her little friends and often joins in on the workouts (she’s already a queen at pushups and squats haha) and I love the chance to catch up with other mums. It’s a win-win really, and the exercise is a bonus.

Q – How much weight did you put on in your first pregnancy?

A – 21kg. I probably over indulged a little bit and desperately wanted a nice big pregnancy belly, haha, but overall I still felt healthy and comfortable within myself. I don’t own scales and I’m not someone who likes to become fixated on numbers as I find it can be easy to obsess over. If I’m eating relatively healthy and staying active I find it’s all I need to keep me happy and feeling great.

Q – How long did it take for you to get your pre-pregnancy body back and what did you do to lose the extra weight after giving birth?

A – To be honest, once Ivy was born I found that my new baby and the challenges of being a new mum were much more my focus than losing weight. I do however feel I was lucky, as a fair amount of it came off naturally without any real effort. Breastfeeding and maintaining my supply was my priority so dieting or restricting calories at all was not something I was willing to try. I’m not exactly sure how long it took me to get back to my pre-pregnancy ‘weight’, although at roughly 6 months I was probably back to a similar size. In saying this however my body was and felt very different to my pre-pregnancy body. I had lost a lot of my muscle tone and had jiggly parts that I’d never had before. Feeling more settled with breastfeeding and being a new mum, it was about this 6 month mark that I started exercising again and going to mums and bubs classes. Once I was back exercising, I started making an effort to eat better too and for the first time since giving birth, started putting in some effort to get back into shape. I feel it took roughly another 5 months or so of healthy eating and regular exercise to feel as though I had my old body back… Just in time to do it all over again with bub number two, haha!

Photographer Isaac Purcell

Q – Do you keep a healthy diet or eat what you are craving?

A – Both. This pregnancy I have definitely eaten healthier than with my first. I try to eat healthy so I know that my baby is getting all the nutrients it needs, however I’m not strict and definitely enjoy my naughty treats when I feel like it. I believe balance is extremely important in any healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally. I don’t have the self control to forbid myself naughty treats and find if I try to, I end up eating much more of them anyway! For me, balance is the most important factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Q – You are currently doing mum’s and bub’s bootcamp classes whilst pregnant and with an 18 month old in tow, how do you balance your time to still fit exercise in and time for yourself?

A – The main reason I exercise as much as I do is because I take Ivy with me and do it during our week days together. When my husband is home from work we like to enjoy time together as a family so trying to squeeze exercise in early in the morning or at nights, just to do it alone, doesn’t work as well for me. As for time to myself, it’s a rarity. I’m lucky to have a very hands on and supportive husband who always makes sure that every now and then I have some time-out. On the weekends he often gets up and takes Ivy out on an adventure somewhere so I can have a sleep in and a relax at home. He is also amazing and books me in for a massage every now and again.

Q – You are very passionate about breastfeeding, but do you believe the old wives tale that it really helps you drop weight after pregnancy?

A – I don’t think there is any evidence that says breastfeeding will definitely help you lose weight after pregnancy however for the first 6 months after giving birth I made no effort at all to lose any weight and a lot of it came off on its own. So I guess in my experience I feel that it may have helped me.

Q – Do you have any stretch marks from your pregnancy? If not what did you do to prevent them and do you think it helped?

A – Besides a few teeny ones on my breasts, I was lucky and didn’t get any stretch marks during pregnancy. I did use oils and creams as I figured they couldn’t hurt, however I don’t know that I believe they really do that much in the way of prevention. In my opinion stretch marks are often genetic and depend on your skin type. I believe a healthy diet and keeping hydrated couldn’t hurt either but feel that sometimes people will get them no matter what they try.

Q – How was your labour and delivery? Could you briefly tell us about it?

A – I had a really fantastic labour and birth. I had a natural water birth and brought Ivy up onto my chest myself. For a lot of my labour I was in a warm spa or bath, which helped dull the pain, but didn’t use any pharmaceutical pain relief. My labour started slowly giving me little niggles and early labour contractions for almost two days before I reached active labour which lasted for six hours. I stayed at home until I was almost 9 cm dilated and got to the hospital just in time to start pushing.

Q – What advice would you give to new and expecting mums-to-be?

A – To enjoy this amazing experience! Pregnancy is truly a miracle and will pass you by in the blink of an eye so don’t forget to enjoy it. I absolutely love being pregnant and know that once I’ve had my last baby I will miss never being pregnant again, so despite the aches and pains, don’t let this miracle go to waste. As for exercise, I am no expert, but if it’s something you did easily before pregnancy, chances are its relatively safe for you to continue, whilst following the pregnancy guidelines of course. If you have never really exercised however, during your pregnancy is not the safest or recommended time to start. Wait until you’ve had bub and give it a go then! As for motherhood, enjoy the ride! Every mum will tell you that some days will be tough, but there’s no feeling in the world like looking into the eyes of your precious little cherub. Trust your body and be kind to yourself.

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