2nd January 2017 I started my 5th (and absolutely not final) Isa Body Challenge.
What that means, is I started a challenge that would span over the next 16 weeks where I got to push myself physically and mentally to reach some new goals that I set – and set some new goals I did. You see, as I just mentioned, this was my 5th 16 week challenge that I did, and THIS time, I wanted it to be unlike any challenge I had done before, I wanted to get some results I hadn’t had before. That meant it was going to absolutely take some sacrifice of my sacred ‘balance lifestyle’ I live and breathe by and it would take me setting some new challenges for myself.
But what challenge could that be? I wondered.
Because YES I live and breathe balance (I mean if there was legit a poster child for balance it would in fact be me – hello eating a salad with a glass of champagne) but 365 days of the year I look after my health.
I eat clean. I exercise daily. I cleanse once a week. I use my Isa products daily and with heavy commitment. So what was I going to do this time to see the changes?
Morgs and I both knew the answer to that question, even though we weren’t sure we both wanted to admit it – the answer started with no and ended with booze. You heard it right, no booze.
I must immediately state here, that it IS a 16 week challenge but we did not go booze free for the whole 4 months, that was a little TOO extreme for us, what we did instead was commit to THREE of those months booze free. Still pretty (read; very) extreme if you ask us. A challenge we knew of course we could do (especiallyyyyyy with how many people were telling us we’d never be able to do it!) but we knew would be extremely challenging.
There was another huge decision I made headed in to this challenge. This time, there would be no attention given to weight or cm’s dropped (or bf % etc). THIS challenge was just all about falling more than ever in love with the process of health and fitness and no number at the beginning, middle or end was going to define my success.
So off we set, Jan 2nd rolled around, as did the 3rd, 4th, 16th, 27th and 30th of January .. training was on point, food was planned and eaten and isa was consumed with extreme commitment (like always). We felt good, we were seeing results (of course!) and were powering on with a month already down.
We welcomed February 1st slightly reluctantly as with the coming and passing of that date, we knew no more booze for us, the challenge begun and the task was set. Not a drop of alcohol was to pass either of our lips for the next 3 months.
And here is what you have to know about me.
Some may call it stubborn (aka mum, morgs, those that know me very closely) but I call it grit. I don’t ever have to make the same decision over and over again. With me, I just need to make the decision ONCE and then I do what I need to do to conspire to make it happen.
So although multiple friends were telling us there was NO WAY we would make or last the whole 3 months – I knew we would do it with ease. Would it be a challenge? Of course. But was there ever one question in my mind that I wouldn’t do it. Never.
Here is the other thing you need to know.
This wasn’t done as a bravado thing of ‘hooray wow for us we made 3 whole months without drinking” thing – if it was for that maybe I would have buckled (probably not though). It was done as a ‘I want to genuinely see what this can do for my body cutting out booze for 3 months”.
MANY a time a friend generally when they were boozed and I was asking to just sniff their drink (yes, not ashamedly that happened many a time) would say “ohhhh go onnn just have a sip I won’t tell anyone what does it matter” – but each and every time I replied no. Because again, it wasn’t about the badge at the end to say we’d made it to 3 months (what a lame badge haha), I just sincerely wanted to see if it’d make a big difference or a difference at all to our results.
And you want to know the god honest truth?
I just don’t know I saw the ROI. Return on investment.
But just wait, you have to hear me out.
You see, I LOVE to have a drink, and by drink I mean champagne (or a really good rose on occasion and even a solid red when the mood calls for it). LIFE, to me, is a celebration.
Drinks at the pub on a sunny afternoon you say? I’d love to. Go down south and have a red wine by an open fire? You had me at hello. Join you on the upstairs balcony at sunset with a cold glass of bubbles babe? Be up in 2 mins. Come for dinner at that new restaurant that has a fabulous champagne list? I’m already here.
Giving all of that up then for 3 months was a really big deal. Some people in our life who aren’t big (or good – HA) drinkers or are superrrrrrrrr strict with their diets lifestyle laughed at us that we thought it was such a big deal to give it up for that ‘long’. “3 months of no booze? I could do that in my sleep” they said. And they could have – because they’re no fun. Kidddingggg – because that’s just who they are, but it’s not Morgs and I, we LIKE to have a drink and we absolutely ENJOY said drink.
And maybe our expectations were just too high. Or maybe I am too accustomed to just always feeling good (I know that is a big factor I will get in to shortly), or always being happy with my body – because here is my exact succinct thoughts.
Did I look fantastic on April 24th, the official day 90 of no booze and the official day 120 of the 16 week challenge? You freaking bet. I looked sen-bloody-sational (and by the way isn’t it fantasticccc that a woman can actually sincerely say that about herself?). But have I looked just as fantastic in previous 16 week challenges where I haven’t given up the booze? You.freaking.bet.
I absolutely have to state here though was it the BEST or leanest I have ever looked in any of my challengers? The answer is yes we (Morgs & I) seem to think so, I definitely was waking up in that final 10 day count down where we REALLY go all out with being super good with food and water etc and literally saying aloud “far out” when I would see my mid section shrinking and toning still with a few days to go.
Waking up the day before my photo shoot I actually said to Morgs that for sure I can see the results of not drinking for the last 3 months as it really was (or at least felt / looked like) the leanest I had ever been.
So was it worth it though? Well of COURSE it was as the results INTERNALLY as well are untold.
But would I do it again however? For THAT long anyway?
You see, here is the one thing (if I had to just pick one) that I learned over the last 16 weeks, 12 of which were booze free.
I LOVE to look toned, have a rocking 6 pack (or my resemblance of it), be slim and healthy.
But I also love Champagne. And Chocolate. And hot chips. Anddddd Taco’s. And dinners out. And did I mention hot chips?
And I love both of those things as much as the other.
What I learned is that when I say I am the queen of balance, I am in fact the QUEEN of balance, and I can more than ever own the pants off that.
I have come to realise this about myself more than ever….
It’s not about how you look – it’s about how you want to LIVE.
And I want to live with a glass of cold champagne to toast a delicious sunset and laugh until my belly aches over hot chips and late dinners out with the best of friends. (not worry about has the menu got grilled fish or steamed vegetables or are there gluten free options – no.thanks).
Because to get as lean as I did whilst maintaining and building the muscle I did and having my ab’s come through more than ever – ladies don’t for ONE SECOND think that it doesn’t’ take sacrifice and hard freaking work.
The girl on the left (again, who still had a rocking bod don’t worry I honour that as my normal) is someone who still trains daily, has her isa every single day and doesn’t miss her weekly cleans days, BUT, I also have all of the other fun stuff in moderation – the Champagne, the chocolate, the hot chips and the taco’s (and…. ALL the other stuff).
The girl on the right, who has a rocking bod for sure just more lean and toned and tight and smaller – was someone who trained daily (still), had her isa (still, of course) but just was A LOT more strict with the other ‘fun stuff’, not to mention as we all know now, no booze for 3 whole months.
And again? Was it worth it? Of course, challengers for me and seeing just where else I can take my results are always worth it
The one thing I did learn from this challenge which in and of itself was life changing however was to FINALLY be able to actually HAVE control when I DO go out and I learned phenomenal self control (more than ever) on not feeling I need to choose the naughty things off the menu.
You see, being someone who IS extremely disciplined and behaved with food 95% of the time, and 100% with my Isa – when I am travelling or out and about its rare that I say no to the food that isn’t always a great option on a menu (when done in moderation though of course it’s fine). But being someone who has a freedom lifestyle and who travels the world all year round, those habits actually haven’t served me the last year or so. I can say that I although I FELT fantastic, I was slipping on to the side of living a little bit toooo balanced I would say.
So for 16 weeks, actually choosing the salad when being out and about and sucking back a soda water instead of a couple of glasses of champagne and a bowl of hot chips “because I can” – was honestly THE best thing I could have engrained as a new habit for me as now I know I can have the balance of course, but I DO need to keep that balance in check as well.
The biggest lesson and intention I had going in to and am proud I came out of the challenge with though is this.
I can’t tell you the weight amount lost, nor the BF% dropped or the lean muscle gained or maintained.
It wasn’t about any number because numbers don’t determine your worth and they absolutely are not the things to make you happy.
What I did focus on though was becoming a woman even more determined to fall unconditionally in love with herself – be it the left or right photo.
What I CAN tell you as well, is that I fell more in love with the JOURNEY of self respect, self care and self LOVE with my beautiful body of mine more than ever.
It’s not about a number on a scale. It’s not about measurements lost. It’s not about a trophy or applause. It’s about how much could I just love and honour my body – and use THESE results as my new foundation. No bouncing back with a little ‘toooo much’ balance #thereissuchathing and how much stronger can I get from here.
My fitness and health journey is at a point in time now where more than ever I want to show women the only goal you need to work healthily towards is loving and respecting your body, and the only competition you only ever need to look to is not the woman to your left or right – but the woman staring back at you in the mirror.
I woke up the day after this challenge and went back in to the gym, had my 2 shakes in the day (and granted, a couple of glasses of champagne) and as I sit here writing this today, I am on day 1 of a double cleanse… Your health and results truly are an EVERY DAY quest … not a sometimes or maybe or for an event or goal quest.
So am I proud of the results gained over the last 4 months? You freaking bet. But was I madly proud and in love with the woman before? More than I can say. I AM excited to make THESE results this time my new foundation to build upon though and to my superstar trainer Lochie Horner, THANK YOU for putting up with me for another 16 week challenge and training me weights + food wise to be the strongest (by far) and happiest I have ever been.
P.s ladies if you’ve gotten to the bottom of this blog – well done firstly, you have a bigger attention span than a goldfish which apparently is rare these days, but if you are someone who is just so ready to take serious control back of their health and want to do their own 16 week challenge under my support and coaching and love – then drop by our inbox and let’s have a chat – firstname.lastname@example.org (you literally have nothing to lose by just touching base).
PHOTOSHOOT PHOTOGRAPHER + HAIR & MAKE UP:
Photographer: Belinda Rae (from Belinda Rae Photography aka best photographer in ze world)
Hair & Make Up: Hair by Olivia Martin & Make up by Caitlin Bongiovanni ( from Olive & Cait Hair & Make Up Perth aka the best Hair and MUA’s in Aus!!)