For most people, finding the time and motivation to prioritise their health and fitness is easier said than done. Here’s how one Aussie mum transformed her lifestyle in just 8 weeks. 

At 36 years old, Monica Collins has never felt fitter, healthier or happier. 

After dedicating years to the progression of her career, and then the health battles of her young son, she found the resilience to and strength focus on her own health, embarking on a transformation journey that has reinvigorated her life today. 

The functional medicine practitioner, specialising in fertility, pregnancy and babies, lost 10.1kg following the 28 by Sam Wood program’s 8-week challenge. Here’s what kept the Aussie mum of one motivated and on track throughout her weight loss journey.

Ten years before her impressive weight loss journey, Collins was diagnosed with PCOS. Her lifestyle at the time lifestyle consisted of an abundance of fast food, caffeine and junk, and a deficit of physical exercise.

Following three emergency surgeries on her ovaries, Collins was told her chances of conceiving a child naturally were incredibly low, prompting her to consider changing her lifestyle.

“ I got a full-time job at a gym and enrolled into a Bachelor of Health Science in Natural Medicine,” Collins says. “By the time I finished my degree, I changed my lifestyle and health so much that they told me that my diagnosis must have been a mistake. Unfortunately, though, the damage to my ovaries had been done and my egg count was very low.”

At 32, Collins decided to pursue motherhood as a solo venture, becoming a single mum at 33 via a sperm donor.

Collins’ young son is her motivation for prioritising her health once again. Image: Supplied

Despite Collins’ lifestyle reboot after her PCOS diagnosis, her major weight gain came as a result of natural hormone therapy and 18 months of breastfeeding with major problems and stress. 

“My bub was born with what was suspected to be Inflammatory Bowel Disease and had many dietary intolerances,” she shares. “It was the hardest time of my life and I had to have a very restricted diet.” 

Fuelled by her passion for natural medicine, Collins started a post-grad study with international holistic paediatric and digestive specialists to learn how to naturally help her son. Managing to get him non-reactive and in a great position health-wise, she knew she had to turn her attention to her health.

“I knew it was time to focus on me again! And the Sam Wood 28 app made that so easy, and so enjoyable!” says Collins.

Despite her positive mindset and glowing sense of achievement having finishing the challenge, Collins wasn’t always so confident in her ability to master the lifestyle modifications, “I chose postpartum (even though my son was already 2 years old) because it was all I thought I could handle,” she says.

“By week 2 I enjoyed it so much that I upgraded to Moderate intensity and found myself doing multiple classes daily, cooking every meal off the app, setting little challenges for myself with daily steps, and from there the lifestyle just flowed,” the mum of one says.

When it came to the nutritional side of things, Collins found the challenge’s  ‘Real Food Philosophy extremely educational and not at all restrictive, encouraging healthier habits and cleaner meals, “I chose all the vegetable-loaded options, I stopped binge eating during my son’s nap time and I started listening more to my body and didn’t snack because I didn’t feel the need to anymore,” she says. 

Monica’s typical day on a plate 

Breakfast: A loaded smoothie or decaf coffee with collagen, prebiotics, raw cacao and activated almond milk. 

Lunch: The 28 program Mexican bowl or loaded salads. 

Dinner: Satay, roasts and creative vegetable options like miso-slaw. 

Snacks and desserts: Pork crackles, nuts, coconut yoghurt, smoothies, cacao-covered strawberries or a date peanut slice.

Fuelled by the nutritious meals and recipes provided by the 28-program, Collins threw herself straight into the challenge’s exercise classes and sessions, completing a HIIT class most mornings and a DanceFit session most evenings while she made dinner, “ loved it so much that I found myself singing along using the tongs as a microphone,” shares the Aussie mum. 

What has she learned throughout her transformation? 

Juggling her career and her young son, the simplicity of the program’s meal plans and on-demand exercise sessions took all the guesswork out of her health journey, “All you have to do is open the app and everything else is done for you,” she says. 

“So many times I didn’t feel like exercising but I would put DanceFit on and have a smile or a laugh, hear an old school favourite beat and within minutes I was enjoying it!” she says

“The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that turning my struggles into learning opportunities has allowed me to persist, grow and seek knowledge from whatever life brings,” says the mother of one.

“Health really is our most valuable asset and prioritising nourishing food and movement creates a more positive and fulfilling life.”

This article is originally from Body & Soul.

Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change to their lives. Sam Wood has over 20 years experience as a personal trainer and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators in the health & fitness industry. Sam is the founder and personal trainer of 28, Australia’s #1 home fitness and nutrition program, and he's also the proud owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed, based in Brighton, Melbourne.