Paris Rodgers wasn’t overweight, but she wasn’t the “best version” of herself, either.
“I wasn’t severely overweight, I was just aware that I wasn’t the best version of myself, and knew I could push a lot harder to get better results and feel a lot more confident in my body,” the 28-year-old tells myBody+Soul.
“I would go up and down in weight and shy away from photos when I felt bigger. I’ve also struggled with anxiety most of my adult life.”
She coupled her low-calorie low-carb diet with HIIT training six days a week, but wasn’t seeing any results. If anything, Paris only felt more fatigued.
“I thought that cutting out carbs was the only way to do it [lose weight], and then I would go through stages of binge eating carbs and sugar after depriving myself.
“Cutting calories was unsustainable for me as I didn’t find the food tasty and therefore I would accidentally eat a block of chocolate by the end of the week. It just wasn’t a healthy life or state of mind.”
In June last year, Paris decided to switch gyms, invest more into her fitness and finally reach her goal: to “get abs”. She sought help from personal trainer, Jesse Spinks, from Vision Personal Training Prahran, who advised her to take part in the 9-week Body Breakthrough challenge.
Before embarking on her body transformation journey, the 160cm tall Melbourne local weighed 66.8kg and carried 27 per cent body fat.
“I was the heaviest I’d been when I started with my PT, Jesse, feeling really flabby and not as confident as I didn’t have any muscle definition. Once I had my initial bio-scan and saw my body fat percentage was in an unhealthy range for my body, getting that as well as my “bio-age” down became a big part of my goals.”
Her first step to reaching her goals was devising a healthy and balanced meal plan, which meant learning to be disciplined and making a few sacrifices.
“I started by deleting the Uber Eats app,” she says.
“During the Body Breakthrough challenge, we stepped up my eating plan to get the best results during the 9-week period. I was eating (and still am) every three hours, but focusing on – and counting – macros in each meal… cutting out alcohol and sugar altogether was essential.”
However, Paris refused to say goodbye to the foods she loved just to live off steamed chicken and broccoli.
“I have never believed that healthy food has to be plain. I found ways to get creative and make my food extra tasty because I’m just not a person who can live on chicken and broccoli – life is too short,” she adds.
To make her meals enjoyable, she “jazzed” them up with “lots of seasoning such as spices, Tamari, Sriracha and Peri Peri sauce.”
She learnt to meal prep, which has helped her save money, time and stop her unhealthy snacking habits.
“It’s true what they say, getting started is the hardest part. I can’t eat ‘diet’ food that has no flavour, so cooking big batches of delicious food that lasts the whole week was a lot of work at first. However, once I got the hang of it I found fast ways to get it done and it now actually saves a lot of time out of my week having everything ready – and stops me reaching for unhealthy snacks.”
Paris went from depriving herself from food to eating six meals a day: “I eat every 3 hours so my body is always processing food. I eat more food than ever before but am now so aware of the right foods to eat.”
Here’s what a typical day on a plate looks like to Paris:
Breakfast: Oats with a good quality whey protein, berries, chia seeds and a splash of almond milk + an almond milk latte
Morning tea: Rice cakes with cherry tomatoes, cucumber and protein such as turkey breast or tuna.
Lunch: 130g chicken tenderloins, 145g basmati rice and a side of green beans and broccolini.
Afternoon tea: 165g sweet potato, 1309 chicken or another choice of lean protein and a salad with apple cider vinegar.
Dinner: 130g of protein (fish/chicken/eye fillet) and 165g Charisma potatoes with greens or salad.
Dessert: Vanilla protein shake with berries.
She also ensures she drinks at least three litres of water per day.
Paris notes that the key to her transformation was “cutting out alcohol completely as well as wheat, refined sugar and dairy, other than whey protein.”
Her workout routine
It was farewell to high-intensity training, and hello to walking and strength training.
Paris walked on an empty stomach every morning for 45 minutes to 1 hour at a steady fast pace on the treadmill or outside.
She then did resistance training with her trainer, Jesse, three times per week. This included a lot of heavy squats, lunges and deadlifts.
“I love having a trainer so I don’t have to think about it – I just do what she tells me.”
Paris has continued to maintain this workout regime.
There’s one word to describe Paris: ripped.
She has reduced her body fat from 27 per cent to 12 per cent, and has lost 9kg since she started working together with her PT 9 months ago. During the 9-week challenge, she lost 5.7 per cent body fat.
However, she admits that there is so much more to her weight loss journey than the number on the scales or the person she now sees in the mirror.
“Besides the weight and body fat loss, there’s so many other benefits from this journey like my anxiety is greatly reduced, I sleep better and I’ve knocked 4.5 years off my bio age,” she explains. “I’m just a lot more confident in my own skin now.”
Take away message
Besides gaining self-confidence, Paris has learnt that they key to any body goal comes down to nutrition.
“I think the biggest thing I’ve learnt is that there is no quick fix, there is no easy way to weight loss, toning up, or whatever your goals are. Good nutrition is the most important thing if you want to succeed.”
For those trying to lose weight, take note of Paris’ valuable advice.
“Find a good trainer and get all the facts first, so do a bio-scan and work out clear goals… keep a food diary to keep you accountable for every bite of food or glass of wine you might have. Doing weekly weigh-ins is also a really good way to keep track.
“And honestly, just don’t give up. It takes sacrifices, but it’s definitely worth it.”