Sweating it out at the gym earlier this year I got a crazy idea.
I recalled an article about a mother and daughter who lost a substantial amount of weight after working out every single day for 100 days. I thought: "If they can do it, why shouldn't I?'"
That's when I decided to give Instagram health and fitness star Amanda McGuire's Work It Out 100 challenge a try.
From that moment on I committed to doing some form of exercise every single day, documenting it on Instagram to help keep myself accountable.
You may be wondering why on earth I'd want to do this? Let me explain ...
Towards the end of 2015, I found myself in desperate need of a lifestyle change. I was feeling uncomfortably overweight at 120kg.
Being Body Positive
For a long time, I've been a big believer in the Body Positive movement, which encourages people to be more forgiving about their bodies and adopt affirming attitudes towards themselves. So over the years I'd learnt to love and accept my body but, for me, the next step was to let that love influence the way I took care of the health of my body.
Time to move it
I started working out with personal trainer Sonjia of Coda Kinect PT and switched to a healthier diet - cutting out sugary treats, junk food and carbs in the evening. Within 16 weeks I'd dropped 17kg.
But the rest of 2016 became a nightmare of plateaus and yo-yoing. So I started afresh in 2017 and got back into it with the 100 day challenge.
At first the challenge didn't seem so hard. In the previous year I'd gotten used to working out 3-4 times a week, but of course it wasn't easy. Some days I felt really good after going hard out during a workout. Other days, I felt so exhausted I could have melted into the floor.
In the first week, I managed to injure my calf while skipping. Life would get in the way and I'd find myself having to cram in late-night gym sessions.
Then there were the days where I'd just had enough and the couch would get a little too comfortable. On those days, I was so grateful for my active rest days and for my partner for helping to get me moving.
The truth about working out
During my challenge I wanted to make a point of including photos of what working out really looked like. Instagram is filled with beautiful people, perfectly posed and not breaking a sweat at the gym. But in my opinion if you haven't got makeup running down your face and you don't look like a puffy red mess, you must not be doing it right - because that's how I always looked.
Taking photos of myself gave me an outlet for when I wasn't feeling completely "fitspo" and it really did help keep me in check and determined to follow through with what I'd set out to do.
A kick up the bum
A snap from last night's workout - I may be smiling - but everything hurts thanks to @codakinect.pt // #workout #personaltraining #workoutmotivation #motivated #goals #sideplank #gettingthere #exercise #weightloss #strength #absworkout A post shared by Rachel Bache (@rachelbache) on Mar 13, 2017 at 2:31pm PDT
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Basically, I needed a kick up the bum and a challenge like Work It Out 100 was perfect for me.
I mixed my weeks up with high-intensity PT workouts, boxing boot camp, swimming, weights and cardio sessions at the gym and lower intensity "active rest days" which included gentle yoga stretches or going for walks.
My wonderful boyfriend even jumped on the bandwagon a little too, often joining me at the gym or for a stroll when he could. His support and encouragement along with the heartening comments from friends and strangers on Instagram really helped keep me on track - especially on the days where I just really didn't feel like going to the gym - of which I had plenty.
Bye-bye sweet treats
The healthy eating side of things wasn't exactly a piece of cake either - saying no to cake, cookies and other treats is incredibly painful - even more so when they're all around you.
Sometimes I'd slip up or allow myself an indulgent meal, but tried to focus on being better the next day. As well as keeping a food diary, Sonjia made me keep a list of things I said no to, and seeing that list at the end of the week is another little accomplishment.
Ain't seen nothing yet
Now with less than 15 days to go I've lost 9kg since starting the challenge and 26kg since November 2015 - bringing me in at 94kg - and I'm feeling stronger, healthier and more motivated than ever.
Throughout the Work It Out challenge I've been asked time and time again what I will do once the 100 days is up. And my reply is that I really want to keep going - because my journey is far from over.
• This article was first published on The Hits and is republished here with permission.