Diet & Nutrition

EXCLUSIVE: The insane meal prep strategy behind this mum's amazing 32kg weight loss

Can you believe she did this in 10 months?!

By Rebecca Sullivan
Less than a year ago, Aussie mum Nicole Gallagher had never exercised before in her life and was eating McDonald's five times a week.
The 34-year-old clocked the scales at 90kg and was a size 20.
But last Christmas, the mother of two - she has an eight-year-old and a 14-month-old baby - decided to make a change.
"I had quite severe post-natal depression. I was overweight and I didn't have it in me to leave the house and everything was sore from having a baby. I didn't know where to start," Nicole told Good Health.
"I'd never worked out before in my life and exercise was never a part of my life and. I was quite unfit. But I knew that I had to make a change."
Nicole struggled to live a healthy lifestyle after having her children. Supplied
Nicole pictured at the beach last year. Supplied
Nicole befriended a local PT while doing the school drop off, who took her under her wing and encouraged her to join a gym.
"We had the same circle of friends and she made me feel comfortable. I started off just moving. They said to me 'Any exercises that don't feel right, just stop immediately'," Nicole said.
"I wasn't doing a heap of core work because I had no muscle or core strength. I wasn't lifting any weights, I started off with my own body weight, just super light cardio. For example, I would do step ups instead of box jumps, just starting off light.
"Eventually, I started picking up weights and the number of kilos [I was lifting] would climb up as I went."
At her heaviest, Nicole weighed 90kg. Supplied
She ate McDonald's five times a week and didn't exercise. Supplied
Nicole started off doing about three sessions a week and now she does 10 gym sessions a week, as well as a few runs.
"I like to do double sessions. A typical day of exercise could be 2-3 hours. I wake up in the morning and go for a run around 5am and by the time I get back, everyone is just getting up. My kid goes to the crèche for 1.5-2 hours in the morning and I go to a 9am class and there are also evening classes as well," Nicole said.
"I'm a freelance hairdresser so I can schedule appointments around my lifestyles. I do a lot of late night work and late afternoons."
Having the crèche on-site at her local gym makes all the difference.
"[My daughter] loves the crèche and they are just fantastic in there. They are early childhood educators and it's great to give her some time out as well."
Nicole and her youngest child, feeling fit and healthy. Supplied
Nicole is a freelance hairdresser who runs her own business. Supplied
Nicole has also completely overhauled her diet - and even turned into a bit of a meal prepping queen.
"I used to eat McDonald's five times a week and lots of take away and lots of carbs," Nicole revealed.
"Now I'm probably eating more food, more regularly. My calories are still quite high because I'm building muscle now."
This is what a regular day on a plate looks like for Nicole now:
Pre-workout: "When I wake up, before I exercise I usually have a banana and then I will have a cup of coffee on almond milk."
Breakfast: "A sachet of quick oats and almond milk, then I load that up with YoPro [a brand of yoghurt from the supermarket] with some blueberries, peanut butter and cinnamon powder."
Morning tea: "I'm in love with chocolate coated chickpeas. They're in the health food aisle and they're only 100 calories a packet. I usually have those with an apple."
Lunch: "At lunchtime I will do a chicken salad or wrap, or dukkah-spiced chicken pizza on a spinach and herb wrap, loaded up with kale and heaps of salad."
Afternoon tea: "A banana protein shake."
Dinner: "At the moment I'm eating turkey san choy bau for dinner."
Nicole has currently signed up to the Coaching Zone fitness program, which also provides members with an online "nutritional portal", where recipes and shopping guides are created for you.
Nicole now works out everyday and loves weight training and running. Supplied
She's lost 32kg and says she feels fit and strong. Supplied
Nicole went from a size 20 to a size 8. Supplied
Nicole at the beach after her weight loss. Supplied
Nicole's secret to always having healthy meals ready to go is meal prepping.
She devotes a few hours on Sundays to preparing meals for herself, her husband and her kids for the coming week.
"I had never meal prepped in my life, but we bought a really cheap chest freezer and we now have that on the back deck," Nicole explains, revealing how she stores all of the food she cooks.
"I usually cook two kilos of chicken breast under the grill and freeze that into portions, so I can pull those out whenever I need it," she said.
"For dinner, I cook up a big batch of turkey for seven nights. Then I can just add some vegetables and I use those brown rice cups as well, because they're quick and easy.
"I meal prep a big spaghetti bolognese or two kilos of sausages, then I portion them up and put two in each snap-lock bag. I steam heaps of veggies and put them in snap lock bags.
"For the kids, I'll make a big pasta bake or zucchini slice and I just freeze all of that."
Nicole loves to meal prep on Sundays to ensure she's got plenty of healthy meals for the week. Supplied
Nicole has now officially lost 32kg, clocking the scales at 58kg, and has gone down from a size 20 to a size 8.
"I've bought a new wardrobe 3-4 times," she joked.
"I feel like now, when I open my wardrobe, it's easy to get dressed. I don't have to think about it and I can just grab something an go, whereas before I would have to do a big try on and make sure my tummy didn't look massive."
WATCH BELOW: Five simple diet changes that will help you lose weights. Story continues after video.
But the biggest change, aside from the weight, is how she feels.
"My life is absolutely different and it's so much better, in every single way," Nicole said.
"My health is better, I have more energy and I sleep better and I'm a better mum and a better wife."

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