As the clock ticks round towards midnight, as fireworks bang and Champagne corks pop, the majority of us will have some sort of resolution or goal in mind for the new year, be it shedding some weight, quitting smoking, or finding a new partner. Lisa Curry is no exception.
And while there are few women in Australia who have reached the levels of physical prowess that the three-time Olympic swimming champion has, over the last 12 months stress has led the former professional athlete to pile on 10 kilos. But she's determined to welcome in 2020 armed with a plan to battle the bulge.
"I've been training my entire life, except for the last 12 months," the 57-year-old tells Good Health & Wellbeing. "So, as I sit here talking to you now, I am the most unfit I have ever been.
"I've had a year – probably a year-and-a-half, actually – of travelling, eating out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No routine, and barely any training… I've even had to buy new jeans, because my old ones no longer fit. I hate it. Sometimes I look at myself and think, 'Oh, Lisa. Just get some gaffer tape and tape your mouth up!'"
Thankfully, Lisa is a woman of action. Taking the 'new year, new you' approach, the swimming legend has a solid strategy for reinvention.
A new passion
"I know what a human body needs to be in good shape," she says.
"I know what needs to be done. I feel like I have to completely recreate myself. I know that nothing is permanent, I know that I'm not stuck, I know that I have choices, and I know that I can learn something and create new habits. All I have to do is decide, and do it."
In a swimming career that spanned 23 years, Lisa competed at two World Championships, three Commonwealth Games and three Olympic Games, during which she was consistently ranked as one of the top 25 swimmers in the world.
Representing the country a total of 16 times from 1977 to 1992, she remains the only Australian competitor to have held Commonwealth and Australian records in every stroke except backstroke. It's a résumé that's impressive by any standards.
But rather than resting on her laurels, reflecting on past glories and polishing awards in her trophy cabinet, with hindsight the go-getting grandma sees her career as a stepping stone to her current passion today – helping others.
"When I meet people, I see and I feel, and I hear how my experiences resonate with them," says the sporting great. "Looking back, I think my swimming career was a stepping stone to give me a platform, to give me a voice, so that I can help people as much as possible."
"I can connect with complete strangers after about a minute or two and that's because I've been there – I've had lots of ups in my life, but I've also had lots of downs, and everything in between, so I understand. With me, what you see is what you get. There's no fakery or facade.
"For example, I'm an emotional eater, so I feel like I understand what people who have been overweight their entire lives feel, and how they feel about themselves. Plus, like a lot of ladies I work with, I'm currently going through menopause, and it's a really tricky time for all of us – especially when it comes to juggling fitness. I can empathise."
Just as she's inspired countless others over the years via her bootcamps, diet and exercise programs, and motivational speaking, she's also hoping that her own imminent weight-loss journey will kickstart others into action.
"I think, regardless of what type of year you've had, we should look at 2020 as a fresh start – a time to redesign your year and to focus on lifestyle, exercise, food, balance and sleep. They're simple steps, but they have so much impact in terms of wellbeing."
And she has the perfect vehicle to do it – her detox program.
"I wrote this five years ago," she explains. "No one ever starts a diet on January 1, so I decided to do it for the month of February to allow people to have a really great time over the holiday season. The meal plan component is packed with natural, wholesome foods and is really easy to follow. As for exercise, it's very minimal."
Another business inspired by Lisa's own experiences is Happy Healthy You, an information resource and product line for women dealing with hormonal imbalances, which she co-founded after going through her own hormonal battle for years. "I would have mood swings every month," she says.
Beginning with irregular periods in her early twenties, it wasn't until decades later that Lisa was able to identify and understand her hormonal health issues. And now going through menopause herself, she's passionate about educating and helping other women going through their own hormonal ups and downs.
WATCH BELOW: Lisa Curry's first meal post I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! Post continues after video...
"We've got nearly 200,000 ladies in our Facebook group now," she enthuses. "It's amazing, because we're able to support and encourage so many women, which I've tried to do all my life, but on a much smaller scale with my books, workshops and boot camps. To help these women become empowered and take control of their health has been amazing."
Now aged 20 months, 'Granny Lisa' couldn't be happier with her grandma status, and she's already eager to hear the pitter-patter of more tiny feet.
"It's so incredibly beautiful to be a grandmother," she gushes. "My daughter – Flynn's mum – Morgan, said to me the other day: 'Mum, now I know how much you loved us as your children. I never knew how much you could love a child.' It wasn't until she had Flynn that she really understood a mother's love. So, it's nice to hear that.
"Flynn is just the most beautiful child, and I'm always asking if he can stay over because I love having him around. It's just the best, it really is. And then you give them back! I can't wait for more grandchildren."
In 2018, Lisa also finally tied the knot with long-term partner, Mark Andrew Tabone. But after living together for years, has marriage changed anything for the couple?
"No, it feels the same," she says, smiling. "We're always going to be in the honeymoon period! We're very, very close. We spend all day every day together, and every day is good. And that's why I think I'm so peaceful and happy. Mark is just a beautiful human being."
While her hubby is clearly a pillar of support in Lisa's mental health strategy, the sporting icon has two other unique forms of meditation in her wellbeing arsenal: crochet and lawn mowing.
A happy place
"When I lived on the beach, I used to walk," she says. "But now that we're on 24 hectares in the hinterland we have a lot of grass to mow. So pretty much every afternoon I'm mowing the lawn. Firstly, because it has to be done, secondly, because I actually really enjoy it and no one can get to me, the phone doesn't ring… you're only focused on the grass in front of you.
"When I was paddling outriggers on the ocean for 25 years I would only focus on the water 10 metres in front of me. It's almost exactly the same, except I'm on a motorised vehicle, so I'm not doing the training – and that's probably why I'm 10 kilos heavier!
"Then, in the winter, I crochet. I usually have a notebook and pen next to me. It's funny how something like that clears your mind – I find that crocheting helps me be so much more creative and I'll have plenty of ideas popping into my head."
The final pillar in Lisa's recipe for internal equilibrium is her property on the Sunshine Coast. A "slice of paradise" for her and her family, she's also planning on opening up the idyllic estate to the public by creating regular retreats in 2020.
"Mark and I are busy building so that we can have people come and experience what we love so much," she says of her home.
"It's so peaceful, so beautiful and at night-time there's a million stars. We think it's the perfect way for guests to get off the treadmill, get out of the rat race, and come back to nature and to remind themselves that it's the simple things in life that actually count for a lot."
WATCH BELOW: Lisa Curry is the crunch queen. Post continues after video...
The next chapter
This desire to help change lives and to inject happiness intersects with Lisa's other businesses. As an Olympian she strived for gold and personal success, while in her current incarnation, her goal is to give back and support others.
"A lot of women my age may be widowed, or divorced, empty-nesters," she says. "All of a sudden, they're a bit lost and don't know what to do with themselves, so when they connect with other people who may be in the same situation, it opens up a whole new world to them. I really love being able to show people new, different ways of living."
Lisa knows this all too well. Three years shy of her 60th birthday, she's stepped back and reassessed what's important in her life, stripping back the noise and superficiality.
"I'm changing as I get older," she concedes. "I'm not the same person that I used to be. I notice that I prefer the simple things in life. I appreciate nature more. I appreciate quietness. I appreciate true friends. I appreciate just normal, simple living.
"I have loved, and am loving my life. I have no regrets and I wouldn't change a thing. I feel healthy, I feel happy, I'm doing what I want to do every single day, and I'm looking forward to what's next."