When Natalie Hirst saw photos of herself after the birth of her third child, she knew something had to change.
The 28-year-old’s weight had ballooned to 130 kilograms, having increased gradually through the course of three pregnancies.
Having now shed a remarkable 60kg – and preparing to don a bikini in a fitness transformation competition – the Adelaide mum reflected on the moment that turned her life around.
‘I was disgusted by my photos and couldn’t believe the difference. I was 48kg from my wedding body. A reality check that put a fire in my belly,’ she told FEMAIL.
Natalie Hirst (pictured before her weight loss, at 130kg, left and after, at 71kg, right) reveals her turning point came after the birth of her third child
Today, Natalie’s life is focused on healthy living and exercise whereas she previously struggled with dieting and body image.
‘When I started working full-time as a 16-year-old I gained 20kg in two years living an unhealthy and stressful life.’
Anxiety has also been a problem, with Natalie revealing this condition worsening when she’d crash diet to control her weight.
Making dreams a reality: The 28-year-old said her turning point was seeing herself in a photo after the birth of her third child (pictured left) – a realisation that prompted a lifestyle change (pictured right)
At 22, she fell pregnant with her first son and used that as an excuse to ‘eat whatever I want’ – resulting in a 30kg weight gain.
‘I found out at 22 weeks I had a heart condition after being rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack.
‘I was told I wasn’t allowed to do any physical activity which meant me sitting around a lot and eating.
Gritty determination has seen Natalie embrace a life of healthy eating and daily exercise – a resolve that has seen her shed nearly half her body weight
After the birth of her first child, Natalie set about shedding weight for her wedding.
‘I lost the excess weight in 19 months through exercise and yo-yo dieting. I consumed shakes, ate from meal plans and cut out certain food groups.
‘But looking back on it now, I realise it was so unhealthy.’
When her son was almost two and she was at her lowest weight since her teens, she became pregnant again.
‘Again, anxiety, stress and laziness meant I gained a lot of weight; 35kg this time.’
Natalie said before she had kids she had struggled with her weight but revealed over the course of her pregnancies she continued to gain weight (Natalie pictured left before she had children, centre, 2.5 years ago and right, now)
Just ten weeks after her second baby was born Natalie found out she was pregnant for the third time, an unexpected situation that saw her embark on yet another cycle of overeating and lack of exercising.
Weeks after giving birth, Natalie weighed herself and took photos so she could gain a sense of how she looked – a reality check that left her shocked.
‘I was 130kg at this point, I was disgusted by my photos and couldn’t believe the difference.’
Determined to shed the excess weight for good, and having been cleared by doctors of risk associated with her heart condition, the mum-of-three started exercising again.
Natalie said it took seeing herself in photos after the birth of her third child to really get a sense of how different her body was
The mum-of-three said once she decided to overhaul her lifestyle, she committed herself to a regime of eating healthy food and drinking plenty of water
‘I rejoined a gym with a creche and attended gym classes daily. I absolutely loved it,’ she said.
‘It was time out of the house with three young children. They got to socialise as did I.’
Her diet also needed an overhaul so she wouldn’t revert to her old habit of shakes, planned meals or removing food groups.
‘I started by making sure my water intake was on point so I drank roughly three litres a day, which is something I had been told to do.
What was Natalie’s day on a plate before?
Breakfast: Cereal or toast
Snacks: Biscuits, potato chips, chocolate, lollies, cakes, donuts or muffins
Lunch: A tinned spaghetti toasted sandwich or leftovers
Dinner: Pasta made from sauce in a jar or a creamy pasta dish, or sausages, schnitzel or takeaway
What is Natalie’s day on a plate now?
Breakfast: Eggs, a smoothie or oats
Snacks: Fruit, vegetables, rice cakes, protein bars, protein shakes or nuts
Lunch: Protein (fish or chicken) salad and a portion of slow-release carbs
Dinner: Protein with vegetables and carbs, an example of this might be taco mince with rice, salad and vegetables
‘Then I filled my cupboard with healthy options and I also watched my portion sizes.’
She said she wasn’t restrictive with food as she’d once been and if she felt like a piece of chocolate she would have it, but only a small portion.
‘I never missed out. If I wanted something like chocolate I’d swap out something else or would do a half hour walk to earn it.’
Natalie said not being restrictive with food helped her stay the course, but if she were to indulge she’d only have a small amount and would offset this with exercise
Although diet and exercise helped her sculpt her body, the mum-of-three was left with 910g of loose skin
After losing 40kg thanks to an improved diet and self-devised fitness routines, she hired a personal trainer to push on to the next level and a new career.
She had been receiving plenty of compliments from people telling her how great she looked and knew she could advise others on how to get the same results.
‘I decided to become a personal trainer because I wanted to help others also on a journey.
‘I now work at the gym where it all began, Trend Fitness Morphett Vale. It’s a place I credit for my success and a place where I have always felt comfortable.’
Surgery helped remove excess skin after weight loss (pictured right) as well as repair her abdominal muscles
Life is for living: Today, Natalie is a personal trainer and believes that anyone can overhaul their lifestyle with her ‘small steps’ approach
Although her weight loss wasn’t rapid, Natalie was left with 910g of loose skin, which she had surgically removed in March this year. Her abdominal muscles were also repaired at the same time.
While there have been some pauses in her fitness routine, especially when her kids needed to go to hospital with respiratory problems, she always started again.
‘Life will always throw road blocks and bumps and you can’t always be prepared,’ she said.
To those thinking about embarking on a similar journey, Natalie urges taking a ‘small steps’ approach.
‘Start small and make small changes. It all begins with just one small step at a time.’
If you would like more information about Natalie’s training program or would like to follow her journey on Instagram, please visit