Fitness was Kristel Hudson’s greatest passion her entire life, but everything changed when she discovered she was pregnant weeks after her relationship broke down.
One year later in March 2015, her beloved father – who had raised her as a single parent – died from lung cancer, a devastating loss that pushed the marketing coordinator from Sutherland, south of Sydney, into a deep depression.
Grappling with the emotional and financial pressures of raising daughter Isla alone, Ms Hudson sought comfort in junk food and gained 20 kilos on a diet of chicken shop hot chips, sugar-laced slurpees and Chinese takeaway.
But after overhauling her lifestyle and toning up with almost daily workouts, Ms Hudson went on to win one of Australia’s top bikini modelling competitions in October 2019 – a show of gritty determination she hopes to pass on to her little girl.
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Sydney marketing coordinator Kristel Hudson (pictured left, in 2015 and right, in 2019) went from eating hot chips and slurpees for breakfast to winning bikini competitions
Ms Hudson resolved to transform her body after seeing other working mothers getting fit on Instagram
‘I was looking at other mums on Instagram with two and three kids who were just as busy as I was and I thought, if they can do it, so can I,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
At her heaviest, Ms Hudson tipped the scales at 65 kilos.
While many might see that as a goal weight, for the pint-sized brunette who stands at 153cm – barely five feet – it was a dramatic departure from her usual physique which had always sat between 45 and 50 kilos.
Lethargic, unmotivated and stripped of confidence, Ms Hudson dressed in baggy track pants and loose-fitting dresses to hide her changing form.
‘I didn’t look like I was typically overweight, but I had a really high body fat percentage – I went from being super lean to having over 30 percent body fat,’ Ms Hudson said.
The pint-sized brunette who stands at just 153cm – barely five feet – tipped the scales at 65 kilos (left) and slimmed down to 47 kilos (right) before winning a string of fitness titles in 2019
Ms Hudson wants to be a role model for her six-year-old daughter, Isla (pictured)
She started her transformation in the living room of her Sutherland home, with bodyweight exercises like planks to strengthen her core and ‘dips’ from the edge of her sofa to build muscle in her arms and shoulders.
Then she enrolled in online classes coached by Sydney trainer Andrew Menechian, which involve one hour of weight training and 45 minutes of cardio, six days a week.
Ms Hudson swapped slurpees for water and cut out greasy takeaway fare in favour of poached eggs, oats, chicken and piles of leafy green vegetables like broccolini and bok choy, which have become her favourites.
‘It took me a long time but I’ve learned to control my cravings. I don’t keep lollies in the house, only ones I don’t like for my daughter, so I’m not tempted!’ she said, adding: ‘I haven’t touched a slurpee in years.’
Kristel Hudson’s ‘day on a plate’
- Breakfast: Large portion of chicken shop hot chips drenched in barbecue and sweet chilli sauce OR a Mars Bar with a can of energy drink
- Lunch: A $3 ‘slurpee’ and takeaway Thai chicken laksa
- Dinner: Chinese takeaway or nothing – skipped meal
- Snacks: Energy drinks, chocolate and lollies
- Breakfast: Two poached eggs with oats
- Lunch: Chicken or barramundi with green vegetables and basmati rice
- Dinner: Chicken or salmon, (occasionally red meat) with basmati rice or sweet potato chips and lots of greens like spinach, bok choy, baby broccoli, snow peas, cabbage and beans
- Snacks:12 almonds, protein shake, strawberries and low-fat jelly pots
Ms Hudson swapped slurpees for water and cut out greasy takeaway fare in favour of poached eggs, oats, chicken and piles of leafy green vegetables
She enrolled in online classes coached by Sydney trainer Andrew Menechian, which involve one hour of weight training and 45 minutes of cardio, six days a week
The mum-of-one now weighs 57 kilos but dropped to a lithe 47 kilos before competing at the Natural Bodybuilding Federation event in October.
There, she won three categories – beginners, intermediate and over 30s – as well as the coveted title of ‘Overall Bikini Champion’.
‘I’ve been really blessed, it still feels a bit surreal but it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,’ Ms Hudson, who has since started work as a fitness model, said.
But while she is delighted with the accolades and the remarkable transformation she has achieved over the past four years, the devoted mother cares more about the example she is setting for her little girl.
After winning the coveted title of ‘Overall Bikini Champion’ at the Natural Bodybuilding Federation competition in October 2019, Ms Hudson was joined on stage by a visibly proud Isla
‘Someone contacted me recently asking how I turned my life around and I realised what really helped me was my daughter – I didn’t want her to look up to a depressed person,’ she said.
‘I wanted to show her that you can achieve all of these things regardless of what’s happened to you.’
And it seems six-year-old Isla is already recognising her mum as her biggest role model.
After Ms Hudson’s victory, the youngster rushed on stage to congratulate her with a huge hug and a smile brimming with pride.
‘I love her looking up at me with stars in her eyes and thinking, ‘my mum can do this and do it on her own’,’ she said.
Follow Kristel Hudson’s continuing fitness journey on Instagram here.