FRANCES Abbott has weighed almost every piece of food she’s eaten during the past three months.
The daughter of former prime minister Tony Abbott made her debut as a “fitness model” at two bodybuilding events in Melbourne this month and has been cutting calories from her diet in preparation for the competition.
The 26-year-old personal trainer eliminated all processed foods, alcohol, sugar, most carbohydrates and dairy, sticking to a high protein diet with lots of vegetables.
She counted her “macro” nutrients — the amount of carbohydrate, protein and fat in her food — and adhered to a rigid nutrition plan developed by a trainer at the gym she works at in Richmond.
“I just really wanted to eat an apple,” Ms Abbott told news.com.au.
“I could have eaten an apple but on my nutrition plan … you get quite calculated with it all. If I ate an apple I’d have to pull back on my carbs at another meal and I wasn’t prepared to sacrifice that,” she added, acknowledging the rigid diet was not sustainable.
“It sounds very strange not to eat an apple, which has grown from a tree and is natural.
“Half of me is like, ‘You sound absolutely ridiculous,’ but if you have that goal you just suck it up for those couple of months or weeks and life goes back to normal. It’s not a sustainable way to live long term.”
The pilates and yoga instructor exercises six days a week, combining weights and cardio training.
During her six-week “shredding” phase, she did between 20 and 40 minutes on a treadmill or assault bike in the morning, followed by an hour of weights in the afternoon.
Ms Abbott is now “reverse dieting”, a term bodybuilders use to describe the process of gaining weight after weeks of restricting calories prior to competition.
“When I finished my first comp I had a big apple and went and had fish and chips with my girlfriends,” she said.
“On Saturday I went and got a poke bowl (a Hawaiian rice dish with fish and vegetables). I was so excited standing at the counter, I said, ‘My mouth is literally watering.’
“Cake is one of my favourite foods so one of my clients made me a cake, which I had on Sunday morning for breakfast. It was super indulgent. And then I just didn’t weigh any of my food that day.”
In the days leading up to the competition, Ms Abbott shared photos of her “very lean” frame to her 6500 Instagram followers.
Ms Abbott conceded her current “competition-ready” weight was not ideal and she planned to gain weight gradually over the next few weeks.
“Currently I’m very lean. In terms of sustainability, in terms of hormones and just general health, it’s not an ideal place for me to be long-term,” she said.
“You need to have body fat for your hormones, for menstruation, cortisol levels. In the last few weeks of comp I noticed I would all of a sudden be upset for no reason or I’d be freezing cold.
“I will slowly build my calories back up to a place where I can maintain a healthy body weight … function optimally, have good energy levels, be happy.”
After months of Saturday nights at home, or sipping green tea while her dinner companions feast, she’s ready for something different.
“I’ve been weighing my food for the past three months, I want to go out and have a red wine and just experience life,” she said.