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Women In Wellness: Q&A With Lily Brady

Mar 05, 2024

This International Women's Day, join us in celebrating Lily Brady's (@thegirlwiththeniketattoo) extraordinary journey of resilience and self-discovery. From overcoming self-doubt to embracing her power, Lily's story serves as a gentle reminder of our innate ability to reshape our stories with courage, authenticity, and self-compassion. Let's honour Lily's journey of unwavering determination and heartfelt commitment to self-love, inspiring us all. 

CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY?

My journey started from the age of about 7 years old I knew I was overweight. It makes me pretty upset to think about now, realising how young I was to be struggling with my body image. I knew I was a lot bigger than my friends and sisters and it hindered my mental health in many ways growing up. I was embarrassed to go swimming, grew up listening to my small friends calling themselves fat, didn’t have a boy show interest in me until after school, I had men call me fat while driving by, people make comments about how pretty I’d be if I lost weight, people tell me “I’d never be small” or ask if I “really needed that snack”. Years and years of hearing things from others could have been enough to break me, but it was the things I was telling myself that were far worse.

At age 22, I was really struggling with my weight, at this point sitting over 100kg and consuming myself with awful thoughts. I’d tried every crash diet, I wanted diet pills, I wanted weight loss surgery. I was desperate for a quick fix, but not willing to do the work and change my lifestyle. One day, my mum called me upstairs and asked with help putting her shoes on. Mum had been diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s a few years prior and was starting to have trouble with things most of us take for granted. This really upset me, I realised what mum would give to do something as simple as put her shoes on - and here I am living in an able body and taking it for granted. I believe this day flipped the switch for me. I decided instead of being nasty to myself, for the first time ever I would try encouraging myself. Instead of dieting as punishment, I was going to do it because I loved myself and I deserved to be healthy and well looked after so that I could should up as the best version of me for the people in my life that I loved. 

I very slowly started making small changes that would forever change the trajectory of my life. I asked myself what a healthy person's life looked like, and I started mimicking it. I joined a gym that I would book myself into 3 times a week and treat as non-negotiable (once the habit built it didn’t take all long to start loving it and booking in 5 times a week), I started working with a dietitian, going for walks with friends instead of drinks, taking the stairs instead of lifts, learning about nutrition and how to best fuel my body. Most importantly, I was encouraging myself and although most days were perfect, I was staying CONSISTENT. For the first time ever, I kept going because I was focused on how good I was feeling instead of how I was looking. I was showing up for myself and doing the things I had told myself were important to me. 

I finally realised my “problem area” was never my tummy or my arms. It was my mindset, for not believing in me. 18 months later I had lost 40kg. Through this time I experienced many internal battles, but I knew now that my mind was strong and that they could all be overcome. I found that the more weight I lost, the more praise I got. I started putting my self worth on being smaller. I kept telling myself that I’d be happy once I achieved XYZ. All I had ever wanted was to be healthy and happy and when I finally got there, it wasn’t good enough and I needed more. 

I realised the truth is, if you are always chasing the end result and can’t enjoy the process, you won’t find happiness once you get there. Cue - lots more self awareness, uplifting and educational podcasts, chatting to a professional, vulnerability. I got myself to a mentally and physically healthy stage and in December 2019, I underwent surgery to have my loose skin removed. I worked 70 hour weeks in the lead up to be able to afford surgery. Another huge mental and physical battle. The surgery took over 6 hours, I had a tummy tuck, muscle repair, arm lift, breast lift/ implants, back lift. I was physically unable to move for a few days, spent a week in hospital and weeks at home with drains and tubes hanging from me. At this time, I realised how much I depended on exercise for my mental health and it had been taken from me. One thing I still had was my mindset. It was an important reminder to be ok with having time off from the gym, that it’s ok to rest but also to never take my able body for granted. 

It’s now been over 6 years since I changed my life, I’ve learnt so much over this time and I’m so grateful for all the lessons along the way. It doesn’t feel like a journey anymore but instead a lifestyle, I continue to learn more about myself everyday and make it my mission each day to positively impact someone else. 

WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL THE MOST EMPOWERED?

Being sure of my values and self worth makes me feel empowered. There is no greater feeling than believing in yourself enough to do something truely challenging and watch yourself succeed.  

WHO IS A WOMAN WHO INSPIRES YOU?

My mum. Madonna was only 48 when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Watching mum battle with Parkinson’s is devastating but so inspiring. Mum always says she is a fighter, not a sufferer, it couldn’t be more true. She started a non for profit organisation for people with Parkinson’s to do boxing lessons, has travelled the world for Parkinson’s congresses and connected with incredible people, made so many friends and helped so many people while simultaneously doing everything she can to help herself and always show up for the family. I am so proud of her and so proud to call her my mum. 

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS/ADVICE FOR WOMEN STARTING THEIR WELLNESS JOURNEY? 

Know your why. I believe understanding why something is important to you will make it a lot easier to follow through with. Ask yourself why it’s truly important and how it would feel to accomplish it. 

Create some goals. Write down some small achievable goals/ habits you can start to implement. Setting huge goals is overwhelming and you’ll want to give up before you’ve begun. When I say small I mean it. Once you nail one, add in the next, before you know it you’ll be slowly changing your lifestyle. 

Be patient and consistent. Creating habits takes time and consistency. Keep chipping away each day at small achievable changes but don’t give up. Consistency doesn’t mean perfect. The journey is different for everyone, take your time. Just know that if you stray from your goals, all it takes acknowledging how you can do things differently and moving on. Don't get caught up in an all or nothing attitude, one hot day doesn’t make a summer. 

Be your biggest fan. No one is going to do the hard work for you, you’ve got to be nice to yourself, you are human. Imagine yourself as a 10 year old. There’s 2 girls at school wanting to be your friend, one is encouraging, loving and thinks the world of you, tells you that you can do and be anything if you work for it. The other friend is always putting you down, tells you to give up before you start, tells you that you’ll never be good enough. Which friend would you want your 10 year old self to spend their time with? I know I’d choose friend 1, so WHY as adults do we talk to ourselves like the nasty friend? Change the narrative and change your life. 💕🙌

To continue following Lily's incredible journey, be sure to follow her on socials:

Instagram: @thegirlwiththeniketattoo