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Melbourne nurse transforms body and poor sleep with calorie plan

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A busy Melbourne nurse has revealed how she transformed her body by making a change to her food intake.

Jessica Ryan, 25, from Ringwood East, Victoria, works in the emergency department and is often run off her feet, rushing from one patient to another.

Because of the demands of her job, Jessica would find herself under eating and focusing too much on cardio-based exercises.

“If I ate something ‘bad’ like a burger or chocolate I would make sure that I went for a run or do some HIIT to ‘work it off’,” the 25-year-old told

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Jessica said it would leave her feeling burnt out at work and extremely fatigued.

Sometimes she was so tired, she would find herself napping for an hour after each shift.

“It was really bad and I didn’t correlate the two together [fatigue and under-eating] until I began to eat so much more.”

Jessica said her way of thinking had been going on for years, particularly after she lost her father to cancer in 2017.

“He was really into body building so I would train in the gym with him regularly (from age 16) and we used it as an opportunity to bond,” she explained.

“After he passed I gave myself some time to grieve before stepping into the gym again. I trained consistently for a year after his passing but struggled to see results as I never really had a structured program or paid attention to my nutrition.”

But everything changed in 2019 when Jessica reached out to NZ trainer and competitive fitness model Anjuli Mack.

“That was when the true transformation started,” Jessica said.

“I was very surprised to learn that food is fuel and it was literally impossible for me to gain any sufficient muscle with the amount of food I was eating at the time.”

Jessica, who is now consuming 2,600 calories a day, said she knew weight training was the way to gain muscle but had “zero education on nutrition”.

“At times my poor relationship with food would prevent me from enjoying meals out,” Jessica said.

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“I remember one time I went out for dinner and came home late but still went for a run on the treadmill to ‘burn off’ dinner.”

But her approach looks very different today.

She said while her daily food intake changes, it’s important for her to hit her personalised calorie and macro target (350g carbs, 150g protein, 65g fat).

“I will usually have something with fats and protein for breakfast, followed by a carb-filled second breakfast,” she said.

“I have meat and veg for lunch, usually a protein-filled snack with some fruit in the afternoon and more meat and veg at dinner.”

And if she can fit a dessert in it’s usually low fat ice cream or a serving size of chocolate.

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“I love that I am able to eat what I want without feeling any guilt,” Jessica said.

She also went from doing cardio every day to “zero intentional sessions”.

“At the moment training consists of two upper and three lower body parts per week. We focus on compound exercises with some accessory work and aim for progressive overload each fortnight (increasing the amount of weight or number of reps performed with good form),” the 25-year-old explained.

“I am also hoping to compete in a fitness model show next year so I am shifting more of my focus to my training in the gym for optimal hypertrophy.”

The Melbourne nurse said while it was tough at first counting calories during her transformation, it was all worth it in the end.

“It was really hard to stay consistent when juggling a mixture of day and night shifts and at times double shifts, but meal prepping and planning ahead really helped with that.”

Jessica said she began to notice benefits to her sleeping and energy levels just two weeks into her tailored nutritional and training plan.

She advised for anyone else looking to make a lifestyle change, to “get a coach and trust them”.

“It does cost money but getting a coach is an investment in yourself and it is the best investment I ever made.”

“Today I feel super confident and happy and I am more focused on how I feel, rather than how I look.

“Also, stay consistent. Transformations don’t happen overnight.”

If you’ve got a transformation story you’d like to share, get in touch with

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