Jane Curnow spent decades 'single, desperate and drunk' as she battled addiction, but managed to turn her life around with a surprising new obsession.
Jane Curnow spent decades 'single, desperate and drunk' as she battled addiction, but managed to turn her life around with a surprising new obsession.

Incredible photos: 54-year-old's stunning shredded physique

In her early days, Jane Curnow would tip the scales at 55kg, but it was never enough for her then self-obsessed pursuit for the "perfect female form".

The now 54-year-old who weighs a healthy 65kg, was borderline anorexic (for her height of 175cm), suffered from depression and abused alcohol and prescription drugs - until she discovered bodybuilding.

Her transformation, which was sparked by injury in 2012, wasn't just about the physical form, but a mental one too where she had overcame adversity in changing her "punishing" thoughts.

"Having been a group exercise, cardio addict all my adult life, fuelled by self-punishment, vanity and my desperation to stay skinny, I suffered a hip injury at 45," Ms Curnow told news.com.au

 

Jane Curnow spent decades 'single, desperate and drunk' as she battled an alcohol and (prescription) drug addiction. Picture: Jane Curnow
Jane Curnow spent decades 'single, desperate and drunk' as she battled an alcohol and (prescription) drug addiction. Picture: Jane Curnow

"It was caused by excessive high impact cardio over a 20-year period, long days in high heel shoes and a malnourished body."

Ms Curnow had then discovered strength training which she said formed a major part of her recovery and transformation.

"It wasn't long before I realised that this is the kind of training fitness models do," she said.

And so it triggered a career she never expected - bodybuilding and fitness modelling.

However, while Ms Curnow said the journey to her now incredibly fit physique, washboard abs and mental transition didn't come easy, the challenges helped shaped who she is today - a mindset and lifestyle coach, author and mentor.

 

She suffered from depression and anorexia in pursuit of the ‘perfect’ body and life. Picture: Jane Curnow
She suffered from depression and anorexia in pursuit of the ‘perfect’ body and life. Picture: Jane Curnow

DRUG, ALCOHOL ABUSE AND BINGE EATING:

"People would say to me, 'You are so pretty you have everything going for you!' Really? I have the ticket to happiness? And I would slink away beating myself up even more," Ms Curnow said.

By her mid 30s she was divorced twice - at 21 and 32.

She explained how she felt "worthless" as she pressured herself to achieve the "white picket fence dream".

"Once again I was separated and divorced within 12 months," she confessed.

It was during her 30s when she discovered she had a binge/starve eating disorder, refusing to eat from Sunday through to Thursday.

"I also did three to five exercise classes on these days; always back to back classes on Mondays to punish myself for the weekend binge," she said.

 

But then she discovered bodybuilding which ultimately changed her life. Picture: Jane Curnow
But then she discovered bodybuilding which ultimately changed her life. Picture: Jane Curnow

"Fridays and Saturdays were generally the binge days and calorie overload to prepare for the drinking session at night which generally was junk food."

Her alcohol abuse would start at about 5pm on both days and would carry on to the next day.

After being diagnosed with clinical depression, she then found herself becoming addicted to four different types of prescription medications including codeine and ibuprofen and had attempted suicide twice.

"The alcohol and drug abuse was to dull the pain, distract me from my misery, give me the confidence to even be out in sleazy bars and bury the woman who clearly was the reason for my misery."

Ms Curnow said during that time she avoided the mirror as she couldn't bear look at her reflection.

"It only reminded me of my ageing skin, a body I hated, a woman who was a complete failure at life."

She had been addicted to cardio exercise for years in an attempt to stay slim, but when an injury forced her to change her workouts, she found a new purpose in weightlifting. Picture: Jane Curnow
She had been addicted to cardio exercise for years in an attempt to stay slim, but when an injury forced her to change her workouts, she found a new purpose in weightlifting. Picture: Jane Curnow

Having never partied in her twenties, she took the chance to live the wild life she had missed out on but it was taking a toll on her mental state.

Ms Curnow explained how she also became terrified of losing her looks which triggered another obsession - Botox - "and part of the driving force that I would not live to see 50 if my life circumstances didn't change".

At 35 she attempted to take her life for the first time and again in her 40s after several days in a psychiatric ward and several failed rounds of IVF as she attempted to become a mother on her own.

"I spent the next five odd years partying harder than ever," she said, and it wasn't until she discovered bodybuilding in 2012 that she finally began to turn her life around.

The fitness model, 54, had also changed her negative way of thinking and ideals of the ‘perfect female form’ to love and appreciate her ‘new’ self. Picture: Jane Curnow
The fitness model, 54, had also changed her negative way of thinking and ideals of the ‘perfect female form’ to love and appreciate her ‘new’ self. Picture: Jane Curnow

 

BODYBUILDING AND FITNESS MODELLING CHANGED HER LIFE

She had been addicted to cardio exercise for years in an attempt to stay slim, but when an injury forced her to change her workouts, the then-45-year-old found a new purpose in weightlifting.

"I honestly believed that achieving the perfect body and strutting around on stage was going to resolve my depression and emotional issues," she said.

"Seems comical to me now but I truly believed this was the ticket to happiness as too many women do."

But, the irony is that bodybuilding is an aesthetic sport and yet Ms Curnow said it literally saved her life.

She threw herself into the training and started working on her nutrition and saw her body begin to change for the better for the first time in years - learning how to love herself again.

She threw herself into the training and started working on her nutrition and saw her body begin to change for the better for the first time in years. Picture: Jane Curnow
She threw herself into the training and started working on her nutrition and saw her body begin to change for the better for the first time in years. Picture: Jane Curnow

"Yes, I achieved the body but this was not the only cause of my recovery as many think."

In her book, Finding Myself From The Outside In: Beating Depression and Debuting, Ms Curnow talks about how starting "backwards" helped her transformation.

"Every self-help guru (including myself) will tell you happiness is an inside job first. I wouldn't recommend going to the extremes I did to work this out and you really don't need to which is why I coach everyday women in mindset and lifestyle to facilitate their own transformation."

CHALLENGES DURING TRANSFORMATION

Training was for Ms Curnow was easy, however finding the strength to get up on stage was the hardest part.

"I even managed to adjust my diet and lifestyle. Although I went back to my drunken, party girl ways every Saturday night (which was cheat night) for nearly 12 months into my bodybuilding journey," she said.

"Looking back now I can't believe I committed to competing given how shy, introverted, depressed and broken I was."

 

In 2016 Jane competed in a bodybuilding comp on her 50th birthday and it was her declaration to the world that she was ‘fully recovered’. Picture: Jane Curnow
In 2016 Jane competed in a bodybuilding comp on her 50th birthday and it was her declaration to the world that she was ‘fully recovered’. Picture: Jane Curnow

But she backed herself into a corner and not wanting to let her coach down, she managed to transform herself from a self-described drunken, depressed, pill popping party girl at 40, into a confident, empowered, bursting with health, bad a** fitness model at 50 years young.

In 2016, Ms Curnow competed in a bodybuilding competition on her 50th birthday and declared herself "fully recovered" from the demons that had haunted her for years.

"If you had told me 10 years ago I was going to end up a fitness model I would have thought you were hallucinating," Ms Curnow said.

"It never entered my mind. All I wanted was the man, kids and white picket fence dream. I seriously have to pinch myself that I have ended up where I am today."

 

She now works to help other women work through similar struggles (she faced) by sharing her own experiences in the hopes it will help others. Picture: Jane Curnow
She now works to help other women work through similar struggles (she faced) by sharing her own experiences in the hopes it will help others. Picture: Jane Curnow

FITNESS ROUTINE AND DAY ON A PLATE NOW

When she is shredding for a bodybuilding competition or photo shoot, Ms Curnow is at the gym doing five weights sessions a week with increasing cardio sessions and decreasing calories.

She has six to eight meals a day however the calories can fluctuate.

"I am currently on 2,600 calories. Every meal contains 200 grams of protein, carbs are strategically placed for maximum muscle growth, good fats and unlimited veggies."

Ms Curnow is now allergic to most alcohols where she can develop chronic hay fever from the preservatives - she is also prescription meds free for three years.

 

View this post on Instagram

What is toxic behavior? I realized recently that we all see toxic behavior differently. If we see it at all. I know before my recovery I couldn’t even articulate it. Partly because my own behavior was toxic.. 🙄 But also because the behavior came with but I love you.. it’s only for your own good.. 💚 Since my recovery and regaining my self worth I am now VERY aware of what behavior I will & won’t tolerate. And I have the confidence to speak up when I feel a line has been crossed. I set and uphold boundaries. I have the difficult conversations. I will protect my mental health at all costs!! 💚 Can you recognize people in your life who are: 👉🏻 a drama magnet 👉🏻 manipulative & love the guilt card 👉🏻 needy & demand constant attention 👉🏻 critical, jealous & judgmental 👉🏻 angry & bitter 👉🏻 energy depleting 👉🏻 self focused 👉🏻 play the victim & take everything personally 👉🏻 ego driven, argumentative & always right 👉🏻 moody & unpredictable 👉🏻 a martyr apologizing constantly 💚 It’s not easy to deal with. I SO get it!! Particularly when it is family.. When it comes under the disguise of unconditional love it is the most damaging of all. I never realized how influenced I was. 💚 Stay tuned for my next post on further tips on how to identify & handle this delicate subject. 💚 💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚❤️💚 Want me as your private mentor so you find the confidence to deal with these difficult situations? Overcome the nerves to speak up? Set boundaries and maintain? With me by your side? One of the many outcomes my clients achieve in our 6 months together. Send me a direct message and let’s set up a time to chat! Or link in bio direct to my dairy to book a time 📞 I would ❤️ to support you! 💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚❤️💚 💚 💚

A post shared by Coach | Mentor | Fitness Model (@janecurnow) on

 

Her advice?

"Get a coach! The support I received and continue to receive from my mentors and coaches is a crucial part of my journey and achieving my goals. Clean up your diet and lifestyle and exercise," she said.

"Incorporate mindset techniques every single day."

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au. In an emergency, call triple-0

She had pent several decades struggling with everything from drug addiction to eating disorders, as well as a host of mental illnesses. Picture: Jane Curnow
She had pent several decades struggling with everything from drug addiction to eating disorders, as well as a host of mental illnesses. Picture: Jane Curnow


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