Cathy On Losing Weight & Gaining a New Life

Community // 12WBT Staff

There are lots of reasons why someone might decide they want to live a healthier lifestyle. For single mother Cathy, her motivation was a very small but very important person in her life – her young son Archie.

“I haven’t been at a healthy weight since I was a child, and I had a huge wake-up call when my father nearly died from health complications,” Cathy says. “It made me start to think about my own mortality. At just under 150 kilos, I was slowly killing myself. My future wasn’t looking very bright. I knew I had to do something if I wanted to be around to watch my little boy grow up.”

Cathy and Archie in September 2011.
Cathy with son Archie at the beginning of her first 12WBT Round in September 2011.
When you’ve got a lot of weight to lose, the thought of starting a health and fitness program can be daunting. Before she came across the 12WBT program, Cathy was feeling so overwhelmed and unsure of how to deal with her health issues she was looking into surgery.

“My father had actually offered to pay for me to have gastric banding surgery. Then one night I was doing a bit more research and came across the 12WBT.” She decided the program was worth trying with the caveat that if it didn’t work, she was going to have the surgical procedure.

When she started her first Round of the 12 Week Body Transformation in September 2011, she jokes she was so inactive she would have called walking to the fridge a work out, but she was determined. “Taking those first few steps were pretty scary,” she says. “I drove to the gym and sat outside for the first week before I had the courage to walk in. I thought that gyms are only for fit people and that people were going to judge me, but no one really cared.”

Archie gets involved in his mum's exercise!

Cathy’s son Archie ‘helping’ her train.

“It was tough. At first I trained with a Thomas the Tank Engine armband on my wrist,” Cathy says. “When I wanted to give up, I thought to myself ‘7/8/30’ – my son’s 21st birthday – and how I was going to do everything in my power to be there.”

Fifteen months and five Rounds of the 12WBT on and Cathy is literally half her size. But she says one of the main reasons the 12WBT has been so successful for her is that she never looked at it as a ‘diet’. Instead it was always about embarking on a positive lifestyle shift.

Cathy discovered during the 12WBT that she loves boxing!

Cathy has discovered a passion for boxing during the 12WBT!

“My life has changed in so many ways. The weight loss is probably the smallest change,” says Cathy. “For someone who has lost over 75 kilos, that’s a pretty big call: I’m a better mother; I no longer quit; I am happy; I am challenging myself; I no longer hide; I am not afraid of failure, and I am not afraid of success, either. I’m getting out and living life, rather than just going through the motions.”

Exercise has become an integral part of her life and something she looks forward to everyday. “I love boxing – not boxercise – I train with people who are actually training for the ring!”

Cathy at the Round 3 Finale.

Cathy, on the right, at the Round 3 Finale Party in Sydney.


A recent photo of a very fit Cathy and a three (almost four!) year old Archie.

While she has achieved so much since she started the program she says she sees herself as a work in progress and is always looking for new challenges. “Trail running is the other thing I love doing, this year I am training for Tough Mudder.  “I like exercise that challenges me both mentally and physically, taking on things that I am not quite sure I can do.”

“There have been many ups and downs along the way, but it’s exciting to realise that I am stronger and fitter than I have ever been in my entire life. I can climb mountains, compete in fun runs, play with my son and inspire others. I’ve always tried to remember that this isn’t about numbers; this is about life, because life is the best diet of all.”

Cathy’s tips on how to succeed when you have a lot of weight to lose:

  • Start today. If I had continued on as I was, I would be 20 kilos heavier, rather than 75 kilos lighter!
  • Instead of focusing on the large amount of weight you have to lose – it was 80 kilograms for me – focus on the small things you need to do each day to work towards your goal.
  • Life doesn’t start when you lose weight, and it won’t make you happy, so you need to set life goals as well as weight loss goals.
  • Make your goals huge and exciting. You can achieve anything you set your mind to!
  • If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. Bear this in mind when you are doing everything from exercising to challenging old habits.
  • Work towards where you want to be, rather than running away from what you are.
  • Ban negative thoughts and language. Use things that motivate and inspire you to push you towards your goals.