Cathy On Losing Weight & Gaining a New Life

Community // Heather // 21 January 2013

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.


  1. Sarah Reply

    Absolutely incredible transformation, Cathy! I am so inspired by you – not by the change in weight & body (which is also pretty cool) but by the way you have fallen in love with your life.
    Move towards who you want to be, not away from who you are – what a beautiful piece of advice & definitely one that you’re living out! Thank you for being so fabulous

    Much Love, xx

  2. Mandy Reply

    Absolutely AWESOME work Cathy!

  3. Guinevere Reply

    Wow Cathy, I love the outlook you have. What an amazing effort 🙂 Thanks so much for the inspiration xxx

  4. RhondaZP Reply

    WOW! What an inspiration you are to everyone. Thankyou for allowing us to share in your journey.

  5. Sarah Reply

    Congrats Cathy! You are an amazing person and an amazing Mum! You have given your son more than you can ever know!!! You make the program seem very real. I am about to embark on my first 12WBT and am very nervous! Lets hope I can make an improvement and start on the path like you have! Thank you

  6. Josie Dean Reply

    Way to go Cathy!! Stand Proud!!

  7. Natalie Reply

    So inspiring Cathy. I’m almost finished with my first round of 12WBT and I know exactly what you mean about how the program has given you so much more than weight loss. My entire life outlook has changed. I’m so happy for and proud of anyone who has followed the program. It’s an achievement in its self to have followed through.

  8. sky Reply

    I’m about to start my first 12wbt. . I’m freaking out!! I’m so frightened of failure. I only need to lose 12kgs. . It’s very achievable but Im so worried about crumbling that it’s taking over the drive to suceed at the moment. I don’t like failure.. I MUST LOSE THIS WEIGHT.. I will lose this weight. Your story amazes me. If you can lose that much weight then surely I can lose 12 kgs. I need more stories like this 🙂 Once I’ve taken the first step.. I’ll be fine. Look out world!!

  9. Alison Reply

    You are inspirational!! What an amazing journey you have been on (and still are on)…..thank you for sharing it with us. Xxxx

  10. Pam Rossitt Reply

    Congratulations Cathy you are an inspiration…

  11. Natalie Reply

    I want to be just like you! Well done!!

  12. Sarah Reply

    Thank you for this story. All up I have about 50kgs to lose… a pretty daunting prospect for someone who is about to start the first round! I too and doing it for my baby girl (9 months) as I want to run around with her and in the future, run around with her kids! Bring on the start of round one!

  13. Lou Reply

    What an inspiration! You look amazing and your little boy is very cute:)

  14. Jacqueline Reply

    Awesome work!
    Love Cathy’s beautiful dimples in her cheeks, such a pretty face.

  15. Cindy Reply

    That video had me in tears. Being a solo mum of 3, you have truly motivated me to keep going, even on those days (like today!) that are so hard. You are so right….you can achieve ANYTHING! Congratulations, you are amazing 🙂
    And thank you for sharing your story. xx

  16. Jen Reply

    Wow! You must be so proud of yourself and I bet you feel just as amazing as you now look! Congratulations on achieving your goals.

  17. Leanne Reply

    Cathy you are just awesome nothing else to say just awesome

  18. Shirley Reply

    Loved reading your journey long may your love affair with yourself and life continue .

  19. Natalie Reply

    So amazing and inspiring!

  20. Laura Reply

    You look absolutely stunning! and it is amazing just what you have done! congrats!!! 🙂 <3

  21. Alison Reply

    Thank you so much, I have been feeling so nervous about how I will go with this journey…… You have given me a huge amount of inspiration, I CAN DO IT. I have about 70 – 75 kg to loose….. My children are a big part of my drive to succeed, they need their Mum!!! Once again THANK YOU xx

  22. Dolores @ A Labour of Love Reply

    So amazing, I can’t even believe that it is the same person in the before and after photos. The transformation in your face is amazing (and the body too). Such a gorgeous looking woman hiding under that fat!! I’m currently completing my second round of 12WBT and also love the new me.


  23. Danielle Reply

    Congratulations Cathy on your mega awesome achievements!! Your tips on how to succeed are fantastic, I’ve copied them out and put them on my fridge. Best wishes to you and your beautiful boy 🙂

  24. Jo Reply

    Awesome work Cathy.

  25. cathy sheargold Reply

    Thanks everyone. Life is good 🙂


  26. gayle Reply

    i literally had tears streaming down my face , this is the kind of power we can hide in ourselves without even knowing it. my boyfriend didnt understand that i needed something to reach for as in , i needed to do this journey for someone else not just for me. so my journey is for my kids too and my partner. they deserve me to be the best i can be , they deserve me to be there to see them become parents and grandparents. what a beautiful story , i too am on a journey , and one day my story will be bringing tears to others eyes, tears of hope and joy and determination

  27. Vicky Dimitriou Reply

    Just have totally transformed into a healthier, happier person & mum to your son.. good onya..
    Goes to show once your mind is made up you can do it….

  28. Fiona Reply

    Wow what an inspiration you are! You look fabulous- a completely different person. Keep up the good work for both yourself and Archie x

  29. Leonie W Reply

    Wow! What an amazing transformation Cathy. Your work in progress and positive outlook, while working super hard, is an inspiration to us all. Well done!!!

  30. Chelsea Reply

    Well done cathy that is amazing. I am always amazed what our bodies can do and how we can fix the damage that is done when not looking after ourselves. I am so proud of you and so happy to see you loving life

  31. Paul Reply

    Very very well done….. Cathy you are a hero…. To change, to turn around, to undo what you had done, to repent (means turn back around) to reverse… And make it stick.
    Keep going and show the world it can be done. I can only hope to continue my journey and achieve what you have. Many blessings on you and your family keep putting one foot forward and show your kids and us the way.

  32. Deane Campbell Reply

    Cathy you are truly EXTRAORDINARY!!!

  33. Diane Reply

    How awesome you are! And such an inspiration! Good on you Cathy x

  34. Noelene Reply

    Amazing woman. What a story.. Those wee babes can have such an effect. Such positive stuff. Tell your story often. Its a good one. I admire you. 🙂

  35. PinkChick Reply

    ‘Move towards who you want to be, not away from who you are’………….thanks Cathy for such inspirational words. As you say, waiting til you are thin won’t necesssarily make you happy, but leading a healthy and fulfilled lifestyle right now, can!! When there are other aspects of life that can improve, we can nurture ourselves by doing so. Enjoy every minute of your forward journey Cathy!

  36. Ruth Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story, Cathy. I am in pre-season for my first 12wbt and am just realizng that the secret to success is not a diet, but a focus on living and being positive and healthy. I had tears in my eyes reading your story because I am starting to realise just what you have gone through and how positive and uplifting that can be. Once again, thank you

  37. sharon Reply

    Congratulations on your inspiring life makeover. You are a remarkable mother and person and I hope your life continues to have wonderful things in it. x

  38. Chandelle Reply

    You are amazing.. I too have a similar amount of weight to lose, but I find it hard.. your tips are very good. I’d love to pick your brain on tips 🙂 well done!

    1. cathy lee sheargold Reply

      Chandelle are you doing the 12WBT? If you are join the 30+ crew on FB. It’s an amazing support group!

  39. Cheryl Reply

    Wow, what can I say! You are definitely an inspiration for so many women Cathy, You look very happy in your last photo’s and very beautiful!
    Forever Moving Forward!

  40. Debra Reply

    Great tips! What an inspiring story

  41. margd Reply

    That’s amazing,well done

    1. cathy lee sheargold Reply

      Thank you so much margd 🙂

  42. kelley Reply

    YOU ARE AMAZING!!!! I have tears in my eyes watching your story I have 3 children and the way I’m going I will not be around to watch them grow up! You are truly inspirational!!!

    1. cathy lee sheargold Reply

      Thanks Kelley! Sorry I just read this now. It’s really frightening when you have to face the fact that you’re slowly killing yourself, but for me that was the best thing that has ever happened.
      It meant I had to actually make the decision to live and Archie made that decision a no brainer 🙂
      I hope it’s all going well for you.


  43. Tanishaemaine09 Reply

    So amazing. That is awesome, well done. You are truly an inspiration

    1. cathy lee sheargold Reply

      Thank you so much Tanishaemaine09. It’s one of the really cool side effects of the 12WBT; when you commit to your life it seems to rub off on people a bit 🙂
      I have met so many incredible people through this program – I am inspired by them every day.


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