After British expat Cat moved to Australia, she was lonely in her new homeland. “I was miserable – physically and mentally sick,” she says. “I was in this amazing country with so much new stuff to explore, and with the weather and the opportunity to be outside a lot more than in the UK, but I didn’t want to leave our home: I was so ashamed and self-conscious because of the way I looked.”
A New Country
She knew she was missing out (and her husband was missing out, too) – her days consisted of going to work and then coming home and hiding from the world, using food to comfort herself, and gaining weight.
The new year was fast approaching, and Cat decided that was the perfect time to make a change. She saw an ad for 12WBT pop up on Facebook and did her research – this was the resolution for the new year that she was looking for.
“Michelle seemed to have a reputation for getting results consistently, so I figured she might just know what she was talking about!” Cat says. “Clearly what I’d been doing in the past (so many fad diets!) hadn’t worked, so it was time to listen to someone who knew more than me. I HAD to make this work. I didn’t want to consider how I’d feel or what I’d do if I failed.”
Living the 12WBT Values
Cat threw herself into the program head first, living and breathing 12WBT for the first six months. She joined the 30+ Crew on Facebook, feeling comfortable because it allowed her to be anonymous, and sought advice from people who’d had success from the plan. “I joined in – something I hadn’t done for a very long time,” she says.
To give herself the best start, Cat stuck to the 12WBT Meal Plans to the letter. Planning ahead was crucial to make sure she was set up for success – even when events could potentially throw her off track.
“I made sure I had a plan A (and often a plan B and C) to get me through. I did big cook-ups at the weekend and we bought a small chest freezer so that I always had 12WBT meals on hand for times when I found myself unable to cook or if I needed a packed lunch at short notice,” Cat says. “I made sure I always had a healthy snack in my handbag too, in case a mealtime had to be moved or I found myself in a situation where I didn’t have a healthy option.”
She also got her husband on side. “This was hugely helpful, as I wasn’t cooking tempting things for him or having to go to the effort of cooking two meals each time.”
Making a Move
After not exercising for a long time, Cat was nervous about getting moving, so she took things slowly. “I didn’t start using the 12WBT Exercise Plans until my third Round. For the first two Rounds I walked on a treadmill,” she recalls. “I bought one in the new year sale and put it in our bedroom. Every day I made sure I walked for an hour. I’d watch TV on my iPad to pass the time.”
By her third Round Cat’s confidence had increased, and she was ready to try running – and this time she ventured outdoors. “It was early in the morning though, so no one would see me! I also joined a gym and got a personal trainer to help me.”
Cat previously thought she ate quite healthily, but she soon realised her portion sizes had been far too big and no amount of salad at dinner time would make up for the whole packet of biscuits she ate (often in secret) in the evening.
“I ate when I was lonely and I ate when I was upset – which was pretty much the whole time. The saying in our house was that ‘an open packet of biscuits was an empty packet of biscuits’. I’d eat whole family-sized blocks of chocolate in one go and then feel awful (emotionally and physically) and then I’d eat some more to make me feel better. Totally nuts when I think about it now!”
Sticking to the Program
How did Cat turn her eating habits around? She simply stuck to the 12WBT program. “I’d heard people in the Forums and on Facebook say, ‘Just follow the plan, it works.’ That became my mantra. I was very single-minded.”
She got organised and took her own lunches to work. If she ate out Cat made sure she planned ahead, checking out the menu online and making her choices beforehand.
“I’ve always loved food and on every other ‘diet’ I’ve tried, I felt deprived and short-changed. I was hungry and eating bland, tasteless things, despite them often being full of additives. The food on 12WBT isn’t like that at all. Much of it is as tasty as meals you’d eat in a restaurant but not complicated to make. I didn’t realise how quickly I could re-educate myself to gain pleasure from fresh, simple and healthy foods.”
Ditching Old Thinking
By taking the pressure off herself, Cat was able to make long-term changes. “I was always ‘all or nothing’ about previous changes in eating habits but I learnt that this was one of the reasons I was so hard on myself and, consequently, miserable. One ‘off’ day doesn’t mean it’s all ruined. One bad meal or missed workout doesn’t mean you’ve undone all your hard work. One slip does not make you a bad person; it simply means you’re human.”
Her advice to others? “Join in! Even if you’re feeling nervous or out of place. Sharing a bad experience makes it easier to bear. Sharing a good experience makes it better!”
Weight Loss: 35kg
Time Taken to Lose Weight: 10 months
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