David at a wedding in January 2012, left, just before signing up to the 12 Week Body Transformation. Then at another wedding on the in April 2013, right, after three 12WBT Rounds.
David knew something was wrong with his life, but he didn’t know how to change it – until the day he discovered Michelle Bridges and 12WBT. Now David’s not only fit and healthy, he has discovered a new form of stress relief and left fussy eating behind.
Twenty-four-year-old David had never heard about 12WBT before he signed up for the program. In fact, until that day in January 2012, he hadn’t even heard of Michelle Bridges!
“I’d never seen The Biggest Loser, so I didn’t know who she was,” says David, who lives in Wollongong, NSW. “But one day, I saw three different Facebook posts talking about her and I thought, ‘Who is this woman?’”
David’s weight had been creeping up for a few years despite his previous attempt to get fit. After leaving high school weighing 102kg, he’d joined a gym and dropped to 82kg. “I didn’t do it in the healthiest way though,” he says. “I skipped meals and didn’t know what was healthy or unhealthy food. I barely ate any vegetables – the only one I ate was potato.”
A Life in Reverse
David thinks you need to keep your before photos as motivation to prevent you slipping. This photo was taken when he was at his heaviest.
Things went backwards over the next three years. “Suddenly I’d hit 110kg and weighed 8kg more than when I was at my previous heaviest,” says David, now 25.
By early 2012, he disliked seeing photos of himself. “I noticed I had this big double chin and I thought, ‘Whoa, when did that happen?’” he recalls.
When David saw Michelle’s introductory video on the 12WBT website, though, there was no hanging about: “As soon as I watched it, I thought, ‘Yeah, I’m joining.’ I signed up there and then.”
Sense of Excitement
He threw himself into the Pre-Season Tasks and wasn’t put off when he discovered he’d need to exercise six days a week during 12WBT. “That was a shock, but I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is actually going to work – no-one could do six days a week of workouts and not have results.’ So that just got me more excited,” he says.
David and his partner Michael started doing the outdoors program together, and despite his frantic schedule that included working full-time and studying full-time at the University of Wollongong, he cherished his daily exercise. “It was fun to get up early and go to the park or for a run,” he says. “And it was nice for us to have that hour together in the morning.”
David started with the Beginner Program for Round 1, 2012, moving on to the Intermediate Program for Round 2. That’s when he and Michael joined a gym because the weather was growing colder, and now he likes to mix things up. “We go outside for the cardio if we can and do the toning days in the gym,” David explains. “That keeps it varied.”
Changing Unhealthy Habits
While David followed the Exercise Plans to a tee, the nutrition side took longer to get to grips with, mainly because he’d been so “fussy” with food previously. However, once he got over that, he found the meals “amazing”.
“I’ve tried a lot of food for the first time since starting 12WBT,” he says. “My aversion to fruit and vegetables has gone, and my tastes have changed. I even got a mention from Michelle on Facebook because I’d posted on the Forums that I’d eaten my first banana. She wrote, ‘Big shout-out to Dave87 for having your first banana. Way to go!’ I was 24!”
Now, he’ll eat nearly every kind of fruit and veg (apart from melons!). “My mum’s shocked whenever I go to her place and say things like, ‘Where are the veggies?’ I just feel wrong if I don’t have them on my plate now.”
And contrary to what many might expect, he found fitting the program into his busy life actually helped reduce his stress levels.
“I had so much going on, what with working full-time and finishing my English literature degree, but it was great to have something completely separate from all that – something that was about improving myself in a physical and mental way,” he says.
Exercising has become something David does with his partner and also to let off steam.
David graduated at the end of 2012 and is now studying to become a primary school teacher. His Diploma of Education is a two-year course that’s been compressed into just one year, and now more than ever he relies on exercise to help him deal with the pressure.
“Exercise is definitely my go-to thing. If I’m stressed and don’t want to think about an assignment that I have to start and finish today, I’ll still go out for a run because I’ll feel worse if I don’t. It helps a lot.”
He lost 14kg in his first Round and a further 14kg in Round 2, 2012, ending up at 82kg. He wasn’t yet at his goal weight, but he decided to try doing his own thing and sat out the next two Rounds. Unfortunately, Christmas, New Year’s and a couple of weddings saw his weight creep back up to 87kg. And so he signed up for his third Round at the start of 2013, at the end of which he’d dropped to 80kg.
A Healthy Future
David with his partner Michael: ““Michael was quite skinny, and before we started the program he was a smoker and didn’t like breakfast,” says David. “Now he’s quit smoking and is eating so much more. He’s bulked up a bit, gained more definition and feels 10,000 times better than when we first started.”
Diabetes runs in David’s family and a doctor once told him he had to lose weight, so he feels relieved to have put his health back on track. And although Michael didn’t need to lose any weight, David says his health and nutritional habits did need improvement.
David feels a lot better about himself and appreciates even the little things that are new.
“I like looking in the mirror and thinking, ‘Oh wow, I have a jawline now.’ And one day I said, ‘Michael, what’s that?’ He said, ‘That’s your hipbone!’ I was like, ‘Hipbones. That’s amazing!’ Yeah, it’s the little things.”
David’S Top 12WBT Tips
- Alternate your exercise locations
Join a gym if you want, but also do outdoor workouts. Mixing it up will prevent you getting bored.
- Watch your portion sizes
You might be eating healthy food, but you won’t lose weight if you’re eating more calories than you’re burning off.
- Don’t be ashamed of old photos
As you lose weight, look at them and remind yourself that you never want to look like that again. Use them to motivate yourself.
- Trust that the program works
It’s your level of dedication to make a change in your life that will determine your results.
Challenge yourself: register your interest in the next 12 Week Body Transformation and commit to 12 weeks to change the rest of your life for good.