Sandra in February 2013 with her 5 year old son Cooper. A year ago she was almost 40kg heavier.
Sandra Soo knew that if she was to be an active, healthy mother to her two children, she needed to change her habits. Enter: 12WBT.
Sandra is good at maths – she’s a financial controller, it’s her job – but there’s one equation she only recently mastered. “I studied advanced maths but it’s taken me 40 years to understand calories in versus calories out – how to nourish my body rather than just eat,” she says.
A Common Story
Like many people, Sandra first started gaining weight when her routines changed. “I used to play netball and softball and indoor cricket when I was younger and at school. Once I started work, I stopped all my sport because I didn’t have time.” The weight crept on. A familiar story: a baby in 2007, baby weight not lost; another baby in 2010 and before she knew it, she was almost 130kg.
Sandra with an 18-month old Cooper back in 2008.
“My back would hurt when I got out of bed in the morning and I had issues with my ankles from the extra weight. My biggest fear was that I would end up not being able to move, not being able to get in and out of the car, that I would be at home all the time because I couldn’t go anywhere.”
Facing the Truth
Faced with a wardrobe full of clothes that didn’t fit, Sandra found herself creating excuses to not attend social events. It was one of these nothing-to-wear-scenarios that prompted her to think about the 12 Week Body Transformation.
A cousin doing the program invited her to the 12WBT Finale party. Sandra was dreading hunting for a cocktail dress that’d fit, so invented a reason not to go. It was one of the last excuses of that kind she made. Not longer after she took action to address her health. She knew losing the weight wasn’t going to be easy; but she also knew not doing anything could make life far harder.
On Hamilton Island in 2008.
Looking back, she now realises her children were missing out too. She’d avoid activities, like her daughter’s swimming lessons, because of her dread of putting on a bathing suit and a lack of energy.
“I kind of felt it was my last chance to do something. I mean I had done everything, every weight loss program and fad diet around. I had taken weight loss pills, tried everything on the market and nothing had ever worked.”
Meeting the Team
When Sandra signed up to 12WBT in January 2012, the task at hand was daunting – she had to lose more than 50 kilos to enter a healthy weight range. Her cousin gave her some advice that proved pivotal – join the 12WBT Forums and connect with the other people that had more than 30 kilos to lose.
The relationships she formed with the 30+ Crew proved crucial, she realised she could follow in the footsteps of 12WBT peers like Cathy, who at that stage had lost 30 kilos in just a few months.
These photos were taken when Sandra first signed up to 12WBT in January 2012.
“I knew I could be successful because I was watching all these people that were just normal people like me, doing it. I was beginning to understand that it could be done if I just stuck to the program.”
Her own goal was clear. She wanted to lose 40 kilos and be in a healthy BMI by her 40th birthday in August.
Discovering a New Life
Step by step, she changed her habits and lifestyle. She pulled the plug on her secret trips to McDonalds before work. Now her diet is packed with fresh, unprocessed foods and she jokes that she’s shedding kilos rather than losing them “because I’m never finding them again”.
Four Rounds of 12WBT later and Sandra’s lost 39kg in total, 21kg of that lost in those first 12 weeks.
Sandra, far right, with friends after weekend paddleboarding.
“When I first started I was a bit slow but I did what I could. I went and bought some Michelle Bridges workout DVDs and tried those. It was hard, I was slow, and it definitely didn’t feel easy.”
She now exercises six days a week and is a fun run devotee. She recently completed the Color Run with her son and has also done Run For Fun, Mud Run and City 2 Surf. She’s not stopping there, she’s always looking for new challenges. “Now I don’t ever think about not doing stuff. If something comes up, I will just go ‘let’s do that’. I don’t question it at all.”
Sandra with her son Cooper pre-Color Run and then after the fun run spattered with coloured powder.
The whole family is fitter too and regularly exercise together. “My husband and I are both over 40 and have young kids, we know we need to be in good shape to be around for them.”
A beaming Sandra photographed for a story in Women’s Day about 12WBT members.
If you were wondering, she did hit her birthday benchmark – she was 81kgs by her 40th – but it’s not all about the numbers on the scales. Sandra says the weight loss is secondary to what she’s gained from 12WBT. “I’ve learnt it’s okay to fail because it means I’m out there giving it a go. I’ve learnt not to give up because fun is in the journey, not the destination.”
Sandra’s Top 3 12WBT Tips
1. Connect with 12WBTers in your local area and do work outs with them. Those real world connections make a huge difference.
2. Stay connected in the Forums! One reason why 12WBT is successful is because you can find and connect with people in the same boat as you. The sharing of stories is important, if everyone was quiet and no one told their story it wouldn’t work. That community makes a huge difference.
3. Try inspiration boards. I made a deal with myself in my second Round that whatever happened, I wasn’t going to quit. I would do absolutely everything that I could to be successful; even if I was feeling cynical… I had never really believed in inspiration boards, and charts and things like that, but I tried them and they worked. It turns out I am a highly visual person!
You too could go from couch to Color Run, register your interest in the 12 Week Body Transformation.