A self-confessed couch potato, Kathy McDowell, never thought she would swap her couch for running shoes - until she enlisted the help of The Biggest Loser Club.
Losing an impressive 35kg, today Kathy spends less time sitting and more time competing in triathlons and marathons.
The 40-year-old nurse and mum from Winmalee, NSW, weighed a hefty 102kg and was wearing size 20 before joining the online weight loss program. In just over a year, Kathy has dropped to a fit and healthy 67kg and she has developed such a strong passion for running that she is planning to open her own personal training business named, ‘Fat Chicks Can Run’.
Before joining the Biggest Loser Club, Kathy tried to manage her weight for 20 years, and like many disillusioned dieters, she used a variety of weight loss programs and diets.
“I’d lose a few kilos then put it all back on,” said Kathy.
As a nurse, Kathy always knew that a combination of a sensible diet and exercise was the best way to achieve a healthy weight.
“But I had some stupid ideas about what exercise actually was. I thought walking around at work was exercise,” laughed Kathy.
“I used to sit on the lounge eating hot chips watching shows like The Biggest Loser, but I was heavier than all of them. Even a walk to the letterbox would make me puff.”
Although she spent years trying to drop the weight, Kathy finally found true motivation after undergoing a hysterectomy.
“My life changed unbelievably. I was a lot happier, I wasn’t so run down and I didn’t have a week out of every month taken up with my period. Everything was just so much better – it still is,” said Kathy.
Feeling more energised and with a more positive mindset, Kathy took some inspiration from the show and got off the couch. She joined the Biggest Loser Club and hired a personal trainer to help with her exercise. The rest, she said is history.
For Kathy, using The Biggest Loser Club was easy to use compared to other weight loss programs she had tried, especially the mobile site.
“The calorie tracker told me how much to eat each day, which was exactly what I needed. Before I had no concept of portion control, I just ate. But with the mobile diary I could keep track of my calories throughout the day instead of waiting until I got home to enter the details.
“I also loved the weight loss chart. It gave me a real sense of achievement and kept me motivated. And the menu plans were fantastic. There were so many great options even my husband liked them,” said Kathy.
“My typical daily menu consists of oats and coffee for breakfast, then fruit for morning tea, a tuna salad for lunch and more fruit for afternoon tea. After a workout, it’s a protein shake before dinner, which is usually a chicken salad followed by Greek yoghurt with a trail mix.”
Kathy admitted that starting out with her personal trainer was a little awkward at first.
“Here’s a nice, fit, young guy telling a fat woman what to do. It was embarrassing. I didn’t like it all to start with, but he was really good at handling it. He would send a reminder the day before and if I was feeling like not turning up, that would perk me up. He kept me focused,” she said.
“Now I work out about five times a week, including runs or gym sessions. I participate in triathlons, half marathons. You name it, I do it!”
Kathy’s new found love of fitness has also led her to a new career path as a personal trainer.
“I’ve just completed a Certificate III in Fitness and I’m almost finished a Certificate IV. Then I can be a personal trainer,” said Kathy who recently registered her ‘Fat Chicks Can Run’ business name.
“You don’t have to be a skinny chick to run – that’s the whole idea behind the business,” she said.
“Just the other day I did a mud run for the Cancer Council and I recruited 22 other people. These are people who wouldn’t usually think about running. I was really excited about that.”
“My life has changed completely. I can now buy clothes with so much more confidence. I don’t get puffed walking up my driveway or around the corridors at work. I used to sit at my desk all day but now I’m out and about and hardly there.
“I’ve gone from someone who sits on the couch to someone unable to sit down. I now run whenever I can because I can.”