For a lot of people who lose a drastic amount of weight, there is one pivotal moment which forces them to change.
For Caitlin Pettigrew, that moment came when her best friend asked her to be her bridesmaid.
‘I remember my dad saying: “You’re not going to be that fat bridesmaid, are you?”,’ Ms Pettigrew told Daily Mail Australia.
The 27-year-old from Townsville in Queensland then resolved to do something about her weight – which she had been putting off for years thanks to a lack of self-confidence.
She promptly quit her 25 cigarettes a day and sugar habit, and lost 49 kilograms in the process.
Caitlin Pettigrew, 27, from Queensland (pictured before and after), shed an impressive 49 kilograms during two separate 12-week challenges
Ms Pettigrew (pictured right) spoke to FEMAIL about her incredible weight loss, sharing her tips and the fact that she has since given up smoking a packet of cigarettes a day
Ms Pettigrew’s weight loss started when she was asked to be a bridesmaid for her best friend – her dad asked her whether she was going to be the ‘fat bridesmaid’ (pictured before and after)
Ms Pettigrew explained to FEMAIL that her first step in her incredible weight loss journey was to get a personal trainer:
‘I joined Genesis Fitness Club and remember on the first day struggling with getting up the stairs to get into the gym, I was that unfit,’ she said.
‘I was at a stage in my life where I needed to do something because I was anxious. I had stopped going to social events because I felt so uncomfortable in my skin.
‘I had lost a lot of myself in the weight gain. I knew I needed to change.’
When she first signed up to Genesis, Ms Pettigrew said that her PT recommended she try their 12-week Your New Beginning Challenge, which runs each year from February:
‘I had a deadline of September for the wedding, so it worked perfectly,’ Ms Pettigrew said.
‘I knew I had to take it seriously, so I became really strict with myself.’
In order to lose the weight, Ms Pettigrew set herself many goals – these included to walk 10,000 steps a day and to give up sugar and cigarettes (pictured before and after)
She joined Genesis Fitness Club and competed in their 12-week body transformation challenge (pictured before and after)
Ms Pettigrew (pictured with her brother) said that while giving up smoking and sugar was difficult at first, she soon saw the results on her waistline
CAITLIN’S TOP TIPS FOR WEIGHT LOSS
* Make small changes and repeat them; implement them as part of your routine.
* Think about what your life will look like once you’ve made those changes and repeat them.
* Look at what will work for you on an individual level. If you like walking, walk. If you prefer group activities do them.
* As someone who liked structure, Ms Pettigrew explained that meal prepping was really good for her.
* Be strict with yourself – you’ve had a lifetime of morning teas is what Ms Pettigrew told herself.
* Get in touch with what your body needs.
* Move more. Ms Pettigrew made sure she walked 10,000 steps at least each day.
* Allow yourself the odd cheat meal in order to stay balanced.
* Transform yourself from a no into a yes person. Make sure you get things done.
* Keep yourself accountable by keeping a food diary of everything you eat.
* Go cold turkey on things you’re addicted to. For Ms Pettigrew, this was sugar and cigarettes.
By strict, Ms Pettigrew said she meant that she cut out the ‘few drinks’ she enjoyed after work each evening, as well as the sugar, ‘fast food’ and ‘carby meals’ she ate on a daily basis.
‘I also smoked 25 cigarettes each day and I knew I had to cut these out,’ she said.
‘Instead, I took up walking for 30-45 minutes each day, making sure I reached 10,000 steps. I also saw my PT three times a week and did three bootcamp sessions.’
Before she knew it, the 27-year-old medical receptionist was seeing results. By week three or four of the challenge, she said she could see physical changes in her body.
Ms Pettigrew also said that she felt much better.
‘I loved being accountable and keeping a food diary,’ she said.
‘I also really enjoyed doing all the meal prepping at the beginning of the week and relying on it. I knew I was busy at work and so everything needed to be in place to stop me from falling off the wagon.
‘I went cold turkey on sugar and cigarettes too. It was hard at the beginning – I had really weird dreams and headaches and was tired all the time.
‘But by the time I got into week three or four, I was feeling so much better. As the weight came off me, so too did layers of myself. I started to look at myself differently.
‘Why had I treated my body so badly for so long? I needed to change; I’d had a lifetime of morning teas.’
‘Why had I treated my body so badly for so long? I needed to change; I’d had a lifetime of morning teas,’ she told FEMAIL (pictured before and after)
At the end of her first 12-week challenge, Ms Pettigrew had lost an impressive 27 kilos, taking her weight from 116.7 kilograms to a lean 89.7:
‘I remember feeling so much more self-confident at the wedding and feeling good for the first time in years,’ she said.
‘I was so excited to see what the new Caitlin looked like.’
But after she finished the challenge in June last year, Ms Pettigrew still felt she had more to go.
And so, she signed up for the same challenge this year – losing another 22 kilos in 12 weeks and taking her weight down to what it is now – 69.8 kilograms:
I used to deal with my emotions and addictions by feeding them with sugar or cigarettes
‘I used to deal with my emotions and addictions by feeding them with sugar or cigarettes,’ she said.
‘Now I look at exercise as my sanity. It’s my release.’
Speaking about her tips for others who want to shed fat, Ms Pettigrew said you need to ‘make small changes and repeat them’.
‘Think about what your life will look like once you’ve made a change and implement it, then get used to it,’ she said.
‘It’s also important to look at what will work for you. If you’re someone who likes walking, walk. If you’re someone who thrives in group activities, do that.
‘Some people would get bored eating the same lunch every day and meal prepping, but it worked for me. It has to be individual. Get in touch with what your body needs.’
At the end of her first 12-week challenge, Ms Pettigrew had lost an impressive 27 kilos, taking her weight from 116.7 kilograms to a lean 89.7 – she now weighs 69.7 after a second challenge
Nowadays, the 27-year-old is focusing on toning, and she said she is still a reformed smoker and sugar addict:
‘I’m less strict with myself and can enjoy a cheat meal once or twice a week,’ she said.
‘But I no longer smoke or have sugar. I am much more balanced.’
Most importantly, Ms Pettigrew said she’s learned to become the ‘yes’ person she once was:
‘I had lost so much of myself I’d become a no person and I turned down every social invite,’ she said.
‘It’s all about making that transition from no to yes. Did I go to the gym? Yes. Did I meal prep? Yes. Did I go to that event? Yes. I’m a new person,’ she said.
To find out more about the Genesis Fitness Club’s Your New Beginning Challenge, click here.