Kathi's amazing transformation

22:14, Mar 10 2014
BEFORE AND AFTER: Kathi during the various stages of her transformation: At 144kgs in 2012, slimmed down pre-makeover and finally, a completely new woman.

30-year-old Kathi has been through a radical and challenging journey over the last 15 months - losing 67kgs as well as rediscovering herself.

Kathi was 144kgs in November 2012. She is on track to lose a further 5kgs, which would make her total loss half her original body weight.

It started when Kathi was seven. An asthma attack, coupled with laziness, led to a fairly sedentary lifestyle and weight gain. It all became a vicious cycle and one that hurt her a lot. Subconsciously, eating gave her a protective layer.

DOWNSIZED: Kathi shows off just how different she now looks and feels.

She was desperate to lose weight - she was in her 20's and restricted with what she could do - "it was debilitating".

She was so desperate she wished she'd catch some exotic disease to make her incredibly sick to lose weight! Not only does it restrict you from so many things, she was regularly hurt by people's snide remarks and stares; she was judged.

"I didn't want to go into my 30's as I'd spent my 20's. I was never alone but often lonely in the self imposed isolation that comes with debilitating obesity."


Kathi tried every diet imaginable and put up with the yo-yoing effect that resulted; her last resort was surgery. She had Bariatric surgery on 30 November 2012.

It has been life changing and she can't thank enough Dr Schroeder, his wife Andrea, and the rest of the amazing team at Surgical Obesity Services in Wellington.

She has wonderful friends and couldn't have done it without them either, but most of all, she wants to thank her beautiful parents and family for their support and loan to pay for the surgery.

"The scars of the surgery have well faded now, replaced by bumps and bruises from my attempts to roller skate and use a scooter - something I never would have done prior to losing the weight because I am a scaredy cat and increased weight on any strain you put your body can lead to broken bones. 

"Now I practice falling over on my skates. Yes, falling on purpose! I waddle around on them like a toddler learning to walk again. I'm hoping to improve my skills enough to be able to learn how to referee at Roller Derby!

"In the meantime, I'm loving officiating for Wellington's Roller Derby League, Richter City Roller Derby, and find myself travelling to support the girls and boys and derby across the lower North Island.

"I now swim in a bikini instead of shorts and a t-shirt, wobbly skin be damned.

"I have lost 67kgs so far, 5kgs away from being half my original weight. The sheer amount of skin left over is at least 5-8kgs worth and in about 12 months I intend to have abdominoplasty to remove it.

"Things haven't been easy at all. There is a lot of work that goes into weight loss, no matter what you do. I get mad when I hear Bariatric patients who say, "I can now eat anything I want, just in small amounts" which is NOT a healthy mindset. Sure you CAN eat anything but that doesn't help with the carb and sugar addiction that got you obese in the first place.

"I have amazing support structures. Firstly my family - without whom none of this would be possible. Secondly my online support - both the group of ladies I have stumbled across on Facebook and the "A post op and a doc" support team who do monthly interactive podcasts and have also visited NZ several times to share their support and recovery plans. Thirdly, my supportive friends, exs and boyfriend."

Kathi's older sister, who now lives in Australia, lost 50kgs during the similar period of time. Her weight loss came about after a huge commitment to herself and a healthy, balanced, active lifestyle. Between the two of them they've lost 117kgs. They're a great support for one another.

It's only now that the real Kathi is beginning to emerge, the gorgeous, bubbly, outgoing, playful person that she really is, the person that's been hiding for all those years. She's like a kid in a candy store, buzzing around wanting to experience everything for the first time. Magic.


- Bariatric surgery is NOT a magic bullet. It's hard work but worth it for every kilo. Mental work is just as important as physical change.

- Support is necessary but it's your responsibility to do the work.

- Asking for help is showing strength. 

- It's about dedication to the plan. You may slip off sometimes but you can always get back on whenever you choose.

Kathi experienced a full makeover including a drastic hair change courtesy of Kristina Raffaele Salon, stunning make-up and personal clothing advice from Gorgeous Me.

"I feel fabulous, powerful and damn sexy! I feel like a strong, sexy woman who can take on anything!"

Check out Kathi's transformation video below:

- Lisa Lyford is the founder of Gorgeous Me, a DIY personal styling guide that offers free personal styling advice, information and tips as well as makeovers of everyday Australasian women. Gorgeous Me: because every woman deserves to look and feel fab.