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The Program That Finally Changed My Mindset To Maintain Weight

Updated on February 14, 2015

*Please note that all the comments below are my own opinion. I am in no way affiliated with Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation or associated entities.

Table of Contents

1. Diets That Worked, Then Didn't
2. Finding the Michelle Bridge 12 Week Body Transformation
3. Preseason: Inwards Reflection and Tasks for Success
4. The Program - Choosing What is Right for You
5. Leveraging the Program Support
6. Other Reviews of 12WBT
7. How My Mindset Finally Changed
8. General Advice When Starting 12WBT
9. Video: It’s definitely a lifestyle, not a fad - Liz's 12 Week Body Transformation
10. Recipe: Beef Moussaka
11. Poll: What's Your Mindset?

Diets That Worked, Then Didn't

Weight Watchers, Lite & Easy, the Soup Diet - all tried and all had great results. Weight watcher taught me the 'value' of foods, i.e. a donut vs cup veggies. But I got tired of carrying around a little book to note all my points. Lite & Easy taught me portions sizing. But when I stopped, I realised I had no tools to cook for myself. The Soup Diet? Well that only really worked for a quick fix to drop a couple of kilos before an event.

In summary, the results never lasted. Within a few weeks or months I'd find myself back to where I had started from slightly overweight and uncomfortable. I'd be still eating well and doing some exercise, but I was always miffed about why the weight would slowly creep back on. Then, after my second pregnancy, I officially entered the 'obese' category and was mortified. I was finding it hard to move, be active, feel happy and look after my two little ones.

Finding the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation

Back at the gym a couple months after the birth of No 2, I was in awe of another mum who after the birth of No 4 looked amazing. I'd heard rumours that she had followed an online program developed by Michelle Bridges and decided to investigate for myself. For those not in the know, Michelle was a trainer on the Australian version of The Biggest Loser. Skeptical about following a program by a TV trainer I did plenty of research and Googling - there are always negative reviews, but the majority of people who had completed the program seemed hooked... and not only reporting weight loss but had completely changed their outlook, keeping the weight off and going back for more!

Preseason: Inwards Reflection and Tasks for Success

The Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation (12WBT) starts with a 'preseason'. This involves approximate 18 different tasks over 6 weeks, before the program officially kicks off. The first two weeks are probably the toughest as it asks you to take a good inwards look and own up to the excuses that you have perhaps used in the past that have impeded on weight loss/healthy lifestyle. Together with videos featuring Michelle, it really takes you on a journey about your life and take responsibility for the future.

The interesting thing about these tasks is that although you go through the motions of doing them upfront, some of them (particularly the excuses task) may not be truly realised or understood until later down the track. For me I got it, while doing the task - but I really 'got it' a few months down the track. But there are plenty of participants that have also documented their 'light bulb moments'. Other tasks are not so reflective - but are about setting yourself up for success, like understanding good food choices and organising your exercise gear. It's all about changing your mindset and looking inwards rather than blaming outwards.

The Program - Choosing What is Right for You

Armed and ready, I had my first week's program - nutrition plan, exercise plan, recipes and to make it even easier, a shopping list! One of the great things about the 12WBT, is that unlike other weight loss programs, you can choose your level - I was still breastfeeding at the time, there was a program tailored for me, giving me a few extra calories a day to sustain me and bubs. Other programs include a 'move' program for people who have a lot of weight to lose, pregnancy, strength, running 5km to running marathon programs.

Gluten free, diabetic, vegetarian? Not a problem, that is catered for too. Meals are also seasonal; more salads during summer months and stews and soups during the winter months, which also gives you the best produce at any given time of the year. The food is along the 'clean eating' guidelines, easy to prepare for novices in the kitchen and the variety is amazing (not to mention delicious). First couple of weeks may seem expensive until you start to slowly overhaul your pantry and fridge. I also started to get a little smarter with breakfast and lunch choices to minimise waste.

Calories per day are allotted depending on program you choose- a basic female weight loss program will allow 1200 cals p/d whereas a 1/2 marathon program will allow 1500 cals p/d and a male on the marathon program will be allocated 2000 cals p/d.

The Food - Thai Fish Cakes

Thai fish cakes
Thai fish cakes

Leveraging the Program Support

The other side of the program which shouldn't be ignored, is the community and forums. Although I'm on my third official round now (I still follow the program when I'm not signed up), and find I need less support, in the early days it was great to have a group of people around me who were in the same boat, people I could ask questions to and people who could inspire me. I even joined a couple of private Facebook groups which helped me to stay on track. There are also events that are created by members and 12WBT staff, it may just be to participate at a fun run or just a get together.

The forums can help you stay strong when you may have fallen off the wagon. They are full of positivity, there is no naming and shaming. People on the forums that engage in conversation, truly wish to see you succeed as there is no end of encouraging words and a pick-me-up when you are feeling down or not achieving your goals.

'Mish' (as she is fondly known by the 12WBT community), posts twice weekly videos, podcasts as well as fitness videos, so you never feel alone. Of course there are also regular posts on social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Other Reviews of 12WBT

So, how does the 12WBT stack up against other programs? Choice rates it very highly as a complete online program, an article on calls it a 'cult', but acknowledges it gets results. Popular website Mamamia, personally reviewed the 12WBT after four staff members all undertook the program, and all with positive results.

Of course, there are always the critics, and various forums and posts outline their complete distaste, but in my opinion, these are the people that just couldn't change their mindset. Others complained that 1200 calories per day was completely unsustainable. For some it will be, but that's just because the 1200 allotment is to initially lose weight - once this has been achieved, you can up the calories to maintain weight.

The Food - Meat Pie With Mushy Peas

Meat Pie With Mushy Peas
Meat Pie With Mushy Peas

How My Mindset Finally Changed

It's been a little over 2 years now since I embarked on my first round of the 12WBT. I've lost between 15-18 kgs (sometimes I have an off season!), but in all I've kept the weight off. I now get it. Mish sums it up in an interview with the New York Times "Keeping weight off is a psychology."

I still follow the meal plans when I'm not actively signed up and I exercise approximately 4-5 times per week. Although exercise has not been a problem for me in the past, exercising as a 'routine' has been. 12WBT has taught me to 'just fricken do it' (JFDI). I've not actively followed the exercise programs, as I'm fairly much aware of what I need to do, but I've gone from never running to participating in 8km, 10km and 14km fun runs! I don't 'love' running, but I 'love' the benefits, and I love getting better at it.

My light bulb moment happened when I finally understood that 'diets' don't work. It's about working everyday to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Video: It’s definitely a lifestyle, not a fad - Liz's 12 Week Body Transformation

General Advice When Starting 12WBT

  • Don't be daunted by the exercise, build up over time and you'll get to appreciate the benefits. Weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. Once the initial weight falls off, it's much easier to participate in exercise.
  • You are not going to have to eat 1200 calories per day for the rest of your life, but you will need to watch your calorie intake and ensure that you eating enough so your body is fueled not overfed - portion control is super important and that has been one of my light bulb moments. After a while of maintaining a reasonable calorie intake, you'll actually find it difficult to overeat.
  • Love eating fresh and clean! I've not written much about the food, except that most of it is super delicious and easy to prepare.
  • You get out of it what you put in. You need to do the work, don't expect someone else to do it for you. Only your mindset will dictate your outcome.
  • Finally, understand that a diet is a short term fix. 12WBT is a long term healthier and happier lifestyle choice.

Recipe: Beef Moussaka

Recipe is available from the 12WBT website:
Recipe is available from the 12WBT website: | Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 45 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: Serves 2


  • 1g Olive oil spray
  • 1/2 Onion (73g), finely chopped
  • 1 Clove Garlic (3g), finely chopped
  • 120g Lean Beef Mince
  • 1tbs Tomato Paste (20g)
  • 1tsp Dried Oregano (0.5g)
  • 1 Potato (166g)
  • 1 Eggplant (325g), cut into 1cm slices
  • 1tbs Plain Flour (12g)
  • 3/4 cup Low Fat Milk (180g)
  • 25g Low Fat Tasty Cheese, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Spray a saucepan with oil and heat over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until soft. Add mince and cook, stirring to break up lumps, for 3 minutes or until browned.
  2. Stir in tomato paste, oregano and 2/3 cup (160ml) water. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce is slightly reduced.
  3. Meanwhile, cook potato in boiling water for 10 minutes or until just tender. Drain and set aside to cool slightly. Cut into 5mm slices.
  4. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Spray eggplant with oil. Cook for 5 minutes each side or until tender and golden (I actually lay the eggplant on a tray, spray with oil and pop in a moderate oven for approximately 20 minutes).
  5. Combine flour and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Place milk in a saucepan and whisk in flour mixture. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until sauce boils and thickens. Stir in cheese and season with freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Arrange potato in a single layer over base of a 3 cup (750ml) capacity baking dish. Spread mince mixture over and top with eggplant, overlapping slightly. Pour white sauce over. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden on top.
Nutrition Facts
Calories 323
Calories from Fat81
% Daily Value *
Fat 9 g14%
Saturated fat 4 g20%
Carbohydrates 27 g9%
Sugar 12 g
Fiber 6 g24%
Sodium 230 mg10%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


Cast your vote for 12WBT Beef Moussaka

Poll: What's Your Mindset?

What's your thought of a healthy lifestyle?

See results

© 2014 FionaD


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