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"My health and wellbeing has completely changed."

After completing Couch to 5km, Johanas ran a half marathon and now she's got Tough Mudder in her sights!

Johanna Castles

Name: Johanna Castles
Weight loss: 6.8kg
Was: 77.3kg
Now: 70.5kg
​Height: 175cm
Age: 28
How long it took: 5 months
How she did it: Online Coaching

Johanna Castles before and after

“I eat really well 80 per cent of the time so I can enjoy special-occasion foods now and then.”

I had my first light-bulb moment in my early 20s

I was traveling through Queensland with my friends. We were going for a walk and came across an outdoor gym. They all jumped on and started messing around with the equipment, but I refused because I didn’t want my friends to see me fail. Then when I was traveling through Europe, I refused to take any pictures of myself. I hated the way I looked so all of my photos are of places – I’m not in any of them, which is kind of sad. That’s when I realised my weight was holding me back from living a complete life – I needed to gain control.

I rejoined WW to get back to Goal

When I moved back from Europe I was more than 90kg. I lost a bit of weight on my own, getting down to 83.5kg, but I needed help to get to a healthier weight range. I decided to join WW as I knew others who’d had success on the Program. I reached Goal, but then gained a bit of weight back when I did my Masters last year, so I re-joined the Program in February at 77.3kg to get back to Goal.

My approach the health and wellbeing has changed

Thanks to WW, my approach to my health and wellbeing has completely changed. Before WW I thought a health kick was making a smoothie for dinner one night. Now I’m much more aware of the nutritional value of different types of food. I know how to look at a menu and find the healthiest choice, and I know what should be kept for special occasions. I eat really well 80 per cent of the time so I can enjoy special-occasion foods every now and then.​

I was the slowest runner in Primary School

When I was younger my parents used to joke that I was allergic to exercise. I was the slowest runner in primary school, I wasn’t very strong, had no hand-eye coordination and I daydreamed during team sports. But when I started WW I began exercising because the Program encourages us to move. It’s so much a part of my life now.

"Watching my fitness grow, and doing something I couldn’t do before was incredibly rewarding and motivating."

I was the slowest runner in Primary School

At first I started slowly as I was so unfit – I did a few at-home workouts using DVDs and YouTube, plus I started walking. Then I got the Couch to 5K app and I turned my walks into runs. Watching my fitness grow, and doing something I couldn’t do before was incredibly rewarding and motivating. I began setting fitness goals and working really hard to achieve them. When I first met my boyfriend, Andrew, 26, he had run a half-marathon and I told him that was one of my goals. We trained together and completed it earlier this year in Sydney. It was a huge achievement for me. Now I’ve got my sights on Tough Mudder. Having goals keeps me motivated and achieving them gives me a natural high.

Johanna Castles

My family has been a huge support

The support of my family has been so important. My mum is a runner and sometimes we’ll run together – she’s faster than me but I can run further. My dad is the family cook and he’ll make healthy meals for me and sometimes he uses WW cookbooks. My sister and I often work-out together – we do stand-up paddle boarding and yoga. And when Andrew and I had a longdistance relationship for a while, we’d meet up in places and go for long walks or hikes.

I've become more intentional

Before I used to just cruise through life and do whatever, without any real focus. But now that I know how to live healthily, it’s translated into other areas of my life, too. When I wasn’t taking care of my health, I wasn’t in control of my life. Now I know what I want so I set goals and put a plan in place to achieve them.

Johanna’s 5 tips to get to goal weight

1. Short on time?
Still do something. “When I don’t have time for a long workout I just google the type of activity I want to do (yoga or HIIT for example), and find a YouTube video to follow, even if it’s just 15 minutes. I also use the Nike training app and FitnessBlender.com for access to free workouts of various lengths. Something is always better than nothing.

2. Prep, prep, prep!
I set aside time on the weekend to prepare for the week ahead. I’ll throw something in the slow cooker and portion it out for lunches through the week. Or I’ll roast vegies to have in salads with some goat’s cheese. I recently made the moussaka from the magazine and portioned it up for lunch – it’s delicious.

3. Get active with friends.
I love meeting up with friends and going for a walk around the lake or climbing a hill – it’s a great way to catch up socially and squeeze in some exercise.

4. Remember the pros.
Dropping kilos on the scales or losing a dress size is exciting, but it can take time. I remember to enjoy the daily benefits of healthy eating such as not feeling overly full and feeling strong and physically capable – these things are rewarding day in and day out.

5. Be forgiving.
WW isn’t a race – there’s no finish line, it’s a lifestyle. So I forgive myself if I have a blow-the budget week and I try not to feel too restricted. I’m in this for the long-term to improve my health and live at a weight I feel good about. I’m not doing this for a quick fix.