Bright, bubbly and beautiful, Brodie MacPherson is proud to say she’s half the woman she once was.
The Sydney talent manager – sister of hunky actor and Ironman Daniel MacPherson – has shed almost 70kg and five dress sizes on her gritty four-year weight-loss journey.
Along the way, Brodie also gained more than 4000 social media fans in just 48 hours, after sharing inspirational before and after photos recently on Instagram.
‘Hopefully, my story will help other people,’ says the stunning 24-year-old, who now plans to run her first half marathon – ‘Maybe even a marathon,’ she laughs – in a few months.
‘I was a bit nervous putting my story online, but I posted it as a reminder that I must keep going to become the fittest, healthiest person I can be. And then it went viral
with more than 2000 likes!’
Brodie achieved her remarkable weight-loss success through two years of self-disciplined diet and exercise, eventually followed by gastric sleeve surgery to remove three-quarters of her stomach.
‘It was hard yakka,’ she smiles, confiding that her famous – and famously fit – brother was a constant cheerleader, like her other sibling Andrew, 33.
‘Gastric surgery is a bit taboo,’ claims Brodie, who currently weighs a trim 80kg. ‘There’s this idea that it is the easy way out for lazy people, but I couldn’t disagree more.
‘It’s a really positive tool that can assist you to reach your goal. A big part of my journey is to get people to understand that it’s not a simple, click-your-fingers solution. I dedicated four years to get to where I am today.’
At her heaviest, Brodie weighed 146kg and wore size 22 to 24 clothing – compared with the standard size 14 she easily slips into for New Idea’s exclusive photoshoot.
Like Daniel, 36, who freely confesses he was a ‘chubby’ child, she grew up overweight in Sydney’s surfing-mad Cronulla.
Suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome – a condition associated with increased risk of obesity – this could have been a recipe for bullying.
But as the baby of the close-knit MacPherson clan, extrovert Brodie say she’s been protected and encouraged by family and friends, including Daniel’s gorgeous wife, former Packed To The Rafters star Zoe Ventoura.
‘I was really lucky,’ she says simply. ‘There will always be that one person in the crowd who wants to be nasty, but I was surrounded by a really great, supportive network.
‘I’ve been overweight my whole life, until now, but I never thought I was monstrous. I never thought being curvy counted against me, not even when I studied and worked in Los Angeles for a couple of years.
‘I always felt beautiful at that size as well. Life’s too short to beat yourself up, thinking you’re not good enough because you’re not a size eight!’
So what finally prompted her amazing weight-loss odyssey?
‘I just woke up one day and decided: “You know what? I have to do something about this.” I wanted to live life to the full and experience as much as I could.’
Finding a personal trainer online, she embarked on a strict exercise regimen, working out at dawn, five days a week, for two years. Sometimes it was tough, but her motivation was never self-loathing.
Brodie simply told herself how much she loved her body and how much better it would feel after lifting weights or attending a cardio or spin class.
With extra help from a nutritionist and psychologist, and following a low-carbohydrate diet, her weight slowly dropped 20kg – but plateaued at 126kg.
‘Surgery was never the first option. It was the last option,’ she explains.
‘I’d put in an enormous effort, but when you weigh 146kg, it doesn’t make that much difference when you lose 20kg. People just ask if you have had a haircut, or say you look fresher.
‘If I’d been smaller at the start of my journey and lost the same amount, I would have been wearing a size eight!’
A gastric sleeve operation in November 2014 was the solution. It certainly wasn’t pleasant, since she was unable to eat solid food for four months.
‘But I knew I was doing it for my health and for my life,’ smiles Brodie, who is now investigating further surgery to remove loose skin on her stomach, arms and thighs.
She’s committed to keeping the weight off by continuing an exercise regimen and enjoying everything in moderation.
‘Ask anyone who knows me,’ she smiles. ‘They’ll tell you how much I love chocolate!’
By Jenny Brown
Photo: Jason Ierace