Now. Cate Monigan /

By Liana Jacob

MEET the woman who used to eat herself sick until she was told she was on the verge of becoming diabetic which spurred her to change her lifestyle to lose a shocking nine-stone nine pounds in just a year-and-a-half.

Family services specialist, Cate Monigan (25), from New York, USA, was always overweight growing up, despite trying to diet from the age of eight. While her mother would try to encourage her to eat healthily, she would always secretly take food to her room and overeat. This extreme lifestyle led her to reach a peak weight of 21st 3Ibs and a UK size 26 to 28.

Before. Cate Monigan /


It wasn’t until early 2017 when she was told by her doctor that she was pre-diabetic, which causes her blood glucose level to increase higher than normal but not as high as those with type two diabetes, and had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), that she realised the seriousness of her health. In February 2017, she made the decision to have vertical sleeve gastrectomy, where a large part of the stomach is removed to reduce its size. Her weight shrunk to a healthy size of 11st 8Ibs and a UK size of 10 to 12.

PCOS is a condition which impacts how a woman’s ovaries function. The three main features are; irregular periods, an excess of the steroid hormone androgen, and polycystic ovaries.

Before. Cate Monigan /


“I have been overweight for most of my life. My first diet was age eight – It failed. I remember being twelve and my mum suggesting that I talk to my aunt about joining Weight Watchers with her,” Cate said.

“My mum always tried to push me towards healthy choices, but I always snuck food into my room, and would eat myself sick.

Before. Cate Monigan /


“I struggled so badly with my body image. I essentially grew up with others telling me how to modify my body, and why.

“Everyone had the best of intentions, but it took its toll on me. I never saw my body as anything good or beautiful. I saw my body as a monster I had to try like hell to get away from.

“I was so unhealthy. I was pre-diabetic and I had PCOS – which is common in women who are overweight, but it’s hard to manage and contributes to remaining overweight.

Before and after. Cate Monigan /


“I was staring at blood work that was telling me I was 0.2 away from being a diabetic, my thyroid was out of control with medication.

“Mentally, my mind was a mess. I was in such a bad place that I couldn’t fathom continuing the way I was living.

“I needed to make a change that would be permanent, because the yoyo dieting wasn’t working anymore, my health was out of control, and I was sad all the time.

Now. Cate Monigan /


“I had a vertical sleeve gastrostomy and it was the single best decision I could have ever made for myself. I’ve lost approximately nine-stone four pounds since my highest known weight.

“That will change anyone’s life, and mine’s changed dramatically. I feel better in my own skin. I’m so much more active, and I say ‘yes’ to things I would have probably said no to before.

“I feel better about myself overall, and I think that that allows for more positive relationships. I can wear the clothes I want and feel good in them. I feel like I’m becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be.”

Now. Cate Monigan /


From previously overeating, Cate has now adjusted herself to following a low carbohydrate and low/no sugar diet, as well as incorporating five to six exercise sessions a week, focusing on high intensity interval training cardio.

The reactions from her peers have proven to be a difficult bi-product of her successful weight loss journey, but she says she has also been receiving a lot of support from strangers.

“The hardest thing was probably the backlash I got from some people about how I chose to lose it. I got it from people I didn’t anticipate having to explain my reasoning to,” she said.

Before and after. Cate Monigan /


“That was truly challenging. However, the support system I did have was incredible. As far as complications from surgery, I had zero problems.

“I get told that I look great, and when people ask how I tell them I had surgery, and I tell them about my diet and exercise modifications.

“I’ve had some people that I haven’t seen in a while not recognise me, and then not believe me when I tell them it’s me.

Before. Cate Monigan /


“You have to make a conscious decision to want to change and want to do something different, something better.

“If it’s surgery, or a plan like Weight Watchers, or consulting with a physician, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you’re doing it for you.

Now. Cate Monigan /


“A little bit of progress and work every day goes a very long way. When you look back in a month, you’ll surprise yourself.”

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