Michelle Bridges 12WBT 2012 – Review: Your Questions Answered!

I have just completed Round 1 2012 of the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation (12WBT).

I completed the same program last year and wrote my review HERE, so this time I thought I would answer some of the frequently asked questions that seem to come up a lot. I also asked YOU to ask me some questions, and ask you did. So here goes:

Q. I would love to know what is involved with the food!! Do you think kids would eat it?? I just don’t want to make different meals for everyone!! Did your kids eat it??
How much work is involved regarding exercise? I have 4 kids, 6,4,3 and 5 weeks so would be doing it around them.

A: The food is brilliant, and in my honest opinion it is the best part of the program. It is quite varied so you don’t feel like you are eating the same thing over and over again. There is a good mix of beef, chicken, fish and vege options – and LOTS and LOTS of vegetables! It really depends on how strict you want to be on yourself. I love following the plan to a T, and not having to think about what to cook. BUT my children would not have eaten many of the meals, so most times I did prepare two dinners – one for hubby and me, and one for the kids. Over time, I think it’s important that the kids learn to adapt to the new flavours and meals, but it was easier for me to just cook separately.

The exercise component is massive and one I failed at miserably. But here’s the key – for weight-loss, the secret is 80% diet, 20% exercise. So if you really feel like you would struggle to find the time to exercise (ideally you need about 1-1.5 hours per day), then don’t let this put you off. If you can’t follow the plan, be creative – use Exercise DVDs, skip in the backyard with the kids, push the baby in the pram after school drop off. I recommend a Heart Rate Monitor as this will help you find a good level of exercise and you can track your calories burned – which is what it’s ALL about! If you don’t want to lose much weight but want to tone up, then the exercise plan is really important to stick to. I have seen friends’ bodies’ change in front of my eyes to be beautifully trim and taut – but they stuck with the exercise every-single-day.

Q. I have just read your review from the last stint of 12wbt and I’m interested to know what has changed in the program since you last completed it? Any success with finding the time to exercise? Any tips for mums of little kids? I’m considering doing the program – and getting up earlier in the morning to find the time. And I’m also wondering about the food – I’m at least a 50 minute drive from a Coles, but have a small and ordinary IGA closer. Will I find it difficult if I cant get the listed ingredients?

A: There hasn’t been a WHOLE lot 0f change in the program. I guess the logistics are better – the printable menu plans “look” a little nicer but the concept is still the same. But the food is different (with some old favourites) which I was pleased about because I didn’t want to just repeat the last round in terms of food. There seems to be a greater emphasis on forum participation and lots of prizes every week – which is great motivation for some.

Look, there probably would be some foods that you might not be able to find at the IGA (hey there are some I can’t even find at my Coles!) BUT in saying that, I think that’s an easy work-around. It might just mean making a couple of substitutions here and there, and that is perfectly OK. I would say the biggest factor is if you can get fresh food and vegetables. If you are able to get those on a regular basis, then you’ll be fine!

Q. I am wondering what the mind set tasks are like? I know that is where I really need the help, to keep going when I really don’t want to and how to get rid of the negative self talk.

A: The mind-set tasks are really interesting. They encourage you to reflect on your habits behaviours and see how they have contributed to your weight gain over the years. The only real disappointment is that none of the program is personalised to YOU. So you may find that some weeks, you really GET the lesson, other weeks you may find that it’s not totally relevant to you (although they are very general so you can get something from most of them).

If you think you will have trouble sticking with it, my advice would be to sign up with a friend/mentor/buddy who will be your key motivator. Unfortunately, from the program alone, there is no-one to “pick you up” if you fall off the wagon – the responsibility is entirely on your shoulders. I think that is why the forums are so popular – it’s a great way to meet new people and stay accountable. And because everyone is in the same boat, there will always be someone to listen to your concerns and encourage you to keep going. But again, this is up to you – you have to be ACTIVE in the forums in order for this to be helpful.

Q: I was thinking of doing the 12wbt but am not sure if it is truly worth it.. we are a one income family so I don’t really want to throw away money that wont be truly well spent. Does it help you to stay on track? 

A: This is a really tricky question, because I know that it’s a considerable expense for many people, so it’s certainly a question that is in people’s mind. My short answer is…. Yes BUT only if you are really and truly motivated and ready to make the changes required for the program to be successful. This means committing 100% to the food (or food and exercise) plans and not deviating from the end goal.

It is no different to any other weight loss plan in that you have the ultimate responsibility in making it work. The tools are there, the support is available IF you ask for it, and the proof is in the pudding (so to speak), so if you have reached a point in time when you are absolutely READY, then Yes – go for it. It will be life-changing for you and probably for your family too. But if you are still in two minds, and not quite sure whether you are ready to go the whole hog, then maybe there are better (and cheaper) options for you.
The Michelle Bridges Cook Books are great and feature lots of the recipes from the program, so maybe you could dip your toe in the water that way, and see how you enjoy preparing and eating the food.

Q: I’m thinking of signing up soon but I had shoulder surgery in January, and am still slowly recovering.  The injury makes it difficult to do hard exercise which ‘jars’ the shoulder.  What was the exercise program like?   

A: There are a few different options with the exercise program, and they do vary to ensure a good mix of cardio and strength. As I mentioned above, if you are joining the program to lose weight as a primary goal, then just sticking totally with the nutrition plan will be sufficient. Then you could build on or adapt the exercise that you feel comfortable with (as advised by your GP or physio). Even just quick walking is a whole lot better than nothing, and something that I was often limited to when I had Lucy with me.


I hope this has been helpful and answered some of your question about the program. If you are truly ready to make changes to your life, and be fitter and healthier, then this program is right for you. Expect yourself to achieve success…and you’ll be amazed at what you can do.


  1. Thanks for responding – I’ve signed up and already feeling a little thinner :)

  2. Hi there… i know this post is a few months old, but i too am considering this program & with a tight budget i really want to make sure it will be money well spent… so i guess my question to you would be … would you do it again??? Thanku for this post, it has been very helpful.

    • Hi Juanita! My best advice is if you are prepared to commit to the food AND the exercise plan then yes, it is worth it and I would do it again. If you think you can only commit to the food at this stage, then there are probably better options available that provide you with a little more support. I hope that helps, and GOOD LUCK!!

  3. Hi
    Just wondering what the average weekly shop would be on the, program?
    I’d like to think I shop pretty frugally, and don’t overly want to increase our budget.

    Thanks for a great review!

    • Hi Luella, It depends on whether anyone else in your house does the program with you (eg husband) as if they don’t then you’ll be buying two sets of groceries which is expensive. You can skip some of the more expensive ingredients, and fruit and veg are usually cheaper than than processed foods. I hope that helps a little bit?

  4. Great review Nat!

  5. Hi there, thanks for such a comprehensive review. You didn’t say why you did it for a second time. We all know the stats on diets – that mostly they are only short-lived. Just wondering if you think this is another ‘great for 12 weeks’ program, but doesn’t really give you enough to be able to incorporate long-lasting change? Or do you foresee this is great for weight loss, but not for a lifestyle of keeping weight off?

    • Hi Tora – what a great question!!! I think it really depends on how you do it. For me, I was incredibly strict with the diet. I made no substitutions, and followed it all to the letter. So that when the 12 weeks ended, I was a little bit lost. Some people just go back and start again from Week 1 but that didn’t motivate me. So slowly over time, old habits started to kick in again.
      I think a more realistic way is to start to make your own choices towards the end of the program, and not be so chained to the program. The mindset lessons are great and this is really all about long-term changes. The exercise program is certainly not sustainable though. I hope that helps – and good luck :)

  6. Thanks Natalie.
    it was a great review. i have been thinking of doing this programe but i am concerned i will fail again. Do u think the forums are good to keep u motivated and on track?

    • Hi Nicole – I actually really liked the forums. It was great to know that you could go in there and admit you were having a bad day, and people would try and motivate you or make you feel a little better. Of course there are the hard core threads which is all about NO EXCUSES!!! … but I just avoided them ;) All the best with it!

  7. Hi, I have just started lite n Easy. Can I do the program 12wbt and stay on lite n easy? I hate cooking and preparing food, work and have two children (11mth and 2)!

    • Hi Anna! Hmmm that is a bit of a tricky one to answer. To be fair, I would say that it’s probably better to ditch the Lite n Easy – even if just for the first few weeks. The 12WBT program is very much about breaking old habits and forming healthy new ones and much of this is around food. I know it’s a lot of work, but a healthy lifestyle does usually require a little more thought and time to prepare. I hope that helps :)

  8. hi there.

    do you really think the women all dropped the dress sizes they said they did in just 12 weeks? or are some of them including additional months?

    • Hi Lee, I really couldn’t comment on anyone else’s experience. I’m sure many of the extreme changes occur over 2-3 rounds, however 12 weeks is still a realistic amount of time to make considerable changes. Hope that helps!

  9. Hi Natalie,

    I suffer from IBS and so consequently can’t have gluten. Did you have any experiences with the gluten free menu at all or was that it’s own seperate menu? If you did what did you think of those style of meals?


    • Hi Rebecca – I’m sorry I didn’t actually follow any of the gluten-free menus, so I’m not much help with that one.

  10. Thanks for answering so many relevant questions!! I will sign up immediately ;)

  11. What was your caloric intake after the 1200 period? Did you increase to 1400/1500 or remain at 1200?

    • Hi Rebecca – at the end of the program, you need to assess whether you you still want to lose weight or just maintain the weight. This will dictate your intake after the program.

  12. I’m 63 am 74cms tall and weigh 80kgs, . Will I be able to do the exercise program ( I am quite active) should I lose weight too.

    • Hi Liz, You would need to get a professional opinion from your doctor regarding that. The diet alone will still have substantial health benefits. All the best with it!

  13. Hi Natalie, I like your review. Did you find with the program that you got enough support? Or was it just, here’s the setup, print it off? Just like a diet book? Were there any check-in’s to make sure you were keeping on track?
    Is it mainly dependent on the individual?

    • Hi Gem,

      It has been a while since I did the program now so I can only comment on what I experienced. There are definitely check-ins IF YOU WANT there to be. For example, fitness tests, entering weight every week etc. These qualified you for prizes and to be able to be part of the “whole” program. BUT if you didn’t fill in your data, then you got an email and that was it. So it’s easy if you want to drop off, however there are quite a few reminders and steps that do encourage you to keep going. I think it comes down to the individual and how ready you are to commit to it. I hope this helps – good luck with it!

  14. Hi,
    Thanks for providing so much detail in your review. I am keen to do the program, however just wanting to confirm time wise if it will be suitable for me. Is it 1-1.5 hours daily 6 days a week?
    Thanks heaps

  15. Dear Samara.
    Like you, I am keen to do the program and am doing a bit of research. Natalie’s earlier review (click on the HERE in the second paragraph to read it)says that the programs required at 60-75 minutes which she found hard to commit to, but by sticking to the meal programme, she still managed to lose weight. I’m still deciding, but at least I know now to start planning /committing to how I can guarantee to make that time every day.
    good luck!

    • Thanks Alison!
      Samara – The exercise was the hardest part for me because of the time factor. But if it is purely weight loss that is your primary focus, then the diet is the key. The fitness and exercise component does require a big time commitment but if you can just focus on being more active with shorter walks and incidental exercise then this will still help you improve your fitness. Good luck ladies!

  16. Hi, I am currently looking at possibly signing up for the next intake but am a little confused at which would be better suited to me… I am still breastfeeding twice / day, my daughter is a year old, I have just started back at work and haven’t really been exercising for a while and am doing a 5km run in March…

  17. Hi There
    Thanks so much for writing this. I am just doing some research on the Michelle Bridges program before I sign up. Wasn’t sure yet but your review is really helpful and thank you for writing this great post.

    • Hi Angeli – Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it and I am so glad to hear that this has been helpful for you.

  18. Hi Natalie, LOVE all your feedback about 12WBT, we are going to do the next round as a family :) Do you know of any ingrediants we could stock up on now that may help before we start? Any ingrediants that we may not normally stock at home….I have heard alot of spices are included? Stuff like oils, spices etc ANYTHING really :)

    • Hi Sheena! The best part about the program is that it teaches you to eat fresh so you will find that you might have to start shopping more often so that you always have fresh and fruit and veges on hand. However my to grocery staples would be Uncle Toby’s Bodywise bars, and Massel Chicken Stock Powder. And yes, your spice cupboard will grow quite quickly! My advice is to be adventurous with your tastebuds – you never know, you might just find new foods that you had never tasted before. Good luck with it all!

  19. kimberly says:

    Hi, I was just wondering how flexible the days are. My son has autism and is 11 and is like having a big toddler so has to be constantly watched. During school week is no problem but Saturdays could be an issue. I would prefer not to change it but am trying to figure out how to work around it.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Kimberly. I am certain you could work around the weekend. Maybe sway your big Super Saturday Session to a Friday and just focus on eating right on the weekend. All the best with it!

  20. Jennifer says:

    Hi Natalie,
    Your review is awesome, thank you! Having a mum’s perspective on a weight-loss program is great. My daughter is 3 and my hubby does rotating shift work.
    Were the majority of meals freezable or reheatable? Sometimes my hubby is home on time, but some shifts can be hours late, not to mention the afternoon (12-12) or night shift (7pm-7am)…
    Were the recipes quick to make/assemble?
    My head and body need the enthusiasm and motivation to get going.

    • Hi Jennifer – thanks for your question! I would say that many of the recipes are reheatable. There are quite a few recipes that are cooked for dinner one night, and then served as lunch the day after. For things like salads etc, it is easy to just prepare ahead and pull out of the fridge when needed.
      There is usually quite a bit of preparation for the meals. This needs to be factored into your day, however I found that if I did most of the preparation in the morning, then the evening meal was really easy to throw together.
      All the best – you can do it!

  21. Hi Natalie,

    I loved your honest review. Thanks for sharing.
    My husband and I are considering doing the 12WBT together.
    Can just 1 of us sign up and use the same weekly information or do we need to have 2 seperate ones with individual exercise plans etc?

    • Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for your question! There are lots of tools in the program that allow you (& encourage you) to enter your progress (weight and training information, as well as forum membership). These are really great tools for accountability, and a great motivation when you are tracking well.
      However if you are both at a similar exercise level, then there is no reason that you couldn’t both follow the same plan, and just tweak it a little to suit your needs (eg. men need slightly more calories in diet etc).
      Hope that helps! and Good luck!

  22. hello although im 24 i do hav back problf theres beemd a time when i couldnt move at all and stayed at hospital. Do you think the exercises would hurt my back again

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Rose. I think it would be best if you got medical advice regarding your back. There are gentle options for exercise but a doctor would be the best one to talk to. All the best!

  23. I’m really interested in joining up but can’t until our bubs is born mid November. I’m not overweight yet…haha im 74kgs (the heaviest ive been in years ( I know some is baby, fluid etc) im 167cms and almost 5 months pregnant but would I benefit starting now pregnant? And continue after baby? Or will it be too much? I was a very active person before falling pregnant but slacked off when we found out. I have a fear of becoming overweight as I’ve been there before and fear I will be bigger after than I have ever been, scares me to death.

    • Hi Stacey,
      The 12wbt does a pregnancy program which is really great. If you then download the beginners and intermediate program you can start doing them after delivery of your little one when your ready to exercise again.

  24. Hi, I would like to know how easy is it to stay on the program and ditch your old cravings?
    I used to love exercising but have become lazy over the years, how easy is it to stay motivated whilst on the program?

    • Hi Rae,
      In regards to the cravings, if you can stick on the program without any cheating for the first three weeks, then you will find your cravings aren’t nearly as bad – but you have to be strong!
      The motivation is all up to you. I would suggest that you connect with people via the forums as they are a great way to provide support and to help with staying on track.
      All the best with it!

  25. Hi,
    I was wondering if you needed to buy anything specific before you start the program ?
    Thank you

    • Hi Aurelia, No nothing specifically, but it helps to get the basics in the pantry – lots of herbs and spices, and stocks. If you are doing the training at home, then some hand weights might also be helpful. All the best with it!

  26. Stephanie says:

    I am really interested in joining the 12WBT, I’m 17 years old in December and have just finished school. I will be pretty busy with working and organizing study at Tafe. I just want to know if I will have enough time to do the program? It would really change my life to be able to do something about my eating and exercise habits now before it gets too bad.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Stephanie – I think this would be a great way to try out some yummy and healthy recipes. There are lots of ways to also cook in double batches which will be handy for taking lunches to uni with you. As far as exercise goes, it really depends on how much you want to commit to. Ideally, 30-60mins a day is what the programme works on, but the food is really the most important part. Good luck with it!!

  27. Hi Natalie
    I’m thinking about signing up but live in Ireland … some of the foods you mentioned I’ve never heard of! How Aussie a programme is this??

    • Hi Tricia, I’m not quite sure how easily the foods might relate to other countries… If you are handy with substitutions, I am sure it would be easy enough to swap things over, but I am sure the forum members would be able to help you out with ideas if you ever got stuck :)

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