As a young teen, Raegan Katene's school days were spent being bullied. To this day, she has never understood why.

"I was just that person people picked on," says Raegan, now 18.

Despite changing schools, the bullying persisted with Raegan feeling completely isolated by her classmates.

"I wouldn't come out of my room. I'd eat junk food, I never ate full meals. I excluded myself. I wanted to give up. I had no determination to do anything."


Raegan's lifestyle saw her spending a lot of time alone, eating whenever she was bored or to make herself feel better. She wore dark, baggy clothes in a size 18 to 20. By the time she was 15 she weighed 104 kilograms.

Raegan's friends often didn't recognise her when she first lost weight. Photos / Supplied
Raegan's friends often didn't recognise her when she first lost weight. Photos / Supplied

The turning point came when she took a medical exam to become a fire service volunteer.

"They told me I was morbidly obese. That's not something you want to hear at 16. I didn't want to be known as morbidly obese. Or even obese.

"I decided I wanted to change."

Raegan bought new running shoes and new clothes she hoped she could eventually fit into.

Changing schools for her final year also provided a chance to get fit.

"In Year 13 I moved to Queen Elizabeth College [in Palmerston North] where they have a Service Academy which does a military style training programme."

Raegan took up the challenge, completing three boot camp sessions a week and two personal training sessions.

Happiness is all I had 󾍕

Posted by Raegan Katene on Friday, August 28, 2015

"There were times I wanted to give up. But SAS gave me motivation. My parents and my friends were really supportive."

She also made changes to her diet. From skipping meals and eating mainly junk food, Raegan now eats three meals a day, avoids processed foods as much as possible and enjoys eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.

"I make a lot of food from scratch. I love banana pancakes and smoothies."

A year later, Raegan was unrecognisable, dropping 36 kilograms in 12 months.

"I shocked myself," says Raegan, now a size 12. "I have friends that walk straight past me. In myself, I feel like a new person. I have energy. And I can wear what I want."

Being asked how she lost so much weight is a common question for the 18-year-old.

According to Raegan, the trick is to start out with a small goal.

"Set a little goal, then achieve that. Then set another, and achieve that. With food, it's about eating what you need in moderation. Serving size plays a huge part."

Raegan has also joined the gym and is hoping to become a medic in the Navy and Air Force.