'Fatgirl' to Batgirl: Obese comic fan drops 70kg

By Rebekah Scanlan

Casey Gemmell ballooned to 159kg before she realised she needed to make some changes to her diet and lifestyle. Photos / Caters
Casey Gemmell ballooned to 159kg before she realised she needed to make some changes to her diet and lifestyle. Photos / Caters

An obese cosplay fan who was mortified when she couldn't fit into a 5XL superhero costume has lost 70kg and transformed herself from "fatgirl' to Batgirl.

Mum-of-three, Casey Gemmell, 37, from Perth, WA, had gained weight steadily since having kids, ballooning to 159kgs after years of hoovering up her kid's leftovers and eating fatty takeouts.

But the comic loving mum was blissfully unaware of her weight problems until she saw a photo of herself from her son Xavier's superhero themed first birthday party.

Horrified at the sight of herself squeezed into a 5XL plus-size Batgirl costume the administration manager, swapped scraps for a running app, and has ditched her bad ways for good.

Over the next two years, she continued to lose weight and is now a svelte size 12. Photo / Caters
Over the next two years, she continued to lose weight and is now a svelte size 12. Photo / Caters



Casey said: "I've always liked food and had been brought up to eat everything that was put on my plate.

"But my kids would never eat all their dinner, so I'd eat their leftovers as well as my own meals, which were usually some sort of takeaway.

"I knew that I'd gained a bit of mum tum over the years, but in my head it wasn't that bad.

"When I first saw the party photos, I didn't think it was me.

I looked nothing like Batgirl, it was more like 'Fatgirl.'

"After I weighed myself and I couldn't believe my eyes when the scales stopped at 159kgs."

Casey's issues with food first began when she became a mum aged 17, to Julian's then 18-month-old daughter from a previous relationship.

Seeing a photo of herself was the catalyst for Casey to make a change. Photos / Caters
Seeing a photo of herself was the catalyst for Casey to make a change. Photos / Caters



"All I'd ever wanted was to be a mum and that wish came true when I met Julian as he had a little girl, China.

"I loved fussing over them and would spoil them with food.

"We'd eat whatever we wanted and I often 'treated' us to takeaways. This continued over the years when I went on to have Willow and Xavier.

"I knew I was gaining weight, but in my head, mums were meant to be cuddly.
"I did no exercise and would just eat takeaway as it was easy and convenient. It was no wonder I ballooned."

But it was the family's love of comic book superhero's that really made Casey's weight an issue.

She said: "We went to a comic book convention when we first moved from our hometown in New Zealand to Perth and that's how our obsession first began.

"But while my husband Julian and the kids would happily pose for photos with all the characters, I felt too embarrassed and preferred to let them dress up.

"I didn't look anything like the slim, active heroines I adored.

"I didn't let anyone know how I was feeling and would plaster on a smile. But inside I felt jealous of all the women in the skimpy superhero outfits. I wished it could be me."

Since dropping from a size 28 to a 12, Casey enjoys shopping for clothes. Photo / Caters
Since dropping from a size 28 to a 12, Casey enjoys shopping for clothes. Photo / Caters

The mum of three was just 74kgs when she met her husband of almost 20 years, Julian, aged 17. By the time their youngest son Xavier, four, was born, Casey was wearing a size 28 and was so embarrassed, she'd stopped weighing herself.

Casey said: "When Julian said we were having a superhero fancy dress party for Xavier's first birthday, I freaked out.

"I'd avoided wearing the amazing costumes in the past, but I couldn't avoid this occasion as it was our son's party.

"I went straight online to a plus-sized store and ordered the biggest Batgirl costume I could find.

"But when the 5XL outfit arrived, it didn't fit. It was like a t-shirt rather than a dress and I was forced to wear leggings underneath it to cover the flab that was busting out."

It was only when a friend uploaded a photo of her to Facebook from the party that Casey realised she had a real issue with her size.

Casey dropped 70kg through her own determined efforts. Photo / Caters
Casey dropped 70kg through her own determined efforts. Photo / Caters

She said: "I saw the photo and I was horrified.

"I said to Julian 'This is a really bad angle of me' and he very gently had to say, no that's you and that's what you look like.

"After, I weighed myself and I was 159kgs. I couldn't believe I'd let it get so bad.

"I had so many questions after, like how did my husband even make love to me if I was that big.

"I asked him 'Did I suffocate you?' it was all I could think about."
The next day, she downloaded a running app and started working out.

She said: "At first, I had no faith in the app or myself.

"The first run I went on, I didn't even last 30 seconds without getting out of puff.

But slowly, I improved and that was enough to keep me motivated."

It was after embarking on her weight loss regime that Casey looked at her diet and realised she'd been eating in secret for years.

She said: "To be honest, I never really thought I ate too much or that badly.

"But I'd been putting way more in my mouth than I'd been acknowledging.

"If I went out to but KFC dinner for the family, I'd often buy myself a chicken burger and eat it in the car on the way home.

"I'd also pretend to throw away the kids scraps in front of Julian, but I always ate them."

After addressing her secret eating and changing her diet, Casey started to notice the weight falling off.

Casey feels far more comfortable playing dressing up with her family now. Photo / Caters
Casey feels far more comfortable playing dressing up with her family now. Photo / Caters



She said: "As I became slimmer, it became a goal of mine to fit into the costume I'd been busting out of.

"I dedicated myself to my target and ran every day, eating only salads and lean meats for dinner. Junk food was dead to me."

By the time the annual comic convention rolled around the following year, Casey had lost 35kgs and slipped easily into her once tight Batgirl costume.

She said: "This time it was way too big for me but I was determined to wear it so I used a belt to make it fit.

"At the convention, I posed for photos with my family - in full heroine gear - it was a real first for me.

"It was such an amazing achievement."

But the 171cm tall superhero lover wasn't done on her quest for a slimmer body. Over the next two years, she continued to lose weight and is now a svelte size 12, weighing just 88kgs.

She said: "I've lost over 70kgs and have done it without any help so far.

"These days I don't flinch at dressing up and have even had pin-up girl photo shoots and dressed as heaps of different Cosplay characters with my family.

"Dressing up now is a fun experience and I'm a far more realistic superhero than I was three years ago."

Unfortunately, Casey has been left with a saggy belt of skin on her tummy that she's hoping to have surgically removed one day, but not even that can stop her from smiling.

She said: "Whenever I get sad about it, I just look at my before photos and remember how far I've come.

"Transforming from 'fatgirl' to Batgirl was no easy feat and when I look at myself in the mirror, I really do feel like a superhero."

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