In 2012, I started to see my quality of life plummeting even more than past years. I suffered from an episode of optic neuritis that left me temporarily blind in one eye for about a month. My vision never fully recovered. The optic neuritis and dealing with temporary paralysis, amongst other issues, led doctors to give me a prediagnosis: I had a 95 percent chance of having or developing multiple sclerosis.
In February 2013, I was 127kg. Within a three-year period, I was diagnosed with PCOS, infertility, glaucoma, anxiety disorder, and manic depression. That was my wake up call to turn my life around. After experiencing these life-altering and major neurological and reproductive health issues, I finally became serious about learning the right tools to transform my mind, body, and life after realising that my life and/or my abilities could be cut short at any moment.
Weight loss was where I wanted to start, so I began running. At first, I couldn’t run for more than 30 seconds, if that, at a time. I had to slowly build up my endurance, so I also incorporated weightlifting and started tracking my calories and food with MyFitnessPal and was a regular user of the Couch 2 5K programs throughout my weight loss.
Since the beginning of my weight loss journey, I have lost 69kg and currently sit at 58kg with excess skin. Running has been a staple in my journey and will always be a part of who I am today.
After four years of running, I feel great. I run two to three times during the week from 5 to 10km, unless I am specifically training for a longer distance race. On the weekends, I like to trail run on unpaved paths near my home and, up until 2017, I was racing at least once a month. This year, because of finances, it has been once every couple of months, if that. I do everything from 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, and obstacle course races. I am working toward completing a full marathon eventually.
My current short and long-term goals include being able to get out there to race more often again, to finish my weight-loss journey by having my excess skin removed, and to continue to be a voice for people who may think that massive weight loss is impossible. To show them that it is possible. That it is possible to get out of your own way and fly like a bird or butterfly.
My secret to success is believing in myself, having no restrictions with my diet, and creating a lifestyle that I can sustain for the rest of my life. I am not always motivated, but I get it done. When I am motivated, it’s the results that motivate me, the satisfaction of crushing my goals, and knowing I can do anything I put my mind to when I believe and work for it.
This article originally appeared on Runner's World.