It was a morning in May 2016 that the reality of my body hit me. I weighed a massive 105 kg and felt like I had lost complete control.
The doctor told me my blood pressure was too high and if I wanted to live a long and healthy life, I would need to change my lifestyle dramatically. He told me that no medicine could solve the problem, what I needed was a healthy diet and exercise. I felt so overwhelmed at that time since it seemed like such a long road ahead, but I knew that I had to give it a try.
Despite my insecurities about my body, I mustered up enough courage and enrolled in a local gym. I hired a personal trainer and dietician to help me with my transformation and started working out. It was then that I started to run. I recall how hard my first run felt, it was only 200 meters and I was completely out of breath. I felt like a failure, but support from my trainer encouraged me to keep persisting and I moved from kilometre to kilometre, pushing my limit each time. I also joined physical training classes - Yoga, Pilates, swimming to focus on flexibility and stamina and changed my diet to a low salt and no sugar, eating smaller meals five times a day.
On September 4th 2016, nearly three months after starting my life-changing journey, I participated in my first half marathon, the Haarlemmermeer Marathon. I didn’t know if I could do it, but I did. My confidence grew and several half marathons followed.
A month later, I took the plunge and decided to push myself further and go for the full marathon. And what better platform for this than the TCS Amsterdam Marathon! I finished the race in under 5 hours, something that I could have never imagined twelve months back. It was an emotional experience for me, knowing how far I had come.
Running gives me joy like nothing else. I now train daily and target to run an event every month. My aspiration is to complete the six major world marathons (London, New York, Chicago, Boston, Berlin and Tokyo). And I am extremely excited to be running the TCS NYC Marathon this year in November, which I won the entry to, through a TCS employee contest. It’s a dream come true for me.
Running has not only made me healthy, it has also made me calmer and more productive at work. While I want to continue the focus on my journey, I also want to help colleagues and friends embark on their own fitness path. Towards this, I have taken the initiative to form a fitness group in Amsterdam to share my story and push others to make health a priority. I feel that we are all capable of great things – as long as there is will and determination, anything is possible.