In the last seven months Ariana Omipi, 19, has lost 50kg.
She was 130kg, last July, when she decided she wanted to lose half of herself and she nearly has.
Now 78kg, Omipi has slowed down the weight loss determined to turn it into a sustainable lifestyle, so when she hits her goal weight of 65kg she won't put it all back on.
The trigger for her lifestyle change came after she broke up with her boyfriend, which meant she had to leave Auckland and come back home to Bell Block to live with her parents, she said.
"I was pretty much at a bad place in my life. I was, like, there were two ways to go, keep eating and having those destructive kind of behaviours or do something different."
She found a diet online that suited her, which was from an Auckland organisation called Rapid Fitness.
"I bought this programme. It gives you all the serving sizes to eat, tells you all the foods to eat and explains the process a little bit so made it a lot easier to do."
However, it was challenging to cook healthy meals in a household where takeaways were the norm.
"It was quite hard because my family don't eat healthily. They are all on the go, so it's usually packets of biscuits and takeaways at dinner, so it was hard for me to learn a different way.
"At first difficult especially when they'd have fish and chips. But having to cook was a good motivator. When you make your own food you want to like celebrate that. I've made this good meal. It's going to taste good. I'm going to enjoy it."
First she had to learn to cook. But even when what she made was a disaster, she'd still eat it, she said.
"So you definitely make it better next time. I saw how to fix things, what makes the flavour."
While the ketogenic, high fat, low carb, diet suited Omipi, she says everyone needs to find a something that suits them.
"You have to find something that you can adapt for your lifestyle. You look at something and think, ‘oh it worked for her it will work for me'. But that is not necessarily true if your lifestyle isn't that certain way or if you don't like those kind of foods. This diet you have to like meat, but if you're a huge fruit fan you won't enjoy it too much."
At the beginning she went really hard out, because she wanted to "lose a big hunk" in a short space of time, so she worked out up to 10 hours a week.
"I just wanted to say hey, I lost half my weight. I'm healthy. I feel good about myself."
But now, with another 13kg to reach her goal, she is changing tack.
"I'm trying to turn it into an adaptable lifestyle. I don't want to get to my goal weight and then start bingeing on my favourite food."
So, she is changing to a paleo diet, which is whole foods, no grains, fruits and lots different vegetables.
And her story is starting to get out, through a website and Facebook page she has set up.
"I wasn't really comfortable sharing my weight loss for a long time. But if I can encourage someone, especially Maori women, that is something worth sharing my progress for."
Her website, arieats.com has recipes and pictures of meals she has made.
Omipi didn't take proper before and after photos until she got to 100kg, because she couldn't look at herself before then, she said.
"Now I look at them and compare my progress. It still trips me out that I've lost 50kg."
- Taranaki Daily News
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