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Real Life

My amazing 40kg weight loss

The race to change her life

When El-Mare Rothmann completed the Auckland Marathon 12km Traverse Run last month, it was a moment of personal pride for the North Shore woman, who has lost over half her body weight in the past four years.
At just under 130kg in 2012, El-Mare was in denial about her morbid obesity until one simple act by her daughter Ruve triggered a transformation. “I didn’t have any physical symptoms from my weight, but there were things I could no longer do because I was so big, like paint my toes,” admits the 46-year-old.
“I realised I really needed to do something when I was sat on a bench and my daughter offered to remove my socks because I could no longer do so.”
The mum-of-two added lots of vegetables to her diet and started walking four times a week, with the goal of losing 500g to 1.5kg per week. During the first 12 months, she shed
a staggering 40kg.
After selling her old, baggy clothes, the South African-born Mitre 10 store manager then upped her weight-loss regime with weight training and later joined a gym, where she did
25 minutes of cardio and up to 40 minutes of resistance training four times a week.
Yet as El-Mare’s health and fitness went from strength to strength, in late 2015, her husband Wouter, who had been complaining about feeling unwell for six years, suffered an unexpected heart attack.
Having to undergo a triple heart bypass was scary, but since the operation, animal-management officer Wouter has been like a man reborn. He explains, “I can now walk further and faster than I could before, and I don’t get as tired or as out of breath.”
Unfortunately, a foot injury ruled Wouter out of competing in the Traverse, which the couple had planned to walk together. But her hubby’s withdrawal just days before the race presented a new opportunity for bubbly El-Mare, who told herself, “I can’t use Wouter as an excuse any more. I’m not only going to walk the distance – I’m going to jog it as well.”
El-Mare, her husband Wouter, and their kids Jandre (left) and Ruve.
While not a natural runner, the Murrays Bay resident – who is mum to Ruve, 24, and Jandre, 12 – completed the course in one hour and 32 minutes. She was so far ahead of her estimated time, her family didn’t make it to the finish line to see her pass it.
“I reached my goal and I was awesomely stoked with myself,” smiles El-Mare, who now weighs 63kg. “When I was morbidly obese, I never wanted my husband to see how I looked. Now I can honestly say losing weight has changed our relationship. It has changed my mood and the way I feel about myself, and saved our marriage.”

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