Real life From obesity to running marathons
Embarrassed by her size, this Aussie woman embarked on an epic weight-loss journey
It was a mortifying moment for Melbourne woman Marnie Benney. At an annual check-up in late 2015, she weighed in at 138kg – and her doctor warned her she was a “heart attack waiting to happen”.
Weeks later, the 48-year-old finally built up the courage to go to her local gym, after years of unhealthy living. But it wasn’t just her shock weigh-in and her doctor’s worrying predictions that triggered her overhaul.
“I was already embarrassed about my weight but when I got off the scales, I realised I’d have to put my trainers back on,” she recalls of her first gym visit. “I was so fat I couldn’t bend over to tie my laces. My partner had been tying them for me for years. It was humiliating.”
Sensing her shame, Marnie’s personal trainer did it for her. But that mortifying incident motivated her to start her slimdown with a simple goal – to tie her own shoelaces.
Recalling how her weight crept up over the years, Marnie says, “I had multiple roles at work and couldn’t keep my head above water, so I’d sit at home on my laptop until 3am and eat. If I had fish and chips I’d have flake, chips, four potato cakes, dim sims and a fried Mars bar.”
Determined to reach her goal, Marnie embarked on an intense exercise program – a blend of cross training, personal training, running, boxing and weights. She also replaced her kilojoule-laden takeaways with healthy options such as salads, fruit and vegetables and lean meat.
Two months later she reached “a little milestone” when she could tie her own laces. And the milestones kept coming. Within a year, Marnie had shed an incredible 70kg – half her body weight. Thrilled with her newfound fitness, Marnie took part in a fun run before setting her sights on a new goal – running the New York Marathon.
Marnie smiles as she recalls the “epic moment” when she crossed the finish line at the event last November – just two years after she first set foot in her local gym.
“If anyone had told me a few years ago that I’d run a marathon, I’d have laughed in their face,” she says. “Now I’m training for an ultramarathon!”