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A marathon effort

Discovering a love of exercise encouraged Dunedin banker Rachael Masterton to run a full marathon.

It was December 2014 and I was sitting in the doctor’s office in tears – sick and tired of being ‘sick and tired’. Something had to change. My desire and biggest motivation was to get well, get fit and look great in photos.

I was diagnosed with coeliac disease and, after a four-week exclusion diet, I lost 6-7kg and I had more energy. I went and bought some new running shoes and decided to take up walking again. On my first walk I got bored, so I decided to run for a while and was amazed how far I could run. And that was it, I was hooked.

Each day I tried to run a little further and within six days of starting my run/walks, I went to my first local 5km parkrun. It was then time to set myself some goals – running 5km, 10km and then, in September 2015, a half marathon. This meant that the next goal had to be a full marathon.

Having been a Healthy Food Guide subscriber for years, I had joined up for the 12-week Kick-start Plan soon after it started, in late 2015. I was already on my journey to health, and it was time to do something for me. I found the most benefit from having contact through the Kick-starters Facebook group with like-minded people wanting to live healthier lives.

The hardest thing about adopting healthier habits is sticking to something long enough for it to grow into a habit.

The best thing about adopting healthier habits is seeing results and looking and feeling better about myself. I’ve lost weight, taken up exercise and started running. I started going to a personal trainer in December 2015, after much resistance, and never thought I would say I love going to the gym – but I do love it! After vowing never to set foot in a gym for the last 20-plus years, exercise is now an important and essential part of my daily timetable.

In October 2016 I ran the Melbourne Marathon. It was my first marathon and it was an awesome feeling to be a part of it and to finish it. My goal was to finish strong and happy – I ran most of the way.

My ‘cheerleading’ team of supporters gets me through when things get tough. I know I can talk to any of them and I will get encouragement and advice to get through the tough times. Looking back to where I’ve come from certainly helps too.

My advice for anyone starting out on this journey is to find out who should be in your cheerleading team and tell them what you want to do – then you make yourself accountable to them too. Set goals and find ways of rewarding yourself that don’t involve food. I like new exercise gear or a manicure.

My mantra currently is ‘I can do anything for 30 days’, no matter how unpalatable or how much I don’t want to do it (even though I know it will be good for me). I can do it for 30 days and by then it will start to become habit, or I can switch it out for something else. In the gym it’s ‘I can do anything for two minutes, it’s only two minutes out of the rest of my life’.

I lost 20kg in the first year of my journey. None of it was easy. But being so goal-focused meant I had stickability and enjoyed seeing the results of what I was achieving: feeling better, getting fitter and looking better in photos.

I’ve had a running injury this year so my goals this year were adjusted toward keeping cardio fitness through rowing and biking and gaining strength through weights and losing weight. For the next 12 months, I am focused on losing weight, gaining strength and completing some short-distance runs (anywhere from 10km to 21km).

I love to see the changes in my body since starting this journey. It has taken me a lot of hard work and it’s good to see what that hard work has achieved, which helps keep the motivation going to improve further.

Two and a half years ago I would never have thought I would be where I’m at now.


Look out for this icon on recipes you can use for the Kick-start Plan.
Read more about the HFG Reset & Restore Kick-start 12-week Programme.

Date modified: January 12 2021
First published: Dec 2017

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