TURNING 50 HEALTHIER AND STRONGER. How I Beat Diabetes & Hypertension Through Fitness

My name is Muthoni aka the ‘True Nyerian 😊’, a mum to 3 kids Tania Wangui 21, Jason Ngatia 15, and Tasha Njeri 11 years.

I am counting down to turning 50 years.

In 2015, I was 85 kgs and obese and when I visited the doctor, he gave me a stern warning that I needed to change my lifestyle as I had a high risk of High Blood Pressure and Diabetes. The doctor told me that if my diabetes and high blood pressure went unchecked, it could lead to an early grave and I would never see my children graduate from college. The Doctor proposed to either put me on medication or become active…. And I chose the longer route …and my journey to a healthier version of me started, though grudgingly.

During this time, I summited Mt Kenya while weighing 85 kgs which was quite a challenge since I felt I was so heavy.  This tough climb was a wake-up call and after I was back from Mt. Kenya, I had a meeting with myself resolved to make a change.  I think sometimes at some point, we all need to have a meeting with ourselves and accept the harsh truth of what we need to change. After this honest sit down with myself, something shifted in me.

The Beginning

My husband Erastus Maina whom I fondly call ‘My Villager’ took me out for my maiden run, I ran for 5.8 kms and I was not convinced that running was a hobby that I was planning to take up. My perception was that running was for people like Eliud Kipchoge since he was being paid, it was not for people like me. My villager a.k.a my husband literally coached me patiently on how to run and run well. He has been very supportive.

Because lasting change is not easy, I almost self-sabotaged. In the beginning one of the biggest challenges, I faced was procrastination. I often felt I didn’t have enough time to exercise or that exercising was too much for me. Worse still, I exercised but I didn’t see much change or progress. It was so demoralizing.  I was hoping weight loss was a quick win, but I realized it requires a lot of patience and grit to achieve your goal.

To overcome these challenges

First, I improved on my time management by starting to exercise as early as 5 a.m.  Then, though I loved going to the gym, I had to cancel my gym membership because I wasn’t able to go much anyway. I decided to equip a gym at home. This gave me more access and flexibility to exercise when I could and inspired my family to also join in the fitness journey.

I broke my fitness tasks into small steps and goals that I could achieve and started appreciating the small wins. A change in mindset was key and it enabled me to change my daily routine and keep me consistent.

Having a support system for accountability by being a member of the Urban Swara Running Club and Kitengela Mbuni Runners also kept me going. And to track my progress, I purchased a Garmin smart watch to track my activities.

Where am at now …

Now, I run at least 12 kms per day and 4 sessions of strength training per week. I have run marathons, half marathons and ultra marathons locally and abroad. As I turn 50, I really enjoy strength training as it maintains muscle mass, improves mobility and health span.

My diet adjustment included watching my portions. I started serving on a smaller plate, serving vegetables on half of my plate, and quarter each for starch and proteins. Meal prepping has also been very helpful. I visited a nutritionist to understand why I needed to adjust in my diet and the importance of all the different classes of food.

Impact on my Family and Relationships:

Having seen the transformation my husband and I have achieved through healthier choices and consistently working out, our children have joined us and a love for fitness has become a family thing.

I receive a lot support from my family and they have all adopted healthy eating habits. No one has been left behind. My family has also learned to respect my workout time as they know it is part of my daily routine.

My Achievements and Milestones:

First off, my biggest achievement has been reversing my diabetes and blood pressure and not being put on medication. I have integrated fitness into my daily life and reaped great rewards. I love being leaner, faster, and healthier! A fit and healthy life did not just transform my life. It saved my life and continues to inspire others. I am honored that at some point my story was shared on the prestigious Business Daily Newspaper to motivate others.

I have also used my love of running to support noble causes including fundraising and paying school fees for needy girls at my Alma mater, the Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls through running.

Being able to run 6 marathons, 8 half marathons and 3 ultra marathons is no mean feat.I am so proud of all that I have achieved.

To my fellow mums especially those over 40. I urge you to embrace fitness. A life of fitness will challenge you to push past your limitations and beyond your comfort zone. As you witness your body become more stronger and more capable, you will develop a deep sense of empowerment and self-assurance. You are investing in your future. It is never too late to embark on your fitness journey. Start today.

4 Responses

  1. Wow, congratulations Martha, so proud of you! Your inspiring story, determination and consistency is a great motivation to many. I’m glad that your hard work has greatly paid off and you’re now reaping the benefits.

  2. Congratulations girl!
    I love your commitment and your determination.
    Bravo to your family for your selfless support ~

  3. Very inspiring. This is a lifetime journey that requires consistency, resilience and self discipline. The rewards are priceless . Well done Mama !

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