Michaela Martin and her daughter. Source: Instagram
A courageous mother has turned her life around by embarking on a major health and fitness journey, inspired by her tamariki.
Michaela Martin, of Ngāti Whitikaupeka and Ngāti Whititama, has lost more than 30kg.
“I started my journey slowly in 2014, after the birth of my first daughter, with small lifestyle changes. I eventually started kicking my training up a notch and making more informed and conscious nutrition habits around July 2017,” says the 25-year-old.
Michaela is a mother of three tamariki, all under the age of four.
“The birth of my first daughter caused me to reflect on my life and health a lot more than I used to. I couldn't believe my body had produced such a perfect little human and from there I started my journey of self-love and appreciation towards my body,” she says.
“I never saw my body as doing anything positive for me, but here was this beautiful baby in my arms that my tinana had carried and grew for nine months. I was in awe!”
Fat shaming incident
A major negative experience she had before her weight loss occured when a flight attendant humiliated her in front of passengers on-board a plane to Australia.
At the time she couldn't fit the seat belt and the air hostess told her to consider booking two seats in the future to accommodate her size to ensure a more "comfortable" flight for her and other passengers.
"I definitely acknowledge that airline hostesses have a duty to let passengers know these things but the manner in which she spoke was definitely unprofessional. I was on the edge of the row so she could have easily had a quiet one-on-one conversation with me, but instead, it turned into almost a public declaration."
During the flight, Michaela says two older ladies approached her asking if she was okay "because even they could hear what was being said".
"Memories like those I often tuck away in the back of my mind because they are quite painful to reflect on, but now I am in a space of my life where I am using all of my old struggles to empower me instead of letting it tear me down like I would have all those years ago.”
Michaela lives in Palmerston North and says she’s lucky to have the support of her partner and whānau to help her stay on track.
“A beautiful and supportive whanau, a good routine, a lot of meal planning and prep, a good bunch of friends to keep me going and a lot of caffeine.”
As advised by her doctor, Michaela is aiming to reach a healthy weight of 80kg.
“My purpose is to be a good role model for my tamariki. I want to show them that they can do whatever they put their mind to regardless of the obstacles in front of them. I want to show them how the power of positive thinking can be such a great tool.”
Michaela recently resigned from both of her jobs so she could return to university this year to complete her Bachelor of Business degree.
“I am also blessed to have a platform that I share my journey on as well, and being able to motivate others has been amazing. It's been really eye-opening to see how receptive people have been to me and my story, I never thought of myself as 'inspirational' so it's definitely a cool but different experience.”