Today, Ngaire van der Jagt weighs 52kg and regularly competes in marathons to maintain her fitness.
Today, Ngaire van der Jagt weighs 52kg and regularly competes in marathons to maintain her fitness.

Ngaire's a whole new woman

"YOU fat *****."

For a 21-year-old who didn't even like to look at her reflection in the mirror, having those words hurled towards her as she walked down Prince St was the final insult which she transformed into inspiration - to help herself.

Ngaire van der Jagt knew she was obese. Since her late teens she had felt her weight increase, but she never realised how much.

A combination of bad food choices and illness saw Ngaire's weight reach 115kg before her 21st birthday. And for the once active and avid basketball player, the insult from a complete stranger was words Ngaire admitted as being a home truth that saw her turn her young life around.

"You're invisible, but you're not. Everyone looks at you and thinks you're fat, but no one really looks at you," Ngaire said of her personal struggle with obesity.

"It wasn't until I was 21 that I realised the full extent of how my weight could affect me. I didn't want a life full of health problems.

"I was size 24, I weighed 115kg and I was absolutely ashamed of my appearance. My weight also made it difficult for me to walk up and down my front stairs.

"When that car drove past me and the male occupants leaned out of the window and called me a fat *****, I knew I had to do something. I knew fixing my health couldn't be harder than the life I was living."

Describing herself as too embarrassed and ashamed to hire a personal trainer or join a gym, Ngaire set her own weight loss targets and started a food diary to help her stay focused and committed to her new regime.

She started walking to the front door, then to the letter box and eventually, around the block.

Her meal portions were reduced and processed foods were replaced with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Once she achieved her first target weight of 100kg, Ngaire set another at 75kg - and went for it.

That was 10 years ago. Fast forward to 2011 and Ngaire is a happy, healthy and confident woman who weighs in at 52kg.

A slender size 8, Ngaire can stand inside one leg of an old pair of size 24 pants and describes her 63kg weight loss as waking up after a long sleep.

Reaching her desired weight has also enabled Ngaire to take up a sport she had never previously been able to do.

And she is making up for it with gusto.

"I had never been able to run before, not fast and properly," Ngaire said.

"I recently finished second in the women's section of the Washpool/Gibraltar 50km trail run on October 15-16 and I came sixth overall. It was an unbelievable feeling."



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