BOP swimmer’s 92kg weight loss
When Rotorua’s Robyn Graves takes to the water this week, it will be as part of a continuing voyage of self-discovery and a return to healthy living.
At one point, Robyn weighed 170kgs, but now she competes in half marathons and open water swimming events, and is hoping to inspire others with her story.
It was an epiphanous moment that led Robyn to her weight loss journey.
Her adult daughter suffered a near death experience and the thought of her grandchildren losing their mother made Robyn reassess her lifestyle.
“That was when I realised that I needed to do something serious about my health and my weight,” says Robyn. “I wanted to be alive when I turned 50.”
Robyn investigated gastric bypass surgery and had the procedure in 2016, but did not stop there.
“That’s only a tool,” says Robyn. “That's not an answer. So I've done a lot of work on working on the reasons why I use food as a crutch.”
At one point Robyn’s weight loss totalled 92kg and part of her weight loss journey has been an impressive foray back into regular exercise.
Watching wheelchair users competing in a triathlon caused another illuminating realisation. If they can do it, so could she.
“I thought, yeah, I have no excuse. I have all my legs and all my arms and everything like that. I can go and do a triathlon. I don't have to win it. I just have to do it.”
Robyn used to be a competitive swimmer and this weekend she will be competing in her latest event, and a hometown one, with the Generation Homes Legend of the Lake swim at Lake Tikitapu.
A major part of Robyn’s weight loss has been ensuring she did not just lose weight, but develop muscle as well. She has had to reteach her body its movement patterns.
“The whole carriage of my body changed,” she explains. “So building my muscle up, like developing my hip flexors, my abdominal muscles and my back muscles to carry my body differently, that was really important.
“Muscle development, which doesn't necessarily mean heavy weight training or anything like that, it's learning to use body weight. Building that muscle up has helped with fat loss rather than weight loss.”
Not only is Robyn continuing to push her own boundaries, she actively coaches and inspires others to challenge themselves and make lasting lifestyle changes that benefits their health.
“I'm really focused with people,” says Robyn.
“It's not about losing the weight. It's about being strong and being able to move well and things like that. The worst part is standing at the start line. The mental reward afterwards is so huge and so motivating. It's just worth it just to put yourself out there and just give it a go.”
Robyn says she previously struggled to get off the couch without help from her husband, but her weight loss has simply changed her life.
That includes being able to do activities with her six grandchildren she never thought were possible.
“I've taken my grandsons zip-lining and done all sorts of weird and wonderful things I just never thought I'd be doing in my late forties and now into my fifties.
“This year is a big year for me to just celebrate that I'm still alive at 50.”