Elena went from being unable to tie up her shoes to completing a triathlon.
This story originally appeared on The Cairns Post and is republished here with permission.
Two years ago, Elena Goodall was facing a death sentence unless she took drastic action to address her obesity.
Tipping the scales at 184kg, the 29-year-old’s doctor diagnosed her with type 2 diabetes and severe sleep apnoea.
Elena’s parents feared for the worst.
She started setting herself goals: becoming fit enough to compete in Julia Creek’s Dirt n’ Dust Festival triathlon in 2016; then the Noosa Triathlon last year, and eventually the Cairns Ironman 70.3.
When Elena crossed the finish line on the Cairns Esplanade on Sunday, with a time of 6 hours, 45 minutes, she could hardly recognise herself.
“My parents would be so proud,” she said.
“They thought they were going to lose me.
“So for them to see me finish, it’s just unbelievable.”
Elena, who grew up in Cairns, basically lived off takeaway food after moving out of home, and did not realise how unhealthy she had become.
“I couldn’t even tie my own shoes up — things that most people take for granted, I couldn’t do,” she said.
“I couldn’t sit down on the ground and get back up.
“Now, I just want to prove to people that if you reach that point, there is something you can do, and you can save your own life.
“It’s not something you should have to deal with.”
Elena currently weighs about 69kg, but she is far more focused on improving herself and completing her next challenge, than the reading on the scales.
“I’m hoping to do my first full Ironman soon, at the beginning of next year, but I may have to complete a few more 70.3s before I go for a full — but we’ll see,” she said.
“I’m pretty determined, and I feel like anything that I can set my mind to, I can do.”
“Once you start doing it, then people will see that it’s going to happen, then they start believing in you and that pushes you as well.
“I had a lot of people, back in the beginning, who told me that I was crazy and I was not going to be able to do it.
“But I used that as fuel — that really fuelled me to get me where I am today.”
Follow Elena’ on Facebook at Elle’s Journey to Good Health, and on Instagram at @elles_journey_to_good_health