This was one of Lifestyle's favourite stories of 2017.

Kiwi woman Riley Hemson may have the added pressure of over 64K Instagram followers keeping up with her weight loss journey but it's her own determination and grit that has seen her drop 30kg in just over a year.

Riley, 21, from Wellington was inspired to begin her weight loss journey when, after being overweight her entire life, she hit 115kg on the scales.

"When I reached 115kg that was just crazy to see that, I never thought I looked big, but looking back on photos I was definitely really, really unhealthy."

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Seeing others' success stories on social media gave Riley the impetus to get healthy too.

"I saw lots of other people do it all the time on social media. You're seeing people drop the weight and I knew I could do it."

For Riley, her goal was to feel healthy rather than focus on how she appeared to the outside world.

"It's not about what I look like, it's about feeling healthy," says the bubbly paramedic student.

HOW DID SHE DO IT?

β€’ IN THE KITCHEN

Riley's meal plan is simple: Lots of vegetables, lots of water and no white carbohydrates, where possible.

Riley is also a vegetarian, getting protein from eggs and protein shakes rather than meat.

"I have protein shakes with egg whites for breakfast, also post workout, but I'm a vegetarian so I don't have any meat, and it's mostly just lots of fresh veggies that make me feel good."

β€’ AT THE GYM

When it comes to working out, Riley believes in sticking to what she enjoys rather than forcing herself to do exercises that make her feel unmotivated.

"I hate running. I always have, and I'm just not going to force myself to do something I don't like.

"So weightlifting, circuit training, going for walks in the summer with my friends, just things that I really enjoy, [I do] things that I am going to stick to."

RILEY'S TOP TIPS

Riley's advice for anyone trying to get fit and healthy is to, first and foremost, understand that the real motivation behind your goals should be to do what's right for your body, love what you've been given and make the most of it.

"Just remember, it's about feeling good. You want to put what you know you need into your body and just love yourself from the beginning.

"I never hated my body. I did it because I wanted to love my body and give it the right things it needed and not because I wanted to drop the weight and [because] I hated what I looked like.

"I went, 'Right, this is my body and I only have one for my whole life and I want to feel good all the time.'"