With two surgeries and a 92kg weight loss behind her, Aucklander Simone Anderson is looking forward to a life of new opportunities.
Her incredible weight loss story started in August 2014, when she committed to a diet and exercise programme and dropped 20kg. Two months later, she underwent gastric sleeve surgery and, seven months post-op, she had lost half of her body weight - 84kg.
Late last year, she travelled to the US for further surgery, this time to remove the excess skin she was left with following her dramatic weight loss.
Almost two years on from taking the first step towards health, she spoke to the Herald about setting goals, staying active, and the new man in her life.
A new life
"I don't feel like I've changed as a person - I'm still the exact same outgoing, bubbly girl I was before, but it's now the day to day opportunities I'm no longer turning down," she says of her amazing transformation.
"I can go for hikes on the weekends, and I can do half marathons, I can now go skydiving because I'm not over the weight limit - just things that were not possible before. It's just opened up so many opportunities that were closed off to me because of my weight before."
And with her new partner, Trent Forsyth, by her side, she's found someone to share her next chapter with.
"I'm really proud of the way she's maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise," Trent says. "She keeps it up and she's always active. She's really making the most of the opportunities that are given to her."
Simone says the pair share similar health and fitness goals, and support each other in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
"We've joined sports teams together - we now play indoor netball together and we're about to play waterpolo together in a social team," she says. "[We're] just making sure it's really fun stuff we can do together and continue to be active and live an active lifestyle really."
Although they have a lot in common, Simone doesn't think they would have worked together in her pre-weight loss days.
"I definitely don't think [we would have met]. I don't think it would have been because of physical looks, but just in terms of outlook and where we want to go, we just wouldn't have aligned," Simone says.
"It did take me a while to open up to him about certain aspects and things I had gone through, but he was so open and understanding, and it made it a lot easier for me to be open about it with him."
When others come to her for advice on weight loss, few people are better placed to share their knowledge than Simone, who says the key to success is being in a good mental headspace.
"I found because my weight loss wasn't from a place of self-hatred, it was coming from a place of purely wanting to get healthy for my future benefit, I feel like that sets you up for a really good journey," she says.
"You need to be prepared for the side effects and all the hard work, but also know that it's 100 per cent possible, and if you set your mind to it there's nothing you can't achieve."