02/10/2016 06:28 EST | Updated 02/10/2016 09:59 EST

Weight Lost: Her Lifelong Diagnosis Didn't Stop This Woman From Getting Healthy

"I saw a picture of myself at a wedding I attended. I didn’t recognize myself."

Rupinder Riar

Who: Rupinder Riar

Occupation: Insurance broker

City: Surrey, B.C.

Age: 47

By The Numbers: 175 pounds at my heaviest, currently 140 pounds, for a total weight loss of 35 pounds.

The Weight Gain: Growing up, I was never overweight but my weight fluctuated.

My weight gain started in 2008 when I moved to B.C., and with the transition from my move I started overeating and not exercising.

For the last five years I had struggled with weight gain. I moved from Manitoba during a recession, was unable to find work right away, became depressed and replaced my depression with food. It didn’t help that my health was already poor, I knew what I needed to do but I always used my health issues as an excuse.

I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP) at a very early age. It was a very minor case — there was no brain damage and it was confined to my left side, mainly my left arm. As I grew older my CP became worse and the doctor warned me that without exercise, arthritis could set in and eventually, I could end up in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I also have asthma, developed gastroesophageal reflux disease and high blood pressure because of my weight.

Final Straw: In September of 2014 I was admitted to the hospital, my blood pressure was very high and I was experiencing chest pain. The medication they gave me to stabilize my blood pressure had side effects. This is when the doctor advised to make lifestyle changes. I started by watching what I ate, but it didn’t really help, due to my lack of knowledge in nutrition. A month later I saw a picture of myself at a wedding I attended. I didn’t recognize myself. I needed to do something.

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The Plan of Attack: I started going to the gym in November 2014. After going for about a week, I received a phone call from Idris Barahameh, a personal trainer at Steve Nash Fitness World, and he asked me to come in for an assessment. He was very patient and understanding and I told him about my medical issues and my challenges. He knew right away that balance was a key issue and a problem I needed to work on — I honestly don’t know how I could have excelled or stayed as motivated as I was if I didn’t have him to train and guide me.

It took me a year of training and I lost approximately 45 pounds.

The Exercise Factor: I trained three times a week with my trainer and on my off days I focused on cardio.

I want to lose about 10 more pounds in fat and develop the muscle where I need it. My CP has weakened in my left arm and leg. I am also currently training for the Vancouver Sun Run in April.

The Food Element: I believe my clean eating habits helped me, as well as meal prepping weekly. When you know the food is there and ready to eat, it helps you from deterring your goals. I eliminated dairy and any bread from my diet, and stuck to eating protein, vegetables and fruits. I also eliminated all types of condiments and salt, and only cooked with herbs.

The hardest adjustment was getting used to only eating what was already prepared. I like sweets, especially chocolate, so I had to wean myself off of sugar.

The Current Day-to-Day: In April 2015 I ran the 10 km Vancouver Sun Run, something I’ve always wanted to do since I moved to B.C. I thought it would take me almost two hours, and to my surprise I completed it in an hour and 16 minutes. This year I am hoping I will complete it in an hour or slightly under.

My advice? I would say that walking into the gym may be the hardest part of the workout or just making sure you show up. The rest becomes easy through consistency!

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