Ngawai's kids were the reason she did a search and found Sport Waikato's Green Prescription programme - and signed up.
She saw her children heading down the same unhealthy path and realised she didn't want that for them.
"They started having an appetite for processed food and goodies, and I saw they were heading for the same future as me and they became my motivation to make a change," said Ngawai.
"I had been going to the gym regularly and had lost 10 kgs, but then I got a job promotion, found my time was minimal and stopped going. The weight piled back on and I found I was making unhealthy food choices again. I was making excuses that I had no time, family etc."
Ngawai's Green Prescription coordinator Hayley provided support and enthusiasm which made her realise that although some major changes had happened in her life, it was no excuse to not pay attention to her health.
Newly diagnosed as a diabetic due to unhealthy lifestyle and gestational diabetes through her last pregnancy, she realised her diabetes management wasn’t going well either.
"I looked through the internet for something to help me and found everything was costly or had chemicals disguised as smoothies or pills. I found Green Prescription, liked the description and signed up."
Ngawai likes the tips and motivation Hayley suggested, which gave her a new sense of determination and made it easier knowing she would have support behind her all the way.
"I like that you can incorporate it into your everyday life, and that it has put me in the right positive frame of mind. I believe this has really helped in my journey. I also really like how supportive Hayley is and her enthusiasm."
While her job has been demanding at times and she had found it hard to eat properly, now she makes sure to premake her lunch at home to avoid going to the shop too often and avoids snacking at home.
She has also changed her main meal to the middle of the day and has a smaller meal at dinner time.
"When I want a snack, I eat a piece of fruit. I keep a bottle at my desk at all times for water and drink often throughout the day. I realised that exercise doesn’t have to be boring or always at the gym, so I keep more active by doing YouTube stuff with the kids at home. A popular choice is jump jam and kids yoga."
While lockdown has been difficult with the cupboards more full than usual, it's also been a success as she had more time to prepare meals and make new dishes, with less takeaways. Because of this, Ngawai has had more success getting her youngest to eat vegetables and enjoy them. Time has also allowed them to go out for walks more often and be more active.
Ngawai has some great tips for those wanting to start their own journey to better health.
"Make changes gradually. I would use a teaspoon less sugar in my drinks, do that for a bit and gradually keep going until you don’t need it anymore. It makes it easier to stick to your goals. A positive mindset helps achieve your goals to and I use the Mentemia app which is great and Kiwi made."
"The Green Prescription programme has made quite a positive impact on my direction in healthy living, and although I still have a long way to go, with the support and encouragement from Hayley, I know I can do it and enjoy it with my family."
Start your own journey with Green Prescription