Obesity Centre Brussels sponsors British climber Adriana on her way to a world record and childhood dream

By February 21, 2022Uncategorized

The 21-year-old British climber Adriana Brownlee is finding fame with her hobby, a slightly unusual one: mountain climbing, and chasing a world record. This is no sudden impulse, but a childhood dream she has never let go. Adriana inspires and motivates young people to chase their dreams, get enough exercise and aim for a healthy lifestyle. What a fantastic message!

Adriana Brownlee, photo from Instagram profile
We wanted to get to know Adriana better and ask her a few questions. So we met up with her the way we all meet now, in a Team call. To judge by the background noise, she was sitting in a cosy pub. Her sparkling enthusiasm was the first thing that struck us. She told us about her experiences, inspirations, tips for a healthier lifestyle and quest to break a world record. We can’t wait to share our inspiring conversation with you.




14 x 8000 meter

Meet the 14 highest mountains in the world. They are all more than 8000 metres high, and Mount Everest, at 8850 metres, is the highest of them all. Here is a list to give you an idea.

14 x 8000 metres - The 14 highest mountains in the world

Only 44 people have ever managed to climb all 14 mountains successfully. Adriana hopes that she will soon be able to add her name to that list. And not just that – Adriana is going for a world record. She wants to be the youngest person every to climb all 14 8000-metre peaks.

The current record was set by Mingma Gyabu “David” Sherpa. He was just 30 years and 166 days old when he completed his last climb after 9 years, on 20 October 2019.

Other people are not aiming to be the youngest, but the fastest. Take Nirmal “Nims” Purja, for example, the man who smashed the previous record of 7 years and 310 days. Everyone was dumbstruck when Nims climbed all 14 8000 metre peaks in less than 7 months. His extraordinary achievement gained eternal fame in the Netflix documentary “14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible”. A great show if you ask us.

Childhood dream

Adriana’s inner adventurer was awakened by her father, Tony Brownlee. As a fervent mountaineer himself, he passed his passion on to her. “My dad was the one who gave me a taste of the mountaineering life”, Adriana begins. “We did the Three Peaks 24-hour Challenge together. I was 9; other kids of my age were into dolls or football. I went climbing mountains. It was an indescribable experience, but an extremely tough one too.” They completed the challenge in just 22 hours. Adriana was the centre of attention, because in 2010, at the age of 9, she was the youngest ever to complete the challenge.

She wrote a letter to her older self: “I want to be the youngest woman ever to climb the highest mountains in the world.”

Years later, that is exactly what she is doing. She keeps us up to date with her website, Facebook and Instagram accounts on her training, achievements and progress through her online channels. Her aim is to inspire others. What began as a childhood dream is now her mission.

Adriana’s planning

Adriana Brownlee on the way to a world record
She set out on her quest in 2021, in the middle of the pandemic. “The plan is to tick off all 14 climbs by 2024.” That will put her firmly below the current world record. By the end of 2021, she had already crossed 3 mountains off her list: Everest, Dhaulagiri and Manaslu. There are another 6 scheduled for 2022, including the third, fourth and fifth highest peaks, better known as Kangchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu. The last 5 will follow in 2023.

By now Adriana is an experienced climber, but she still experiences nerves. She is especially nervous about Annapurna, the deadliest mountain. One in four climbers does not survive the trip. Statistics like those would scare some people off, but Adriana gets both healthy stress and an adrenaline kick. She has got into difficulties herself in the past.

It was a moment she will never forget. She was one week into the expedition when it happened. “The climb to the summit took about 18 hours. I was feeling fantastic, and everything was going well. I didn’t suspect at thing. My guide and I decided to stay at the summit a bit longer than the others.” Things went wrong during the descent. “I started getting tired and felt that my energy level was way below zero. To begin with I couldn’t explain it, but the reason soon became clear: my oxygen tank was empty.” There was nobody around and no communications.

There was no way back; the only option was to continue the descent. It took 10 hours longer than planned, but eventually she arrived safely back at the camp. Luckily for her.

Adriana’s absolute must haves on a climb

“There are many ways of climbing a mountain. Pure glamping style, with cooks and luxury tents, for example. I prefer to keep it ‘simpler’,” Adriana says. “Although there are a few things I always take with me, such as a good face cream. The cold air has a disastrous effect on my skin. Without my face cream, my skin and lips would be completely messed up. I always take coffee with me as well. I barely function without my morning coffee,” Adriana admits. She also has her “lucky mountain sweets”: liquorice.

So what is her ultimate weapon? The company she keeps. Her support network that she can rely on through thick and thin. In Adriana’s case, this means her support network during a climb, but we can apply the same principle to our daily lives. All of us need a support network. It is a fact that your support network is really important in your fight against obesity or excess weight in general.

List of Adriana’s must haves

10 incredible minutes

Most people think that the most fantastic moment is when you reach the summit. “The best part is the 30 metres before the summit. The moment when you see the summit, you see the finishing line. That’s when all the stress drains out of your body. Ten incredible minutes of pure emotion before you reach the summit. It’s a magical feeling. Indescribable”, Adriana tells us.

A healthy lifestyle is a question of balance

Despite her less accessible hobby, Adriana does not seek out extremes. Although it hasn’t always been that way. When she was a teenager, her self-image was enormously influenced by social media. She started intensive sports training eating less, until she was burning more calories than she was eating. She hoped that would make her look like the athletes, models and actresses on Instagram. It took her some time, but ultimately Adriana realised something important: every body is different and everyone has a different metabolism. No two people are the same. 

Quote Adriana


The dangers of social media

So don’t drive yourself crazy with everything you see on social media. There is no such thing as the perfect body. Images like these can often be a trigger, and not always in a good way. They might encourage some people to work on their weight, but others may find them an emotional trigger for binge eating. Our tip for you: Observe the influence that certain images and specific profiles have on you. Unfollow the profiles that don’t make you happy or have a negative influence on you. A healthy lifestyle is all about finding the right balance. That balance is missing in both anorexia and obesity. The importance of good role models like Adriana is essential to create a realistic image. That is exactly why we want to support Adriana.

The importance of a healthy lifestyle

Overweight and obesity are an increasing problem, sometimes leading to severe health problems. The Covid-19 pandemic really highlighted how dangerous obesity can be. Obesity turned out to be one of the biggest risk factors for ending up in intensive care. Obesity both reduces the effectiveness of our immune system and triples the risk of being hospitalised with Covid-19.

Even aside from Covid-19, obesity and overweight are a problem for society. That is proved by the rising global figures. In the United States, a staggering 40% of the population is obese. In Belgium, 28% of people are affected, including 8% of children. That figure has tripled in 20 years. The problem is often a combination of an unhealthy diet and insufficient exercise.

Along with Adriana, we want to change this. So we are really enthusiastic about supporting her mission.

Adriana’s tips for a healthy lifestyle

Today Adriana is proud of herself and her body. She wants to inspire people of all ages to feel the same way. Everything begins with a healthy lifestyle, but that isn’t always easy. That is why Adriana has a few tips to share:

  1. Set goals in the form of habits
  2. Go for one habit at a time
  3. Write down every morning what you want to do that day
  4. Seek your passion
  5. Make sure you get enough exercise
  6. Be kind to yourself
  7. Remember: your body is unique
  8. Listen to your body

The importance of chasing dreams and setting goals

We recognise the importance of dreams and goals at the Obesity Centre Brussels as well. Dreams give us hope, goals give us strength. They are often a successful combination when learning new habits. Goals like ‘I want to lose 15 kilos’ often don’t work very well and can even be demotivating. They don’t help you progress. Adriana’s tip for setting goals in the form of habits is a good idea. It gives you something tangible and feasible to aim for, without putting all the weight of the world on your shoulders. For example, choose a goal such as “I want to eat a piece of fruit or a vegetable with every meal”. That is far more motivating.

We want to inspire young people to choose a healthy lifestyle. The sooner you adopt a healthy lifestyle, the better. It’s better to prevent yourself from becoming overweight than to cure it. That’s an old cliché, but it’s still true.

The importance of getting enough exercise

Admittedly Adriana’s hobby isn’t the most accessible sport to get into. But you don’t need to climb mountains to have a healthy lifestyle. All the same, sufficient exercise really is important. Just 30 minutes of physical activity a day offers great benefits:

  • Increased total energy consumption
  • Reduced fat
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Improved peace of mind

The beneficial influence of sport is indisputable, and people with a high BMI and obesity also experience many positive effects, as Harvard research has shown.

Exercise is essential to prevent excessive weight gain and to fight obesity. So you don’t need to do intense sports training every day.

Sport with a personal coach

We believe in a multidisciplinary approach to the fight against obesity: diet, exercise, a good support network and possibly surgery. In every facet of this approach, we offer our clients personal coaching. The last thing you should do is fight obesity on your own. That is why we offer all the patients at our centre an individual exercise programme, in partnership with our physiotherapists.

We also organise group sessions every two weeks, to motivate each other and encourage each other to give the best of ourselves during lessons and elsewhere.

We believe it is our social duty to prevent overweight and obesity as well as treating them. Obesity in young children is a growing problem. We want to contribute to inspiring young children to take up sports and chase their dreams.

Do you want to find out more about Adriana and her quest for the world record?

Follow the whole story on her website or Instagram, but we will keep you up to date too.

Want more information or personal advice on a healthy lifestyle or sports?

Do you have any questions related to embarking on a new lifestyle or how to do sports when you’re overweight? Feel free to contact us. We will be happy to answer all your questions.

Yannick Nijs

Author Yannick Nijs

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