“I can vividly remember the first time I walked into The Range Community Gym,” says Chrys, a 56 year old blogger and freelance writer.

“I was terrified!”

“I’d never set foot in a gym before. The only thing I knew about gyms was what I’d seen on The Biggest Loser. I honestly thought someone might put me on a treadmill and make me run until I threw up.”

But desperate times called for desperate measures and Chrys knew she had to lose weight.

“The year before, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer,” says Chrys.

“I was lucky they caught it early, but my gynaecologist warned my weight put me at high risk of the cancer recurring.”

Still, Chrys procrastinated about doing anything about her weight until, a few months after her surgery, she unexpectedly entered into a romantic relationship.

“He was lovely,” she says.

“He accepted me just as I was and never pushed me to lose weight. But, you know, it made me think, ‘It’s time’. “

“I didn’t hate myself or my body. But, being in love made me feel light and happy and I wanted my appearance to reflect that. I’d put the weight on like a big, warm, protective winter coat. When the sun came out, I felt I didn’t need it anymore.”

When Chrys walked into the gym in August 2013 she weighed nearly 127kg. Our gym instructor, Denis, devised a gentle, 20 minute program which took full account of Chrys’ lack of fitness and flexibility.

“I remember Denis introducing me to the treadmill,” says Chrys.

“He set it at 4.5km per hour and I felt like I was running! I said, ‘I can’t walk that fast.’”

“Denis said, ‘OK, we’ll make it a bit slower.’”

“Then he suggested I walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes.”

“I said, ‘I can’t walk for that long’!”

“So, he said, ‘Well, let’s see how long you can walk for.”

“Then, he got me chatting to the fellow on the next treadmill. It took my mind off what I was doing and before I knew it, Denis was grinning as he said, ’That’s 10 minutes! You did it!”

“He’s been conning me into doing more than I think I’m capable of ever since!”

Chrys coupled her gym workouts with a calorie controlled diet and soon added walking and swimming to her weekly routine.

“As I started to lose weight, people at the gym began to notice. Their tips, encouragement and compliments kept me going,” she says.

“It’s a remarkably warm and supportive community.”

Ultimately, it took Chrys just 18 months to lose 65kg, dropping from a size 24 to size 10-12. She recently completed her second 5km fun run.

“I never, ever thought I could run!” she says, “But, it turns out I’m not too bad at it!”

“I won’t lie and say I love working out,” she confides, “but I don’t hate it either.”

“I think of working out as the rent I have to pay to keep my new body. And, while I’d still rather sleep in than go for a run, I do love being able to stroll into a boutique and slip into a pair of size 10 jeans! It’s all been worth it.”

And the question she is asked most about her remarkable transformation?

“Everyone wants to know whether, after such a significant weight loss, I’ve ended up looking like a Shar Pei puppy,” she laughs.

“The answer is, ‘No’. “

“Sure! I don’t look like Elle McPherson, but I recently wore a bikini on Noosa Beach and felt absolutely comfortable. If you lose weight at a sensible rate and combine it with gentle toning exercises there’s no reason why you should look unsightly after weight loss. See Chrys in the Hinterland Times