A grandmother from Thurrock has transformed her life with help from a leisure centre in Thurrock.
Rachael Truss has always battled with her weight, but after suffering a prolapsed disc in an accident 10 years ago; her weight ballooned to more than 15 stone.
“I’ve tried every diet and exercise DVD out there but nothing ever had much effect. After my accident it was impossible for me to move around much for a few years so I put on even more weight than ever,” says the 46 year old.
Two years ago Rachael went swimming at Impulse Leisure Blackshots Ladies Night and noticed two women who “swam like fish”.
“I approached one of them and asked how she could swim so well. Her name was Lesley Baxendale and she told me she ran a Swim Fit class at Impulse Leisure Belhus and I was welcome to come along.
“I mentioned it to my mum and we both absolutely loved the class; Lesley was so friendly and supportive.
“We couldn’t swim properly at all, but we attended every week from that moment on and gradually learnt breast stroke and front crawl. We now swim one mile (64 lengths) every Thursday and it’s all thanks to Lesley.”
Then last summer, Rachael decided to overhaul her diet by joining Slimming World and also to up her exercise.
“I started to increase my classes at the gym. Firstly with a Spin class and then Pilates. At first I found it really hard.
“I was self conscious of how unfit I was, but week after week I got fitter and better. So I increased my classes again to include Urban Rebound and Legs, Bums and Tums.
“My mum, who is almost 70, came along to all the classes too.”
“I occasionally went into the gym to weigh myself on the Bodytrax machine and got a lot of advice and encouragement from the fitness instructor,” she says.
One year on and Rachael has lost a whopping four stone to reach her target weight. Now a size 10, she typically takes part in six classes a week, does cardio and weights in the gym and swims one mile in the pool.
“It has given me so much confidence. I never used to want to go out and definitely not on my own.
“Now I go for walks and attend classes with and without mum.”
Rachael’s advice for others stuck in a weight loss rut is to combine healthy eating with exercise.
“I was never the sort of person to enjoy going to the gym but that’s all changed now. The clubs are so friendly that I feel completely at ease and love working out. It’s totally changed my life.”