CHANGES: Tanya Harris has documented her weight-loss changes.
CHANGES: Tanya Harris has documented her weight-loss changes. Contributed

Dedication has Tanya Harris on right path to a healthy life

WHEN Tanya Harris's mother passed away in May, Tanya vowed she would continue down the path towards a healthier life that she had started three months earlier.

The 47-year-old, who lives on a small beef cattle farm in Fairney View, took part in Belgravia Leisure's Be Active 12-week challenge at the Fernvale Indoor Sports Centre.

Beginning in February, she lost 10kg across the three month period - a total of 9.49 per cent body fat - that not only saw her win the local challenge, but place fifth Australia wide.

She had held a gym membership since August 2017 but had only been a handful of times.

"I had put on heaps of weight as I had had one of the most stressful years of my life in 2017 and I turned to food for comfort and I also enjoy eating the wrong foods," Mrs Harris said.

"I knew what I was doing was bad for my health but I seemed to be in a dark hole that I couldn't find my way out of and sadly I didn't care."

With the encouragement of her children, Mrs Harris decided that 2018 was going to be a different story.

Upon arriving at the Fernvale centre in January, she was informed about the upcoming fitness challenge and made the call to take it on.

It was a decision that changed her life.

"The last time I fitted into the size I am now I was actually another 8kg lighter but I have never been this fit, strong or active since I have left high school," she said.

"Life is so precious I don't want to waste a minute more hiding and being embarrassed by how I look. I want to be able to experience new adventures by being fit and healthy. I want to step out of my comfort zone and live life to the fullest. It could all be a distant memory tomorrow."

During week seven of the challenge, Mrs Harris's mother took a turn for the worst.

"Normally I would go to pieces and cope by eating chocolate and junk food but instead this time I have turned my pain into a workout," she wrote at the time.

"I have found a release from the hurt by putting on my headphones and just rowing, cycling or walking on the treadmill. I have cried many private tears where no one can see me. When I finish exercising I have felt a sense of calm and courage to face the day ahead."

The day she found out she had won the challenge, her mum was admitted to Ipswich Hospice.

"Even though I was happy about winning, it was met with mixed emotions. I have been on an emotional roller coaster as Mum and I were very close but since I have become a regular at the gym, I have found solace in putting my sadness into healthy living and exercise," she said.

"My mum made me promise her that I would take care of myself, something that us mothers forget to do."

Her fitness journey is far from over and she will continue on with her personal trainer and is set to sign up for another challenge held at the gym at the end of July.

"I will also continue to join in the classes as I look forward to them all and the fellowship of new friends," she said.

"Being on a challenge is a great way to start a new habit, meet people who are on the same journey as you and be encouraged and motivated while being supported by people who care. "I am happy that I have lost this weight but I am only halfway there. I wished I had done this sooner."

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