AT 22, Hayley Beauchamp from North Nowra weighed 123.5kg and had fallen into a depression, rarely leaving the house for anything other than work.
Her 160cm frame struggled under excess weight, with family and friends concerned she could have a stroke or a heart attack at a young age.
That all changed last year when the former Nowra High student determined to lose the weight and start living healthily.
The now 23-year-old, who works at McDonald’s Restaurant, said she’d been overweight most of her life.
“Especially in high school. I was not so much bullied, but I was teased,” she said.
“I’d tried all kinds of diets – shakes and programs, dieticians.
“The doctor was always pushing me to lose weight.
“I got pretty down.”
She’d lost some weight here and there but then put it back on again.
It was May 2013 when she decided things had to change.
“I was down, I wasn’t doing anything. I figured I had to do something,” she said.
Hayley had considered lap band surgery, but instead decided to approach her parents for help with ordering Lite n’ Easy.
Around a month later, a friend whose mother worked at Heart and Soul Women’s Fitness Centre (known as Contours at the time) encouraged her to start a membership.
“I was going five days a week, sometimes seven – I’d do a workout at home if I didn’t go,” Hayley said.
She still works out at least five days a week, doing everything from cardio to weight training.
Hayley’s mum Anne said her daughter was a pretty determined young woman.
“If she wants to do something, she sticks to it,” Mrs Beauchamp said.
In the first week of eating well, even without exercise Hayley lost 3kg.
From there she lost 2-3kg a week, until it stabilised around 1kg a week.
One of Hayley’s friends developed a unique way to motivate her.
“He would keep up to date with how much I’d lost and get out his weights to the total, so I could see what it was I’d lost,” she said.
“It got to the point he didn’t have anything heavy enough.”
Today Hayley is 57kg lighter, weighing 66.5kg. She’s gone from wearing size 24 on the bottom and 22 on top to an average size 10-12 depending on make.
But the battle’s not over yet.
“I do still have some loose skin, so I will try to tone. Because of my age doctors think I should have a good chance [of tightening the skin],” she said.
Any surgery will have to wait until her weight has been stable for 12 months.
In the meantime the benefits have been myriad.
“I have more energy; I’m a lot more confident. People treat you differently,” she said.
“I have a lot of regular customers who keep up with my weight loss. They keep encouraging me.”
Before Hayley said she would eat what she wanted and when she wanted.
“I had no routine,” she said.
“Mentally now I have self-control – I didn’t have much before.”
Mrs Beauchamp said the big difference was portion size.
“She still has her favourite foods, but it’s portion controlled,” she said.
“We are so proud of her.
“And she looks good.”
The only downside so far?
“I have bought some clothes that I have only worn for a couple of weeks – or not at all,” she said.
“I bought something a while ago that was too tight, because it was on special. Now it’s getting too big.”
While Hayley knows cost can seem prohibitive for people looking to lose weight, she encouraged people in the position she was to make the change.
“It is possible to do it and change your life if you want to. You need the determination to do it. I have had some people say they can’t do Lite n’ Easy because of the cost, but you can still do [meal planning] for yourself.”