SUPER slimmer Lindsey Cave had more than a fight with the flab on her hands as she battled back to fitness after cancer.
But after successful treatment and joining a Morpeth gym, the 25-year-old has turned her life around.
Not only has she returned to full health, but she has lost almost five stone in the process and earned a promotion at work.
Miss Cave, who lives in Longframlington, began to feel unwell about two years ago, but she never imagined how serious her condition would turn out to be.
In fact, she was diagnosed with troblastic disease, a rare form of tumour. She had to undergo intensive chemotherapy and spent a year in and out of hospital.
The treatment turned out to be a success, but it had taken its toll on the patient’s waistline, and Miss Cave’s weight problems only got worse as her confidence was knocked by her hair loss and the extra pounds.
“I was overweight before the illness, but it just added to it,” she said.
“Spending a year in hospital, I was quite unfit. I used to be so active so it was hard, but just even climbing the stairs used to leave me out of breath.”
Returning to work as a check-in agent at Newcastle Airport about a year ago, and the opportunity of a promotion to work in aircraft dispatch, gave Miss Cave the push she needed to hit the gym and in January last year she signed up at Energie Ladies Fitness in Sanderson Arcade.
“I decided that because I had put on a lot of weight through being ill that I needed to do something about it,” she said.
“I had never been to a gym before and I never bothered to do exercise, I was not an athletic type at all. It was a bit daunting going along for the first time because I thought it would be full of stick thin people, but when I got there they were just ordinary people trying to look after themselves.”
Miss Cave was put on a programme to match her goals and the results have been dramatic.
Since joining she has dropped from a size 22 to a size 10/12, losing 4st 12lb.
But more than that, she has made new friends, acquired a love of running and gained the confidence and fitness she needed to land her dream job.
“I never thought I would end up losing as much weight as I have, but it is just a case of being healthy,” she said.
“Had I not lost the weight it would have been really tough to do the job I’m doing in aircraft dispatch because I have to go up and down stairs a lot and it would have been a huge problem for me.
“I love running now and I was never the kind of person who would go running, the thought made me feel sick, but I have gradually built my stamina up and now I can run on the treadmill for an hour at a time.
“For anybody thinking of joining the gym I would say just come along, there’s no judgement and it is more like a social life than anything. Everybody speaks to each other and the instructors are really friendly and encouraging.”
She added: “I don’t think I would have ever joined the gym if I hadn’t been unwell. It was the push I needed to improve my health and look after myself. It was a wake-up call.”
Last year Miss Cave raised £250 for Cancer Research UK in a 5km run, and this year she hopes to get a team from the gym together to try a 10km run.
Energie Manager Charlotte Dodson said: “We are all really proud of Lindsey and think she has done amazingly well.
“When you are not well just getting out of bed is hard so you really have to push yourself to do exercise. People think if they are ill they should stay away from the gym, but it is a good place to start because it makes you feel better and it gives you more energy. It feels like the road to recovery. It is lovely to see members achieve things and Lindsey has done brilliantly.”