Lesley Acres

I am a Bidjara, Kairi woman with ties to Badu Island in the Torres Straits. I am 45 years old with 2 children, aged 16 and 13.

I have been overweight all my life from a sedentary lifestyle and was always trying to lose weight. With a family history of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma and high blood pressure, I knew I had to look after my health. I lost my dad to cancer when I was 13 and my mother at 20. Mum was only 59 when diabetes claimed her life.

In 2008, I was diagnosed with depression. Following this, I went through a terrible time at work where I developed anxiety, sleep problems and became a heavy drinker. My depression was at an all-time low and, whilst I never gave up on myself, I came close to it.

With my busy life and work commitments, it wasn’t until July 2015, weighing 92.6kg and on a cocktail of prescription drugs for anxiety, depression and sleeping problems that I made the time to meet with Kalka Mitchel, a personal trainer. I was desperate and at my biggest. I couldn’t walk my dog for 20 minutes before experiencing painful shin splints. Gradually, I worked myself up to walking 40 minutes a day, six days a week. I lost 8 kilos in the first month.

With Kalka’s support and guidance, I went on to lose another 19 kilos! I was blown away by the method of training and my shrinking body. I had never felt so alive and was so astounded by my new love for exercise that I was driving 6 days a week to Morayfield from Tingalpa to train.

I now weigh a healthy 52kg and have maintained this for nearly 2 years. I struggle with the attention of being an inspiration, though it is truly an honour to be seen as a positive person in people’s lives.

It’s like I’ve woken up after all those years and found myself again. I feel 25 not 45! I want to continue my peoples’ legacy of being the longest surviving race in this world.

Lesley Acres
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