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An embarrasing remark prompted Ruth to turn her life around


Ruth Armes joined Fernwood Loganholme in January 2012 after a dream trip to Vanuatu turned into a nightmare. On the flight home, Ruth struggled to get the aeroplane seatbelt done up. The gentleman seated next to her kindly informed her that the aircraft had seatbelt extenders. Horrified and extremely embarrassed, Ruth knew it was time for change.

Over the next 18 months she dropped 30kg – from 105kg to 75kg – to become the fittest she has ever been – and she did it all while struggling with scoliosis and knee problems.

In July this year Ruth was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma and had major surgery, removing 27 lymph nodes from her knee, groin and pelvis. Her prognosis isn’t brilliant, but Ruth remains optimistic and grateful that her new lifestyle has put her in a better position to beat this cancer.

What was your ‘light bulb’ moment?

“There were two moments, within days of each other. When flying back from Vanuatu in January 2012, I was struggling to fasten my seatbelt. The gentleman next to me politely told me there were extension seatbelts available if required. I was mortified. A couple of days later, I went to Fraser Island with my son and his girlfriend and we walked down to a lake. The return trip had hundreds of steps, and I honestly thought I was going to die walking up them.”

Why did you choose Fernwood over other gyms or programs?

“I chose Fernwood because I was very embarrassed with how I looked. However, even though I now look a lot better, I wouldn’t go anywhere else.

Fernwood is not just a gym; it is a support group, a learning place and a social club. Since my diagnosis with cancer, the support I have received from all the trainers and the gym owner has been unbelievable. I couldn’t attend the gym while recuperating; however a week did not go by without at least one of the trainers from my Fernwood dropping by.”

What was or has been the most challenging thing?

“The most challenging thing I have done is overcome bad eating habits. You can exercise as much as you like, but you are what you eat. I am a sugar junkie and love sweets, chocolates and bad carbs. Initially I cut them all out, but over the last 12 months have learnt how to balance my diet to include a treat at times.”

What aspects of your club do you enjoy most and why?

“I enjoy all aspects of my club, but if I had to name a couple of things, I would say the classes – in particular boxing and weight training classes.”

What has been the biggest thing you have learnt thus far?

“Doing weight training is not going to turn me into a female Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it will give me body shape! I have also learnt that being fit and healthy can also be heaps of fun, and I have taken part in bootcamps, beach bootcamps, Foxy challenges, obstacle courses and fun runs.”

What do you think was your key to success?

“My key to success was the determination I had to succeed and the care and support given to me by my trainer and all the other trainers, member motivators and the group fitness instructors at Fernwood Loganholme.”

How has losing weight, getting fit and being healthy changed your life?

“Losing weight and getting fit not only changed my life, but it’s also probably saved my life. I have recently been diagnosed with cancer, and I feel I am in a better place physically and mentally to deal with the trials and treatments ahead – and I owe this to Fernwood.”

What advice would you give to someone thinking about joining Fernwood?

“If you are serious about losing weight and improving your health and wellbeing, then do it. Fernwood has everything you need to help you along on your journey with their gyms, Food Coaching, support and friendship.”

*Fernwood client testimonial was achieved as part of an overall healthy diet and exercise plan. Regular exercise and proper diet are necessary to achieve and maintain weight loss. Consult your healthcare professional before beginning any diet or fitness program.