Beating the odds
"INSPIRING" is the word many of the women attending Ann Armstrong's classes use to describe their teacher.
All of them lost weight and many of them thought Ann's program had added years to their lives.
Ms Armstrong has been running the Beat It program at the Grafton School of Arts over the past few months.
The program helps people living with a chronic illness get fit and active.
Gulmarrad resident Pauline Grabham credited the program with helping her lose weight, become more active and get her diabetes under control.
Now she's planning a trip to the Americas to celebrate the new her.
"I thought it was great," Ms Grabham said.
Ms Grabham was diagnosed with type two diabetes about 12 months ago and her doctor recommended the program to her.
Her employer, North Coast TAFE, kindly gave her sick leave to attend the classes.
"I've lost weight and I'm a lot fitter than I was," she said.
"It's also returned my insulin readings back to normal and I'm really pleased with that. I think more people should participate because there's a lot of people in the Clarence Valley who could benefit from this."
Leanne Donnelly, of Ulmarra, was also super positive.
"I'm diabetic and I was encouraged to take part by my doctor," she said.
Ms Donnelly lost weight, improved her health and said the change had made her working life easier.
"Ann's been great with encouragement and not saying you're going to lose weight straight away," she said.
"I think it's helped and my husband, who's been a great support, says I've lost weight and it improved my energy and fitness levels."
Ms Donnelly said the classes, which only cost $80 for two sessions a week over eight weeks, were also great value.
Ann Armstrong said she was thrilled to see the good results of people attending her classes.
She said one woman lost 22kg, although everyone finished the program with some weight loss.
"I had another lady who had never exercised and had type one diabetes," Ms Armstrong said.
"Now she's doing high-impact classes."
There will be another Beat It program starting in late September in Grafton and people who live with a chronic illness are encouraged to enrol after medical clearance with their GP.
Men are encouraged to attend and take control of their health.