SIX months ago, healthy eating and exercise were the last things on Treeni Crawley's mind.
In December, the Broadmeadows resident was overweight, had slipped discs in her back and experienced depression and anxiety.
Ms Crawley was unable to afford regular visits to an osteopath. So her doctor suggested she try the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute's Lift for Life program.
The program is conducted in small groups over six months in eight-week phases.
After each phase, follow-up assessments, program reviews and modifications are undertaken and a progress report is provided to participants. It focuses on diabetes control, increased muscle strength and a healthier weight.
Participants are given exercise routines and eating plans to follow.
The programs are run at the Broadmeadows, Craigieburn and Sunbury leisure centres.
Ms Crawley, a full-time carer for her son who has two serious diseases, said it was nice to have some time to herself.
"For years and years, I've just been doing the same thing, caring for others.
"I was getting bigger, I had problems eating, and the doctor said, 'If you don't look after yourself you can't look after others'."
Ms Crawley says the program results have been great.
"... I love going to the gym now.
"It's lowered my anxiety, depression and anger, and I've lost a lot of weight, a lot of centimetres; I've gone down from size 20 to a 14."
Ms Crawley has achieved not only her own health goals, she has even convinced her husband to join the program.
Her husband also experiences anxiety and panic attacks.
"I've got my husband going; he's got type2 diabetes," she says.
"He started a couple of weeks ago. He was a bit nervous and has had a couple of panic attacks, but he's doing well."
Ms Crawley says she's now eating more salads and vegetables and has increased her physical activity.
"It was all a challenge to start with because I'm a smoker. I was a gym person years ago, but when my son got sick everything ceased.
"To go back was the biggest challenge. I didn't think I could do it, but I did. I just love it."