WHEN 13-year-old Mitchell Luders died in August his mum Rochelle was size 20, addicted to diet coke and had high blood pressure.

The family had spent four years in and out of hospitals and seeing specialists as young Mitchell battled a rare and aggressive cancer in his abdomen. 

The witty teen spent his final days at the family home in Gladstone. It was then his mum promised to change her lifestyle. 

And so instead of falling into a pit of depression after her youngest son died, the mum of three kept her promise. 

Nine months later she is 47kg lighter and her wardrobe is filled with size eight outfits. 

After Mitchell died Rochelle willed herself to put on her shoes and go for a walk every day. 

At first it was a way to escape, to find some peace and quiet in the weeks following Mitchell's death. 

But she soon found exercise was a way to channel her grief into something positive and honour her promise to be healthier. 

MASSIVE LOSS: Mum Rochelle Luders has shed 47 kilos as part of a promise to her son Mitchell who died in August after a four-year battle with cancer.
MASSIVE LOSS: Mum Rochelle Luders has shed 47 kilos as part of a promise to her son Mitchell who died in August after a four-year battle with cancer. Paul Braven

Rochelle kicked her 15-year diet coke addiction and changed her diet, doing her best to cut sugar out entirely.

Within a short time she had lost 20 kilos. 

Then she plucked up the courage to join a gym. 

For Rochelle it was a nerve racking experience.

She was still overweight and felt she wouldn't fit in with the skinny, fit people she often saw working out in gyms.

However the moment she walked through the door at Gladstone Physio and Fitness she felt instantly comfortable. 

For six months Rochelle has taken at least one class a day, changing between pilates, circuits and aqua fitness.

st one class a day, changing between pilates, circuits and aqua fitness.

That's on top of a weekly personal training session and extra workout sessions using a program tailored for her.

Her blood pressure has dropped and high cholesterol is no longer a concern.

Mitchell Luders in 2014.
Mitchell Luders in 2014. Brenda Strong

Now she has enough energy to go stand-up paddle boarding with her daughter or for a run along the beach. 

"Those are things I wouldn't have been able to do before," Rochelle said. 

"I feel like this hasn't only been positive for me, but for my daughter too. 

"There's no hard and fast fix or diet recipe, but it's never too late. You just have to put on your shoes and go. 

"Ultimately our story is tragic. I always thought I would have more time when Mitchell was better… but it didn't turn out that way," Rochelle said.

"There are still days when I feel like crawling back into that hole of sadness. 

"But instead I go to the gym and feel like I've achieved something." 

"If I can do it anyone can."  

MASSIVE LOSS: Mum Rochelle Luders has shed 47 kilos as part of a promise to her son Mitchell who died in August after a four-year battle with cancer.
MASSIVE LOSS: Mum Rochelle Luders has shed 47 kilos as part of a promise to her son Mitchell who died in August after a four-year battle with cancer. Paul Braven


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