Benita Murray was terrified when she returned from Fiji in October 2004 and took one look at her holiday snaps.
A decision to do away with the unfamiliar 75.4kg figure looking back at her was immediately made.
"I couldn't believe I had put on that much weight without noticing," the New Plymouth woman said.
"At that point I knew I had to do something about it."
And do something she did.
The 36-year-old insurance broker immediately joined Weight Watchers and in almost eight years has managed to lose - and keep off - 21.3kg.
The mother of one was recently named one of six semifinalists in the weight-loss company's Australasia Healthy Life Awards.
Mrs Murray said the secret to her success had been to eat "proper" meals, which had not always been the case at the time of her and husband Andrew's Fijian holiday.
"My husband was the hostel master up at Francis Douglas at the time.
"We ate at the hostel, and while that food's good for teenage boys, it's not always good for everybody else," she said.
A goal to climb Mt Taranaki in the summer of 2005 soon got the ball rolling.
"I started walking from Westown to my job in town every day in preparation for that.
"It was good to have something to aim for."
She ticked off the mountain climb in March 2005, and her goal weight of 60kg a week later - a loss of 15kg in five months.
Mr Murray also adopted his wife's healthy-living regime, having dropped 30kg since he arrived home from Fiji.
"We both decided we needed to look after ourselves better. And he was just happy to eat everything I gave him as well," Mrs Murray said.
As well as running four half-marathons each, Mrs Murray said gaining confidence had been the biggest achievement for her.
"That has been the main thing for me. There's been lots of things confidence-wise that I would have never done."
She said her mantra was to allow herself the odd treat, without going overboard.
"We still have takeaways, and I still love chocolate and eat it. Moderation is the key.
"You still need to allow yourself to have those things, because if you don't, you end up pigging out."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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