My name is Danielle and there are many things I could start off telling you about myself.
Like how I have always been overweight my entire life, even as a child. I was always the biggest kid in my grade. I was bullied throughout my entire childhood for being fat. There has never been a point in my life where I haven’t fallen into the obesity category.
Or I could tell you about how an eating disorder, Bulimia Nervosa, consumed me for 14 years and almost killed me in 2009, which led to a 9 month hospitalization at a treatment facility in Guelph, Ontario where, once physically stabilized and my heart was no longer in danger of stopping, I went through an intense recovery program that included a variety of different therapeutic approaches such as group therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, one on one counselling and several other targeted therapies. I am proud to say that except for a few minor relapses, I have been able to maintain my recovery from bulimia nervosa to this day. Every day I fight to stay on track.
Or I could tell you about how I am an amputee. In 2010 I was in a very serious car accident that almost took my life. After weeks in a coma I woke to find that my entire body had been mangled beyond recognition. My face was beyond recognizable. My back had been broken and I was told I may never walk again. My knees had been crushed as well as my chest cavity. But the biggest damage was on my left side. I had lost my arm and half of my breast. Never again would I ever be the same. I had a choice to make at this point. Do I lay there on my back for the rest of my life and have other people tend to my every need? Or do I clench my teeth, cry my way through the pain, and get my life back in order? I chose the latter. Now today I am back on my feet and going strong. I spent almost 2 years in physiotherapy and I can walk just as I could before the accident. I have adjusted well with only one arm and everything is second nature to me now.
I should be happy right? I’m alive! I can walk! But there’s one BIG problem. I am morbidly obese. Through the years I continuously gained weight and in April 2016 I tipped the scales at 369 pounds. Desperation set in. My body was constantly swollen. Every joint ached all day, every day. I never wanted to leave my house out of sheer embarrassment, for fear of being seen, judged, just like what I went through ever day as a child. I feel their stares, I hear local kids giggle behind my back and I turn my eyes away from any mirrors I may see because I can’t handle to see my reflection.
This is a horrible way to live. Enough is enough. I’m only young and I’m not ready to die, especially not this way. While browsing some different websites for some hope and inspiration, one thing led to another and I came into contact with a wonderful woman who is a personal health and fitness coach and she took me on as her client. I then joined a challenge group and signed up for a program called the 21 Day Fix thus beginning my journey to a new and better, healthier me.
May of this year has marked to be one of the most transformational months of my life, both inside and out. I have learned what proper portion sizes look like. I now know what clean eating really means. I have also learned that I can do anything for just one minute! That burning, intense, crazy exercise move? 60 seconds! And those last 10 seconds? That’s when I found out how strong I truly am.
I am starting to understand now that I am a warrior, and that I work very hard. I am fighting for my life every day. I may not change the world, but I can walk at a steady pace for 30 minutes straight now and that is a start. I am losing weight, and I am sleeping better and feeling stronger than I have in years. My goals for each day are different now and even though these goals are not always met, the fact that I even keep going is a huge improvement. I have hope now. Hope for increasing wellness. I hope for continued weight loss. I hope for a continued improvement in my physical functioning and I hope for a long, healthier and happier life.
Also, I have proven to myself (and everyone else) that small changes can make a huge difference because … *insert drumroll* … My weight has went from a mind blowing 369lbs to 354lbs in round one of the 21 Day Fix. If I could do something so hard (yet so simple), then believe me when I say that you can too. Your life and your happiness depends on it.