“Who knew there was a little person under all that fat? I never thought I’d see her again.
Thirty years of struggling with diets and repetitive patterns.
Decades of shame and self-blame.
Moments of hope and shadows of success, followed by despair and that feeling like nothing will ever work.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m an optimistic person. I’ve always been the glass-half-full gal. I never wanted to give up. I’d grab on to any saying that would speak to me:
- If you can dream it, you can do it.
- If your reason isn’t big enough, your excuses will be.
- You are more than any one moment.
Yet, none of these sayings told me how to make changes in my life. I just couldn’t figure out why I could not get this right. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to succeed. I remember time after time, sitting with my husband after investing in a new weight loss program and being excited about the idea that this might just be the answer.
One can only do this so many times before becoming disillusioned about whether it is even possible. I had almost given up.
What’s worse is that through all the terrible habits, I was damaging my health continuously. When I think about all the diet drinks and artificial sweeteners I was consuming, it was criminal. Between bouts of starving and deprivation, followed by gorging myself and consuming oodles of foods with preservatives and chemicals, no wonder my body was sick.
I remember the day I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I was always proud that I had perfect blood pressure, but then one day my boyfriend, Wes, and I were goofing around at a drugstore and decided to sit down and take our blood pressure. Mine was sky high. I thought something must be wrong with the machine but from the insistence of Wes I went to the doctor. In the doctor’s office, I remember the horror on his face as the monitor read 180/140. He said, “You need to go to the hospital now and you can’t drive yourself. Either I’ll call an ambulance or you call someone to drive you.”
They call blood pressure the silent killer because it can sneak up on you without you knowing. Yes, I felt lousy and had headaches but I had rationalized that it was just the way I was. Big surprise! After that, I was on blood pressure pills.
High blood pressure was the beginning of the realization that I was not healthy. I also began to have terrible heartburn, followed by many trips to the hospital thinking I was having a heart attack. Seeing a specialist eventually, he said I had acid reflux and my esophagus was not in good shape. He said I should lose weight but sent me away feeling ashamed with no suggestions for how to do this. I remember feeling so angry that he said it so matter-of-factly. Oh sure, just lose weight. It’s like I had not thought of that. Geez.
My knees have always been a bit of an issue, but in the last 10 years, they deteriorated fast. After three knee procedures, I finally went to a surgeon who agreed I needed a knee replacement—in both knees. Six months later, I had the surgery for one and that was one of the most painful procedures I’ve endured. It’s not just the surgery, it’s the excruciating recovery. The worst part was that I had constant inflammation that I just couldn’t get down. I had to constantly ice and monitor how much I was on my feet. I tried acupuncture and it did help, but it wasn’t a cure.
My doctor said I was pre-diabetic. This was no surprise to me as my dad was diabetic and somehow I just expected this would happen to me. Isn’t that sad? It was like a self-fulfilling prophecy. My grandparents were diabetics and my dad was a severe diabetic, so I just thought it was my destiny and was starting to happen. I actually didn’t think there was much I could do about this.
Besides all the health concerns, I also had emotional challenges happening with my weight gain. I couldn’t go to a store to try on clothes without my guts knotting up as I fought tears. I couldn’t believe how big I had become and when I stared at myself in the mirror of the dressing room, it was a stranger looking back at me. I was disgusted with that image and there were many, many inner conversations with myself that resulted in such deep humiliation. I have had many blessings in my life, but it was in these moments that I could see that I was diving into a world of no return.
My daughter now says that she remembers how I “was” at Christmas last year and had resigned herself to the fact that I may not be around much longer. The interesting thing is she never said that out loud. My family had always encouraged my efforts to improve my health but I had tried so many strategies that I was now deeply embarrassed that I just couldn’t get it right. I’m sure they were frustrated too. I can’t imagine how it must have been, watching me deteriorate and not knowing how to help.
Then I decided to try this Wildfit program that my girlfriend had success with. I thought it was expensive at the time. I think it was because I had failed so many times, I didn’t want to throw my money away again. If I had known then what I know now, I would have never given it a second thought. I also never stopped to think about all the money I was spending on medications or on the food I was eating.
We tend to be rather short-sighted about these kinds of things. We only see what’s immediately in front of us. All I knew was that I needed to do something. This was a 90-day challenge that held promises to change my health. I loved that it didn’t promote weight loss, it promoted health. I remember saying to my husband that this was it. I knew I needed to dive in with both feet and follow the 90 days exactly. I held on to the hope that this might be the answer.
As I listened to Eric Edmeades talk in the first few weeks, everything he said made so much sense. I was rapidly learning things I did not know. I was learning about my relationship with food and began to understand why previous attempts at weight loss had failed. I remember when I lost my first 6 pounds and was encouraged that I was on the right track. As I adjusted my menu weekly and followed the directions of the weekly changes, I gradually changed the way I was thinking about foods. I was steadily shedding pounds and inches, but I was also making a huge mindset shift.
It was about week 10 that I felt “wonky.” I couldn’t figure out what was going on because my energy had really increased. I went to the doctor and he said my blood pressure was low! Wow. What? I couldn’t believe that he took me completely off my medication saying to monitor it and see how it would level out. Within a week my blood pressure stabilized and I’ve been off this medication ever since.
In addition, my acid reflux had disappeared. I took myself off that medication. My allergies had subsided and I took myself off that medication. By the end of the challenge I had lost 30 pounds and was feeling empowered! I entered a contest about the progress made and I actually WON! WOOHOO! I had a lifetime membership to Wildfit. It was like winning the lottery. You should have seen me dance! So, I decided to enter a second challenge to support my continued journey.
Presently, I’ve released 57 pounds and continue to live Wildfit. I intend to release a total of about 70 pounds. The best news of all is that I went for a checkup and my doctor could not believe my physical changes. When I was weighed, he indicated that I had actually lost 62 pounds from my physical a year ago. My cholesterol level went from high to normal. My triglycerides went from very high to normal, which my doctor said was huge. This is the test that shows you are more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, which includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels. It also increases chances of getting kidney diseases. In addition to other great results, I am now no longer pre-diabetic. I actually fall in the NON-Diabetic levels. I have reversed my family history cycle! I came home from that physical appointment realizing that I can truly say I’m healthy.
When I took my measurements, I had lost 56 inches. I can hardly believe that number. I’ve lost 4.5 inches off my operated knee! The inflammation has finally gone down. I was scheduled for the other knee replacement and I cancelled it. I’m hoping I don’t ever need it with all that weight taken off my knee. Heck, I can even cross my knees. I haven’t done that in forever. My stomach was always in the way and my knees were too painful.
Besides all the physical transformations, my husband and I are loving the difference in our sexual energy. He has noticed that I’m not trying to hide myself anymore. I can get naked and be okay with it! That increases my confidence and ability to relax and enjoy being intimate with the love of my life. My husband has a new sparkle in his eye and he thanks Wildfit too! What’s also interesting is that my husband, as a side effect of eating what I’m cooking, also lost 14 pounds and he didn’t even didn’t need to lose weight. He has suffered from diverticulitis symptoms in the past and says he has never felt better.
There are countless benefits I’ve experienced by changing my diet. My heart sings! I am finally GOOD with that image in the mirror. I can do things I thought I’d never do again. I am active and energetic. I am a new Donna. Maybe it’s been about discovering that old Donna that I had buried deep below all that shame. Life is good and I owe it all to the Wildfit program, the incredible and supportive Wildfit team, and the coaches who have encouraged me along the way. I AM BACK.
I have re-written my future!” – Donna Nikiforuk
This is an amazing WildFit success story written by our very own WildFit Graduate, Donna Nikiforuk. She’ll inspire you!
You can also view Donna’s testimonial video here.
The truth is a healthy body doesn’t come from simply changing the foods you eat. It’s about changing the way you view food and the lifestyle you want to create for yourself. Not one singular thing can make you healthy, it’s combination of choices you make.
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