Who: Gabriela Porcina
City: Surrey, B.C.
By The Numbers: 220 pounds at my heaviest, currently 110 pounds, for a total weight loss of 110 pounds.
The Weight Gain: Growing up, my weight was fairly average and I was always quite thin through high school. As a teen, I weighed 100lbs. I was always on the skinny side, but never overweight. But my weight gain started after I got married. We were struggling to have children and I started receiving a hormone treatment every day for a year between 1990 and 1991, and I started gaining weight.
Final Straw: The final straw for me was in 2010. I knew I had to change my life around when the photographer at my son’s wedding took out all of the pictures that I was in because he thought I had ruined them. I never wanted that to happen again. Feeling determined, I started buying fitness magazines and started looking at what options I had ahead of me.
My 50s were approaching, menopause was starting and I wasn't happy with myself, physically or emotionally. I knew I had to make a change before it was too late. No one in my circle of friends or my family believed that I could do it, so I set out to prove them wrong.
The Plan of Attack: On my 50th birthday on February 19th, 2013, I started by changing my diet and exercising for an hour every day. It took me 18 months to lose 110lbs with the help of a trainer. I lost 60lbs in the first year and another 50lbs six months later.
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The Exercise Factor: In same same month, I joined the Steve Nash Fitness World in Delta, B.C. and immediately hired Clifford Dantier, a 9th place Mr. Universe finalist, as my personal trainer.
I told him that I wanted to focus on working on my arms. He told me that what I was really asking for was a full transformation. Until that day, I had never had a fitness routine. The routine that Cliff gave me was hard at first, but as my strength increased, so did my stamina and my will. At first, I could not even make it through a one-hour cardio class. Within a few months, I was attending kickboxing, zumba, spin and personal training sessions each week.
Today, my fitness routine at Steve Nash is a part of my daily life. In one week I attend two spin classes, a kickboxing class, a Zumba step class, one free day of cardio on my own and two training sessions with Cliff, focusing on strength training.
The Food Element: My trainer showed me how to change my unhealthy diet to a clean diet. I went from eating processed foods to all-natural foods like chicken breast, egg whites and quinoa. I learned to eat smaller meals seven times a day rather than a few large meals and I increased my water consumption.
This change was by no means easy. At the beginning, the bland food was hard to commit to. I didn’t focus directly on how many calories I was consuming, my main concern was just to eat clean, stick to healthy portions and to exercise.
The Current Day-to-Day: Today, I am currently working towards my goal of competing in a Masters Women’s Bodybuilding Competition within the next year. This involves a deeper commitment to my fitness schedule, a healthy diet and working with heavier weights.
By sticking to the simple plan of exercising an hour a day, I am able to easily maintain my fitness. I consider my hour at the gym to be time for myself, rather than work.
It is never too late to begin your transformation. At the beginning, it is hard, but by taking it one step at a time, your dreams can come true. Never compare yourself to anyone else. Your journey is yours alone.
Thinking back to when I was 220lbs, I am most proud of my perseverance and the fact that I achieved my goal in becoming someone I could be proud of. Regardless of negative feedback from others, I was able to believe in myself and put myself first. I am a wife, a mother and grandmother — I could not be more proud.
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