In my early 20’s I was depressed and abusing my body in many different ways. I partied, drank, and overall didn’t take care of myself and used any substance to escape reality. I ended up quitting University and felt really lost with what to do with my life.
In 2010 my boyfriend passed away in front of me, and I was devastated.
I think I was also in shock and didn’t know how to process the horrible things I had witnessed. I had stopped using substances before all of this and had cleaned up some areas of my life, but after his death, I turned to food and ended up gaining almost 150 lbs in the process. I threw myself into work immediately after he died and tried not to think or feel any of it.
I worked full time at a funeral home in Vaughan, and then eventually went back to school to become a funeral director – at Humber College – and used to drive by Bodies by Design every day.
In 2012, I decided to go in and get some information. I ended up signing up and started personal training. I was 363 lbs when I started. I ended up losing about 30 pounds, but unfortunately, I just wasn’t ready to live a balanced lifestyle. I would try to work out too much and eat too clean, and then after a couple weeks, I would give up. I continued that pattern for about 2 years.
Then in 2014, I was finished school, working full time and had a lot more free time on my hands. One day, I started feeling really weird at work. The lights bothered me, too many people in a room made me uncomfortable and overall, I just didn’t feel right. I tried to shake it off, but after a few days, I just hit a wall. I started having panic attacks, one after another.
I ended up in the hospital, and doctors told me I was physically fine – but had something else going on which was anxiety.
I took 3 months off work, started seeing a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with ‘delayed grief,’ and turned to a naturopath to help because I didn’t want to take any medication. She suggested I change my diet and start taking better care of myself – which I did. I also started coming back to the gym.
Within 10 months I lost 130 lbs. I felt great, but really, I was just so scared of having panic attacks again that I followed my new lifestyle way too rigidly. I was too strict and very hard on myself. Inherently I knew how to follow a diet but couldn’t make it work in real life. I would get anxious at events and functions and didn’t have a healthy relationship with food. I was fearful of it still.
By Christmas time and after a vacation, I had started to gain some of the weight back. I really didn’t think I had a problem though because I had just lost all the weight so I felt like I knew what I was doing, and it would be easy to lose this little bit. After my vacation, I stopped coming to bodies because I wanted a break, and I think I started getting depressed again.
By Christmas 2016, I was back where I started. 330 lbs again.
I was devastated and started having panic attacks again. It was a harsh realization that I had undone everything I worked for. But, I couldn’t stay in the place that I was in. I ended up deciding to take time off work again, and I reached out to Dan Falconio to let him know I needed help. I also started really putting in the work with my psychiatrist to get to the root of the problem.
Dan moved mountains and put me in his schedule on my 2 days off every week – Tues/Wed at 11am. I started with just those 2 days and then went to kickboxing once or twice as well.
I also really started working on my relationship with food. I had to stop attaching emotion to eating and stop beating myself up every time I ate something. My goal was just to stop binging and depriving myself. So, I only ate foods that I looked forward to eating- no diet type foods – and tried just to control portion sizes. I would also modify healthier versions of the junk food that I loved.
I started slow and didn’t try to be perfect and at least committed to 3 days of working out a week. Again, within 10 months I lost 150 lbs. Around November 2017, I recognized that I was where I was 2 years prior right before I gave up. But this time felt very different. I hadn’t really worked that hard to get here this time.
I just consistently put in the work and was a lot gentler and understanding with myself.
I ended up losing another 20 lbs – now I’m between 160-165. I’m also starting to have skin removal surgery to remove the parts that can’t be fixed with exercise and return my body back to how it looked before I started to damage it. It’s been a very long road, but I’m happy I did it twice because the second time was a sweeter victory. I can see along my journey where I went wrong the first time, and now I try to help other people, so they don’t make the same mistakes I did.
I’m happy to be alive and proud to be where I am today. But the support and guidance I have gotten from Dan over the years made the difference. I owe him my life.
He’s always been supportive and doesn’t sugar coat things when I need to be brought back down or start going off track. The personal training program is what gave me my second chance, and I’m so happy I walked in that day in 2012 to get information – because if I didn’t step in, who knows where I would be – probably still dreaming and not living 🙂
Jaclyn Silva – Star Profile Challenge Winner
"I'm happy I did it twice because the second time was a sweeter victory"
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