Name: Nikolai Atkinson
Height: 5 feet, 2 inches
Before Weight: 169 pounds
How I Gained It: I’ve always been passionate about fitness, so I never struggled with my weight, but then the unexpected happened. My weight gain began after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. This was a shock to me in every sense — suddenly I was being told I had a lifelong condition I knew little about, and I had no control over my health. My life became one medication after another coupled with so many painful tests. In less than a year, I had tried three different medications to help to ease the severe pain I was constantly having, but none were effective. To make matters worse, I had recently moved and didn’t have my familiar surroundings to comfort me emotionally.
Breaking Point: Because of my condition, I went from training to be an amateur body builder to someone who was fat. I felt ugly on the inside, and I was very depressed. Having fibromyalgia meant I was often in pain, which made everyday life extremely difficult, let alone exercise. I especially hated not being able to interact with my kids as much as I wanted to. I did not have good coping skills, and the stress was unbearable. I spent much of my time feeling sorry for myself.
Something had to change. I was beginning to hate the person I had become, so at the start of 2010, I decided that it was time for me to take control of my fibromyalgia and no longer allow it to control me.
How I Lost It: Getting fit wasn’t new to me — I was already a member of Beachbody and had a P90X collection at home. But each and every day was such a struggle for me: I had to get up super early to exercise, and the soreness was, at times, unbearable. Eventually I quit the P90X workouts, but I didn’t stop exercising — I signed up for a boot camp class that kicked my butt and helped me start on my journey to success.
I also heard about the Insanity workout from a Facebook friend of mine and decided to give it a try. It was worth it — hard is an understatement when it comes to this workout. This time, I didn’t let myself quit, and my sister and my cousin helped keep me motivated.
Like me, everyone has setbacks and challenges to deal with. But there comes a point when you have to find what is important and start taking steps towards them. Positive affirmations are a must when it comes to being successful — that is why I don’t say I have “problems”; I say I have “challenges.” Getting fit has helped me face my condition — now when I’m in pain, I actually smile because it helps remind me that I am alive and still able to make changes.
My hard work paid off. I went from 169 pounds to 127 pounds, and my cholesterol went from 171 down to 150. This was a challenging process, but I knew it was possible. I can honestly say that I love myself now. I’ve even taken steps to become a fitness coach — I’m dedicated to saving the lives of those who are not healthy. I’ve even started my own Facebook fan page.
Getting healthy is not just a physical change — one has to be mentally, spiritually and emotionally ready in order to see true success. It is so worth it — I’m now able to enjoy the time I spend with my kids.
Remember, success is measured one day at a time and one step at a time. No matter how long it takes you, not quitting is all that matters. Know that regardless of your ailments, age, schedules and obstacles, you, too, can get healthy. You owe it to yourself!
After Weight: 127 pounds
After beginning her journey to health one year ago, Nikolai reached her goal weight in September 2010.