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‘Heck of a year’: N.S. man and his journey of losing 180 pounds in 2023

Almost a year ago, a then-600-pound Derrick Bona knew he had to turn his life around.

“I fell, it was New Year’s Day, and I couldn’t pick myself up,” he told Global News. “It led me to a little dark place … my gut was telling me I can change this, and Jan. 30 last year, I said, ‘OK, this is it. I gotta do something.’”

As of last week, the 41-year-old chef from Eastern Passage, N.S., was down by a total of 182 pounds — and he’s not done yet. He’s continuing to embrace a healthier lifestyle by eating better and regularly going to the gym with the help of a physical trainer.

While he’s had an outstanding physical transformation, Bona said the biggest change was to his mental state.

“Weight loss is wonderful, it gets me mobile, it gets me out of places,” he said. “But if you’re not mentally better, you’re not going to be successful with anything you do.”

Bona hasn’t been alone. He’s been sharing his journey with his followers through his Twitter account, and even caught the attention of weightlifting legend Arnold Schwarzenegger in April after tweeting a photo of his progress.

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Bona said thinking about how far he’s come inspires him to keep working toward his goals.

“Eleven months ago, I was almost bedridden. I wouldn’t even make it from a chair to the bathroom. It took me like, 10 to 15 minutes, and agony and pain,” he said.

“I just kind of stopped and think back, like, ‘Listen, this is where you were 11 months ago. Now you’re in a gym, with a bunch of beautiful people here, and you’re keeping up with them.’”

Rick Horsman, Bona’s personal trainer and the owner of the RickMyTrainer bootcamp studio in Cole Harbour, said Bona’s transformation has been “amazing.”

He said Bona contacted him in April, saying he had been improving his nutrition but needed a little extra help to get moving.

“When he started, he couldn’t pick two dumbbells off the floor,” he said. “And now, he could almost do a cartwheel, I think, if I asked him.”

Horsman said he’s impressed by Bona’s strength, and Bona has even helped inspire other people to work hard to achieve their own objectives.

“I hope he achieves all of his goals,” he said. “You want to see your friend succeed doing things … He’s incredible.”

As for Bona, he still has great things ahead. His wife is also on a weight-loss journey of her own, and the couple is supporting each other through the process.

“Our kids are older and we want to be able to go and do things and just live our life,” he said. “That’s the biggest push right now, is just a better quality of life, a better everything.”

Bona said it’s “hard to believe” everything he’s managed to accomplish in just 11 months.

“It’s been a heck of a year.”

  • with files from Eilish Bonang

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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