I would like to introduce you to Yuliya Ozer. Yuliya was a competitor in the 2023 WNBFONTARIO New YOU Transformation category. This category is about individuals who have gone through major body transformations and who were committed to achieving their fitness goals, and have the opportunity to walk on stage for the first time and share their story. Her story is one that can resonate with anyone thinking of getting started in working out and bettering their health.
As a child, I was never athletic and never liked to play any sport. As long as I remember, the things I liked to do the most were reading books and eating, preferably at the same time :) no wonder I started gaining weight as soon as I became a teenager. At the same time, I really wanted to be thin, so I started dieting very young. I had a pair of my favourite jeans and I was always joking: I would eat anything and everything I liked, but as soon as I have difficulty fitting into these jeans - it is time to go on a diet!
I was on a yo-yo diet for most of my adult life. Weight was creeping up slowly until one day it reached 250 pounds. I thought I had all the excuses why I let it happen: stressful job (working as the bus driver for TTC), 4 children (I gained at least 60 pounds while pregnant with each of them, then lost it all), and worst of all: major sweet tooth. Cake and ice cream were my best friends until one day I looked at our family pictures and I did not recognize myself.
I could not believe that this tired-looking, overweight middle-aged woman was me, and that's when I decided I would do anything and everything to get myself back.
My weight loss journey took me almost 2 years. Looking back I realized I made so many mistakes doing this, it could be so much easier, but I did not have any knowledge of how to do it better. All I had was a will and a determination to get there no matter that.
First I had lost 80 pounds within 6 months, then the weight loss just stopped. I looked so much better, I was pretty happy with my accomplishment, so decided to take a break. Since I did not really change anything about my lifestyle, I gained back 25 pounds within a year. That is when I decided to start again, this time the right way. I made changes in my lifestyle, I started exercising regularly (mostly cardio, I was not ready for any serious weightlifting, because I thought it would make me look manly and bulky). I was able to lose the last 45 in almost a year.
I started to notice that I gained some muscles in my arms and I liked it, that's when I decided to join a gym. I had absolutely no knowledge about what kind of exercises I should do, nor how to use these machines. So I decided to join a whole bunch of Facebook groups about fitness and nutrition. I started to listen to podcasts and watch YouTube videos to educate myself.
Somewhere along the way, I stumbled upon pictures of another lady’s transformation and her first bodybuilding competition. I never thought of it before, but she looked amazing and I thought: “That would be just the icing on the cake of my transformation to be able to do something like it”. So that is how it started. My weight before I started weightlifting was 125 pounds I was “skinny-weak”. After almost a year of training, just before my first competition, my weight was 140 pounds wearing the same clothes, so I was able to gain about 15 pounds of muscle riding Newby gains lol
The word of wisdom:
1. Do not try to lose weight fast - that is where all the mistakes and problems are coming from.
2. If you can’t afford to hire coaches and trainers, educate yourself. You can do it by yourself there are tons of free resources available, just look for them.
3. It is not the motivation that will get you there, it is the discipline.
4. Do not try to be perfect all the time. 80 percent of the time will sure get you there.
5. If you fail, just get up and just back on that “weight loss wagon” right away, do not wait for “next Monday”, next month or the New Year.