52-year-old Surrey mom cuts her weight in half, wins Steve Nash award

SURREY — A 52-year-old mother has turned her life around by cutting her weight of 220 pounds in half.

Now at 110 pounds, Gabriela Porcina is proud of her success story and winning the Steve Nash gym award with those that think life after menopause is impossible.

The award is given to the Steve Nash clients who have shown to lose the most weight through endurance, above the expectations of their age, and who have proven their determination through healthy living. The contest is open for clients all across the 15 locations within the Lower Mainland, and she won.

“All my friends were telling me, ‘You will never lose weight,’” she said.

According to Stats Can, those aged 45 to 64 have the highest self-reported overweight or obese rate at 60 per cent in 2011. Women are susceptible to difficulty in losing weight after menopause. 

Porcina was determined to change her lifestyle after her eldest son’s wedding in 2010.

“When the photographer posted the wedding photos online, I wasn’t in a single one,” she said. “He took me out because I ruined the pictures. I was big. I was fat.”

After two years of mental preparation and motivation, Porcina decided to prove to herself that she could do it. 

“The day that I turned 50, I stepped out of my bed and said, ‘This is it.’

“I told my (my husband) I didn’t want a party. I want something bigger. I’m changing my life today,” she said. “I enrolled myself at the gym, and that same day I started.”

Husband and home coach to the lifestyle change, Robert Porcina said when Gabriela first started hitting the gym, it was almost impossible to keep her there.

“She gave up many times at the beginning,” he said. “She was struggling and (would) only go halfway through the class and make excuses.”

Her husband constantly encouraged her to eat healthy, which Gabriela says was her biggest challenge. 

“The beginning was hard because I’ve never worked hard,” she said.

“With the help of my trainer, it took me two months to get rid of my old habits of eating seven times a day to eating only twice a day.”

Gabriela began to notice changes in her health, including her sinus problems disappearing.

Clifford Dantier, a previous Mr. Universe finalist, has been Gabriela’s trainer for the past two years. He nominated her for the Steve Nash award. 

“I am very proud of Gabriela for a woman over 50 years old. She gives one hundred per cent,” he said. 

“When she first started, we worked on endurance and a building on confidence,” Dantier continued. “Because she was overweight and over 50, she kept telling herself she couldn’t do it. I said, “No, trust in yourself. 

“She was obese before, but through commitment, she really surprised me."

Gabriela recalled the day she won the award.

"I was emotional because I realized I became somebody else,” she said. “That was the day I had realized I finally changed my life.

Gabriela now has her sights set on the Master Women’s Bodybuilding Competition in October, which she is currently preparing for.

"People told me when I turned 50, to improve would be hard,” she said. “I still feel like a young woman. Now I’m somebody.”

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