By David Hayward

Only Hollywood stars lose large amounts of weight.

That was the thought that came to mind for me as I faced an uphill battle of recovering my health.

In May of 2022 at the age of 41, I weighed nearly 400 pounds and experienced heart failure. I was admitted to hospital for eight days and it was the worst experience of my life. The emergency room was crowded, and I was just lying there thinking about all the things I’d done in my life that led me to that point.

Heart failure wasn’t the only issue I was facing. I had headaches all the time, I was on blood thinners to deal with lung blood clots, I was considered pre-diabetic, and I had been diagnosed with sleep apnea while in hospital to top it all off.

Finding out that a large number of people with heart failure don’t live more than another five years made my situation pretty grim. But I found hope in realizing that of the people who do die within five years, a significant number of them didn’t follow any health recommendations.

I was determined to not be one of them, so when my cardiologist referred me to the Reh-Fit Centre, I took the advice. I joined the Cardiac Rehab program and listened to the expertise of the nurses and highly-trained fitness staff at the Centre.

It took me a bit of time to feel confident at the gym, but the Reh-Fit staff are all really good at dispelling those stories you tell yourself, like the myth I had in my head that only Hollywood stars lose so much weight. The fitness staff start with the basics, and if you’re humble and go in with a willingness to listen, you’re going to have success. Their message is about needing a half hour of deliberate movement, and I did that. I started exercising six days a week.

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The results started to show quickly for me. I had been losing 10 pounds a month before starting at the Reh-Fit Centre simply from eating better. But once I started exercising with the guidance of Reh-Fit staff, I started losing 15 pounds a month.

I’d been through periods where I had gone to the gym before, but never had significant weight loss. But through the Cardiac Rehab program, health assessments, and nutrition counselling at the Reh-Fit Centre, they helped me understand the basics of eating healthy food and maintaining exercise. The attitude at the Centre is that fitness is for everyone, and that really resonates with me.

That’s led to me losing over 100 pounds since starting here.

As a result, all the health complications that I was facing a year and a half ago are gone. In May of 2023 – a year after getting out of hospital from my heart failure – I was taken off all the medication that I was on. I no longer see my cardiologist, and my doctor considers me just another patient that only needs to come for my annual physical.

Everything about my day is easier now and I’m not huffed out. Going in and out of the car was difficult before, now I get in and out with ease. I can take five flights of stairs and still talk at the top. I never thought it was possible for me to do all these things.

As far as I’ve come, the work is never done when it comes to maintaining good health. I continue to exercise at the Reh-Fit Centre regularly and still appreciate the support the staff constantly offers.
Please donate to the Reh-Fit Foundation today to help make more stories like David’s possible.

Your gift, no matter the size, will impact the lives of people in our community by enabling them to prevent illness and chronic disease or recover from health complications. The Reh-Fit Centre is a leader in medical fitness, but membership fees only cover a portion of the costs of this world-class facility. Your support makes the difference!