Three years ago, 34-year-old Maegan Okrainec was five-foot-five and 265 lbs.
After gaining 100 lbs in both of her pregnancies, Okrainec found herself at rock bottom when she was turned away from a Fort St. John store for her size.
“I struggled with my weight for a long time,” Okrainec said from Today’s Techniques, where she works and works out. “After the birth of my second child I decided I needed something to do about it when I was told to leave a store. I was asked to leave because they didn’t have anything that would fit me, so that I should leave.”
“I was humiliated. I was ashamed.”
The real turning point, Okrainec said, was when she cried during the drive home then sat on her couch and turned to food to try to numb the pain. That was when an infomercial for Turbo Jam came on and she decided to take action and order the fitness program.
By beginning to eat healthier and use the workout DVD at home three days a week with her babies around her, Okrainec dropped almost 50 lbs. Addicted to the positive she both saw and felt, she took up the Fort St. John Get Fit Weight Loss Challenge.
“I was introduced to the Weight Loss Challenge here with Jeni [Brisco] and she changed my life. I still had a good 90 lbs to lose,” she said.
It was after the first weight loss challenge that Okrainec’s life began to follow the fitness path.
She dropped another 15 lbs from the first challenge before taking up spin classes and earning her certification to teach spin classes at Today’s Technique. By working out during her lunches and teaching spin classes in the evenings, Okrainec was getting exercise twice a day but when she began to plateau, she went back to the Weight Loss Challenge – which she won by losing 25lbs.
“I decided to train for the competitions after that because I saw everybody here doing it and I’d actually won the last weight loss challenge, so I thought, ‘What can I do next to push myself?’” she said. “I was watching everyone prepare for these [shows] and they looked fantastic.”
Knowing absolutely nothing about fitness competitions and with only three months before the 2012 Sandra Wickham Fall Classic in Vancouver, Okrainec and Brisco teamed up to do what seemed like the impossible for the rookie and win her division.
“I’d never been to a competition, I’d never seen one, I didn’t even know what they were about,” Okrainec said, laughing. “I was blind and put all my faith into Jeni.”
“Until the day I walked on stage [I was scared I wouldn’t be ready]. Everyday I was scared because the final week is when everything comes together. You look at yourself in the mirror and what you see isn’t what everybody else sees…”
Although she had lost 100 lbs and another 30 training for the Fall Classic, Okrainec’s long struggle with her weight had altered her self-image to the point where what she saw in the mirror didn’t reflect her new physical form.
“You’re forever warped,” she said. “Just before the competition I’d still look at myself and pull at areas.”
“Jeni knew I’d be fine. Every week we did the weigh-ins and the measurements and Jeni didn’t want to change anything because I was consistent. I ate clean and was serious training hardcore. She was very happy with my progress.”
Brisco, a veteran when it comes to fitness competitions, knows her stuff, which might be why on Nov. 10 in Vancouver, Okrainec beat out two 20 year olds in her Physique division at the Fall Classic to win second in her division.
“They called us all out and called third place. I was like, ‘Oh my goodness maybe I did win,’ then they called me for second place that was really exciting because I didn’t think I was going to win,” Okrainec explained.
“I wanted to win, but I’d already won it in my eyes because I was able to lose over 125 lbs, keep it off and step on stage for a fitness figure bodybuilding competition and qualify for provincials.”
Okrainec is planning to amp up her training for the BC Provincial Championships next June, which she’s “stoked” for, having already booked her plane ticket and hotel room for the event.
But it’s not all about competing – it’s about a life change.
After losing 140 lbs (from 265 to 125 lbs), Okrainec is happy, healthy and an example to many moms in the community.
“I’ve never felt better in my life and my children are learning the value of health, exercise and being a part of that experience. I’m hugely more happy,” she said.
“It’s not the scale; it’s how your clothes fit. Don’t say you’re going to lose 140lbs – say you’ll lose five lbs then the next thing you know you’ve lost 10. It’s about small obtainable goals.”
And what does her husband think about her transformation?
“As long as I’m happy, he sees me as the person he loves.”