How often have you heard the saying, “Life’s a marathon, not a sprint”? Yet so often, when it comes to obtaining our desires, we want everything right now—especially when it comes to weight loss or changing our bodies. Yet for most people, it took years to gain the weight, and it isn’t likely to come off in weeks or even months.
That does not, however, mean you can’t make a whole lot of progress in a short amount of time.
Danielle Edwards, the 39-year-old Grand Prize Winner of the latest BioTRUST 12-Week Shape-Up Challenge, knows this well. During the 12-Week Challenge, this 5’4” powerful mother and student from Syracuse, NY, dropped her weight from 170 to 155 pounds, dropped 2 inches off her waist, gained significant strength, went from a size 8/10 to a 4/6, and dramatically improved her overall health—all in just 12 weeks!
But this isn’t her whole story. It’s not even close. While Danielle has been running her metaphorical marathon for the last two years, her story starts more than a decade ago.
Back to the Beginning
Danielle was fit and healthy growing up. She was active and played sports in high school and never really worried about her weight. Then, 18 years ago, she got pregnant with her first child. And it wasn’t an easy pregnancy. She had a condition called Hyperemesis gravidarum, so throughout her pregnancy, she experienced severe nausea, often vomiting ten times a day.
Fortunately, she gave birth to a healthy and happy baby, and she could finally eat again without getting sick! And that’s exactly what she did. She ate. That, along with the stress of being a new mom, however, resulted in weight gain…at her heaviest, Danielle found herself tipping the scale at 288 pounds.
After the birth of her second child, Danielle realized there was nothing wrong with her, and that she could lose the weight if she put her mind to it. And she succeeded. “I just had enough of it,” Danielle explains. “I was uncomfortable and felt miserable. So, I lost like 117 pounds.”
As expected, with her next two pregnancies, Danielle again gained and then lost weight. During her pregnancy with her youngest of four children, she found herself on bedrest, and the weight crept back up. “I ended up gaining back 100 pounds of the weight I had lost over the years,” she explains.
Worse, Danielle was miserable. She shares, “I had anxiety and was put on medication because I would get anxious even going to the grocery store. I was embarrassed of myself. I didn’t want to go out in public. I didn’t go to a family reunion because I didn’t want any of my family to see me.
“I have a picture—I remember, it was a day when we took our children to the zoo, and I was miserable, and you can see it in my face. I was trying to be there and do something with my kids, but it was horrible. I didn’t want to be there. I was so uncomfortable.”
To help her lose the weight quickly and to keep up with four young children, Danielle turned to super-strong energy products. Though she did lose the 100 pounds she had gained, her body did not do well on the stimulants, and in 2015, her heart went into atrial fibrillation (a potentially serious irregular heartbeat) and had to have her heart shocked to get it back into normal rhythm.
“After that, I stopped any stimulants, but I ended up gaining back 65 pounds of the 100 I had lost over the next two years,” Danielle shares. “I don’t know if it messed up my metabolism, but the weight kept coming on.”
And it wasn’t like she wasn’t active. “I was doing Spartan races during this time. I did a Spartan trifecta. I was running half marathons. I even signed up for a series of 4 half marathons thinking it would help me lose weight,” she says. Yet the weight wouldn’t budge.
“I was getting frustrated because, over the years, I had helped myself and others lose weight, and it wasn’t working anymore,” she adds. By 2017, Danielle was up to 250 pounds. “I ran a half marathon at that weight. I had been a runner for 12 years, since I lost the weight the first time,” Danielle explains. “Through the weight gain and the weight loss, I’ve always continued to run. But when I did that half marathon, it took away my passion. I did not enjoy it. I was raw in places I shouldn’t be. I was miserable. It made me hate running.”
She realized what she was doing wasn’t working, and she needed to try something new. “I just knew this wasn’t me,” she says. “I knew what I used to be and how I could be. I just had to find something that worked for me again.”
Danielle’s New Lifestyle
Danielle’s weakness was food. “I love to eat!” she exclaims. But she decided it was time to drastically change her diet, and she came across “carb cycling” where she would alternate between eating lower carbs on some days to higher carbs on others. She also started working out six days a week and added regular strength training to her running routine. In early 2018, Danielle found BioTRUST and became a member of the VIP insider group on Facebook.
“I got an email offering a free sample of the BioTRUST® Low Carb protein powder blend—I only had to pay for shipping,” says Danielle. “That caught my attention because I was trying to eat fewer carbs. I’ve used some other products as well—I’m a really big advocate of Belly Trim®. That’s my favorite, and I have recommended it to a lot of people. It’s not going to work by itself. You still have to put in the effort with your diet and exercise, but I think it helps a lot.
“Using BioTRUST products—Belly Trim, Low Carb, and Platinum 1™—weight training, and running almost religiously, I lost nearly 42 of those pounds. And I think I actually look smaller than my weight indicates.”
Danielle also refined her workouts. She runs five days a week with one long run on the weekend. She also strength trains five days a week. She’s now increasing her runs as she’s preparing for a full marathon. “I’m nervous,” she admits. “The 26.2 miles kind of intimidates me, but I’ve been training, and the strength training has made me so much stronger. I signed up for a series of 6 half marathons this year, and I’ve already completed 5 of them. Then I’m doing a full marathon in Philly in November. I’ve been a running junky lately.”
Because of her competitive streak, Danielle also accepted every BioTRUST 12-Week Challenge since joining the VIP Insiders Group in April of 2018. “I was trying to come back and win the grand prize,” Danielle says laughingly. “That kept me coming back, as did seeing what I could do.
“Another incentive is that if you complete a Challenge, even if you don’t win, you’re rewarded with product credits, so you can try other products. I was really surprised at that. Plus, they offer great deals in the insider emails.”
Another perk Danielle takes advantage of is the free coaching for the VIP Insider members. “The coaching you get is also really great,” she exclaims. “It’s over the top, really. They go out of their way to help you in any way they can.”
Since the first Challenge, Danielle not only lost weight, but her size dropped from a size 10 down to a 4/6, and she lost 4 ½ inches off her waist and 4 inches off her hips. (She lost a total of nearly 17 inches off her entire body during this time.)
Most importantly, Danielle is no longer miserable. “Now I don’t take anxiety medicine at all,” says Danielle. “It just feels so good to be back to myself. I feel like I’m better now than I was ever before. I’m happy—I’m just loving life again.”
Finding Motivation and Support
To keep herself on track, Danielle has found that visual reminders work for her. “I had these American Eagle jeans that were a size 10 from like 10 years ago when I lost the weight the first time,” she says. “I hung them up, so I had to look at them. I wanted to get back into them so badly, and when I finally got into them…” All Danielle could do was laugh. “Now I’ve already given them to someone else because they were way too big,” she says. “I have a new pair of goal jeans that are a size 4. I can put them on… they’re so close to buttoning!”
But an even bigger motivator has been the BioTRUST VIP Insider group. “I’ve met a lot of friends in there. It’s very encouraging and supportive, and I post every day. It’s nice to have people cheering you on, encouraging you, and supporting you. A lot of people feel like they’re alone. It’s easier to lose weight when there are more people doing it along with you who understand what you’re going through.
“I have lots of friends on my Facebook page who have followed my journey. Some of them tell me I inspire them and that encourages me to keep going until I accomplish my goals. It’s like a big circle. Now I actually help people lose weight.
“I’m getting my Personal Training Certification. I’m almost done with my degree for nutritional science. Over the years, I’ve helped a lot of people. Now I want to do it as my own business. I’m now taking those steps to make that a reality. I’d like to see other people achieve what I have.”
Another big part of Danielle’s support system is her family—her husband, children, and extended family. In fact, it seems like her running bug has been contagious. Her family not only comes to her races to cheer her on, but now they’re running with her. “My sister is running races and has done half marathons with me. I’m doing a 5K with my 9-year-old. My 14-year-old did a race with me a couple of months ago, and my 18-year-old has done a couple of 5Ks and a Spartan race with me. My husband has been into it too. He’s run half marathons with me,” she says. “I go pick up my niece and my nephew to run with because they live by one of the trails I go to. It’s a whole family affair now.”
In the past, Danielle hid away in her house—not wanting to go out or be seen. Now she finds herself out every single day, all day long. “I’m not afraid to go out and do things now,” she shares. “I’m not embarrassed about myself anymore. In the past, people would tell me I looked good, but you could tell me 100 times that I look fine, and that wasn’t going to change how I felt on the inside. I don’t feel like that anymore.
“My transformation gave me confidence and freedom. I’ve had 4 kids. I have the loose skin from the weight loss and the babies, but you can now see definition in my stomach. I’ll even wear a bathing suit. I have a two piece—shorts and a bikini top—and I don’t think I’ve ever had one before.
“For our anniversary, my husband and I went away for the weekend, and I went ziplining! I’ve never done anything like that. I normally would have had anxiety. I’ve found myself doing a lot more things than I would ever have done. Two years ago, if you had asked me if I wanted to go ziplining, I would have said you’re crazy!
“If you think the past few years have been easy, no way! I’ve had ups, downs, falls. I just keep pushing through. I’ve never given up. I guess my stubbornness kicks in—in a good way. I set a goal for myself, and I don’t want to stop until I reach it.
“It’s been two years since I was able to gain control of my life again, and I wouldn’t change one single thing! The ups, the downs, the stalls, the gains—it is all part of the process.”
Danielle’s “secret to success” isn’t so secret. “I tell people this all the time,” she says, “Just keep pushing forward. Everybody’s human. Everybody makes mistakes. You’re going to have good days. You’re going to have bad days. Just don’t stop. If you slip up, just get over it. You did it. It’s done. You can’t change it. Just keep pushing forward.”
Danielle keeps running and keeps winning, not just her races but in life. She’s proof that life is a marathon, and it’s worth lacing up your shoes to keep moving forward every day.