Maple Ridge, BC

"Hello, my name is Kandis and my fitness journey for the last decade has been full of a lot of obstacles. My heaviest was coming out of a marriage with two kids where I gained almost sixty pounds. I went from 170 to 235bls. I was in a horrible mindset, I hated who I was. I felt like I wasn’t a good mother to my two boys that were under four years old. I was unhappy.

I met a friend through a writing group and we were both in the same situation. Encouraging each other we started with home workouts, Jillian Michaels, and working on better eating habits. I wanted a healthy lifestyle for my boys. To show them the right way to live. They were the light in all my dark moments in life.

I eventually moved to a gym and met a friend there that I would workout with. Through hard work I got down to 156lbs, and that was the lowest I ever weighed, even in high school. In my life, all good things seem to have an expiration date and life threw a curve ball at me. I woke up one morning with my right ankle the size of a softball.

It took one and a half years with CT scans, x-rays, specialists, and a MRI to finally be told that my ankle had normal wear and tear and the only option was a rheumatologist. Keep in mind, I was only 29 years old. That is when I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis, that hits only 5% of women between the ages of 25-30. I was put on proper medication and over time it seemed to go into remission and I was able to take care of myself in a more natural way than drugs.

I gained twenty pounds during that process and when I could, I was right back into the gym. I started to grow a love for running. It was something I always hated. Running in a sport made more sense to me. There was something freeing about it. I started to do 5K runs. Even did a 10K run. Then, came the Spartan races. In 2018 my goal was to do my trifecta with my friend. It’s a 7K, 14K and 25K run with obstacle courses. I managed to get the first two done and right after the second one my foot started to act up. I could barely walk on it.

I was back to the doctors and medication. My arthritis came out of remission and was back with a vengeance. I had one doctor give me a wrong diagnosis and mess my foot up. I spent a year and a half in pain. I was on strong drugs to try to at least get through the work day, where at night I would lay in bed and cry. My toes started to deform, and over the last three years they have significantly worsened. I am waiting to get into a surgeon.

I was in a bad place; mentally and physically. I worked out, but never felt like I was pushing myself. I hated who I was. My boys were my only light. I withdrew from my friends and family. Then last March I was put on a biological and it was like night and day. I woke up the next day and I could get out of bed and walk. I didn’t need to hold onto the wall.

I can’t push myself like I used to in the gym anymore, but I can push to my body’s limit now. I am still learning to not compare myself to others and realise that my journey alone will not be like anyone else’s. I am slowly starting to love my body. I am finding that happiness inside of me that will shine through on the outside. I am accepting that I will never be able to run again.
I don’t know what my body will look like over the next year. I have seen the changes it has gone through the last ten years and if I keep pushing, surrounding myself with the right people, my fitness journey will be everything it’s meant to be."