Nancy Facchin-Belle could barely get out of bed.
Her weight had slowly increased over the years and that morning in 2014, she weighed more than 500 pounds.
She scarcely had the energy to get through a full work day. Even walking had become difficult.
“Honestly, I was just tired of being tired,” Facchin-Belle said in an interview with CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM.
“I couldn’t get out of bed without aching and I had just given up on life so I just said, ‘You know what? It’s time.'”
Facchin-Belle, 56, began exercising regularly. At first she could only walk halfway around the block but she kept at it.
‘It feels like you’re going home’
After one year, she had lost close to 165 pounds and felt ready to do more. She joined the gym at the Clareview Community Recreation Centre in northeast Edmonton and began exercising five days a week.
She had tried commercial gyms but found the atmosphere too competitive. She never felt intimidated at Clareview.
“It’s close to home and it feels nice,” she said. “It feels like you’re going home to family every time you go there. They’re more personal.
“The trainers are there if you need them at the gym but you don’t feel pressured.”
Since Facchin-Belle began exercising regularly in 2014, she has lost 300 pounds.
Facchin-Belle, who owns her own catering business, exercises at night alongside a friendly group of gym regulars, where bodybuilders work out alongside beginners.
“You have overweight people, you have skinny people. It’s a mix and no one judges anyone.”
Facchin-Belle is now preparing for the Tour de l’Alberta, a 50-kilometre competitive bicycle ride in July.
And she’s happy to be spending her evenings training on the bike and helping out her gym buddies with some friendly advice.
“My legs have gotten big but in a good way,” she said. “You have to challenge yourself, otherwise life gets boring.
“It feels good when you actually go out and go for a bike ride for 10 kilometres or 20 kilometres and not have to worry. It feels really good.”
Her advice to others just starting out with their own fitness journeys? Be patient.
“It takes time.”