Refusing to be a Victim

Refusing to be a Victim

“I hid in food.”  My journey to 500 pounds…and back!

It all started with a comment in a post thread on my facebook wall. I shared a news story about a mom who was asking British taxpayers to fund her $25,000 weight loss surgery. Tunya chimed in “If I can go from 500 pounds to 250 and continue to work for it, so can she!”  I was intrigued so I reached out to Tunya and here is her story…

In Tunya’s words…

I literally weighed 500 pounds

In 1998 when my husband and I split and later divorced, I was over 500 pounds.  HOLY COW!  I am not kidding.  Believe me…not something I shall ever forget.  How does a person get to be that big?  How does a person let themselves get that big?  Well, it happens over time.  I could blame it on the years that my father spent abusing us children.  I could blame it on the years I spent trying to deal with all those memories.  I could blame it on a husband who was mentally abusive and kept me locked away from all family and friends.  However, when push comes to shove, the choice was ultimately mine.  I didn’t turn to drugs and alcohol like my siblings or even hide in an alternate reality.  I hid in food.


I truly admit, I had food issues.  I have never denied that in the beginning I definitely had food issues. Somewhere, somehow God chose me to protect.  No matter how big I was, obesity was my only medical problem.  I didn’t have heart problems and no troubles with diabetes; additionally I never struggled with joint problems either.  There came in inner strength to walk away from all of that, and by damn I was going to succeed!

Golds Gym: In 2000, with a fresh life in a fresh city, my life would begin a new.  I joined Gold’s Gym and hired a trainer. I worked with their nutritionist and a new and more confident person started to emerge.  The more weight I lost the more confident I became.

Tragedy Strikes

It was all fun and games until… In April 2001 when my fiancé was killed. I wouldn’t hide in the gym, but I learned how to use it to fuel my workouts.

A New Beginning

A fresh start in life: Once again, I prevailed.  I moved to the island and started a new life…one that was already planned but without my fiance.  In the beginning it was hard, but I am a fighter and he wanted me to continue on with my destiny.  I didn’t learn until almost two years after his death that he wrote in his daily journals about my life and that someday I was going to set the fitness world on fire.

Opening a fitness club: In 2003, with a partner, I opened Aloha Fitness Club. In addition to the gym’s success, I was now down to my lowest of 250lbs…. Oh yes….Think about that….that is some serious size to loose.  Once again life would throw a little obstacle in my way.


The Attack

Just as things were becoming GREAT in my life, terrible things started happening to me: September of 2003 I was attacked and raped by a close friend of the family who was high on drugs and alcohol.  Once again, I turned to fitness to pull myself through the pain.

The Accident

I was involved in a major vehicle accident in 2006.  Injuries to both legs including feet, ankles and knees; neck at the C1 & C5/C7; left rotator, left elbow; left top rib; and the worst was the traumatic brain injury.  To this day I don’t remember the accident and my memory of the prior years going back almost 4 years is pretty sketchy.  Pretty much everything from 2004-2006 is gone.  Who really knows what other long term issues I will have from the brain injury.  My core personality is the same; however I know parts of me are not the same.

I had over-come being a victim before, and I could do it again: I had to relearn many of the skills I had acquired during these years, how to cook, use my left hand, many things we take for granted from day to day.  During the first year my mother and I must have gone through 3 sets of dishes and then switched over to paper plates and plastic bowls; I would be holding something in the left hand and my hand would just open up, letting the plate crash to the ground.  That sure was fun at parties and BBQ’s!  Not really…

I could go on and on but I won’t. I gained back 140lbs….

From 2009 – 2011 I tried many things to work off the weight I fought for every pound of fat loss I could get.  Which brings us to……


I am often misjudged.  I do walk the walk and talk the talk; I just have some little bumps that I have to work around.  It’s all about finding our own individual paths. It’s about the drive, the will to persevere.  Prior to the accident my nutrition was based upon strictly tracking my intake and taking ideas from nutrition experts.  Many times, even my business partner would comment on how strict my eating was and I should relax a little.  My training consisted of strength training, circuit type training, I taught and participated in nine aerobic type classes a week and several cardio kickboxing classes.  Clients came to me because I could empathize with what they were going through.

In a flash all of that was gone.  After the car accident it would be almost two years of doing nothing while doctors tried to figure out all the injuries and to get through the rehab.  After two years I was released and started working out again with my nutrition and training coming from the journals I kept.  I tweaked my diet doing things like using almond milk instead of regular milk, taking in more carbs in the mornings, and swapping out carbs in the afternoons with more healthy fats.  In addition I started a strength circuit based program.

My transformation is far from over (current weight is 290), but I have learned to respect the journey.  I am deeply appreciative of all the people who have been put into my path to help me write the newest chapters of my life.  I am currently working on a blog (not much in it yet) just so people can find strength in what I do so that they might look within themselves for that light…that push they need to change their life.  You can find my blog, “Mahalo Your Journey” here: 



WOW! Quite the journey that Tunya has been on! What I love is her sense of accountability and her REFUSAL to be a victim.  She has taken control of her life through working out and nutrition when so many things were out of her control.  She is a fighter and will NOT let adversity get the best of her!  Way to go Tunya!  Keep it up!

– Natalie Jill

Bloat, Fat, and Fatigue BE GONE! Give me 7 days to teach you the habits to get the weight off and change your life FOREVER! Start HERE



Natalie Jill

Natalie Jill is a leading Fat Loss Expert and high-performance coach. She helps you change the conversation around age, potential, pain and possibility. She does this through a SIMPLE and FUN unique method that you can find in her best-selling books, top-rated podcasts, interactive programs and coaching sessions. As a 50-year-old female, she KNOWS the struggles and pain that can come with aging! She takes the guesswork away and help you kill the F.A.T. (False Assumed Truths) holding you back from achieving your goals. To know more about Natalie Jill, you can visit her Facebook Profile, Tiktok, and Instagram.