We had the good fortune of connecting with Daniella Joy and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Daniella, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I was raised by a single mother who immigrated to Canada from the Caribbean. Growing up I remember being very happy but there were a lot of dark times in my life. I had a few traumatic events during my childhood and my mother struggled a lot financially and mentally. When we were younger Christmas was awesome due to the donations, we had received from various community charities. Around 8 or 9 things got difficult, I remember crying one Christmas because my mother could not afford to get my sister and I any gifts. I remember going to school and having to lie to my peers about what I got for Christmas because I was too embarrassed to let anyone know our financial hardships. As I went through puberty, that is when I noticed my own mental health struggles. I remember having these horrible feelings of anxiety and depression. I had suicidal thoughts from a young age, and I blamed myself for having these feelings. I did not know I was suffering from a mental illness brought on by childhood trauma. Nonetheless, I was resilient. When I was around people, I was the life of the party. No one would ever think that I struggled every night with deep despair or sadness.

In my early 20’s issues with my mental health continued to manifest as I went through university. I had a lot of problems focusing due to anxiety and exams were difficult. Even though I struggled, I was able to finish my degree in Environmental Studies & Biology with a B average. After university I had no direction. It was tough facing the real world because I realized that going to school was not going to guarantee a job even though we were taught that from high school. I would get multiple interviews but could not land a position.
In my mid 20’s I met my partner and ended up having my son at 25 years old. During labour and delivery, I suffered a debilitating injury that caused post-partum chronic pain in my back, hips, and legs. The pain was unbearable. I could not stand, sit, or lie down without feeling excruciating pain. I told my OBGYN and she said it was normal and it would disappear in 6 months. I only got worse.

I was recommended by my family doctor to see a physiotherapist, massage therapist and chiropractor. I went to a clinic for about a year but did not see improvement: no one knew what was wrong with my body. My doctor recommended I get an MRI to see if I had a slipped disc because the referral pattern of my pain was very similar to a slip disc. The Canadian healthcare system is free however, the wait times are long. I waited for 8 months to get an MRI thinking it would give me answers. 8 months came and I finally got my MRI. The results came back normal. I did not have a slipped disc or any spinal damage however, I was still in constant excruciating pain.
After year of getting no answers I fell into a deep depression. I ended up gaining a significant amount of weight nearly hitting 300 lbs. I saw doctor after doctor, physio after physio and no one had answers. I reached rocked bottom and I ended up being hospitalized for severe depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. Every day was unbearable. I would look at other mothers and see them thriving without pain. I did not understand why this happened to me. After hitting rock bottom, I made a promise to never give up on myself ever again. I told myself that no matter what I am going to find someone to help heal my body and that I did. After a 3 month long hospitalization I went back to my doctor asking her for answers. She recommended that I see a Physiatrist (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physicians).

This doctor changed my life. After a 90 minute examination she recommended I see her pelvic floor physiotherapist Natalie. Natalie is a highly trained physiotherapist with specialization in pelvic floor health and traditional Chinese acupuncture. My body responded to her treatment immediately. Her combination of acupuncture and pelvic floor physiotherapy helped heal my body. During the next few months I began to see improvement. I finally got to the point where I was able to workout, begin losing weight and focus on improving my mental health.

I have now lost over 60 lbs and I’m in the best shape of my life. I wanted to use my story to help inspire and show others that there is hope if you do not give up on yourself. I started documenting my journey on social media and created YouTube channel emphasizing the importance of mental health, self care, and self love. My goal is to inspire others to practice self care and love on the daily. To get to know themselves inside and out. To understand that the power they have within in them is far greater than any obstacle in their path. I’m using my journey and story to show others that a life transformation is possible.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am on a constant journey of developing myself personally and professionally. I am a content creator documenting my weight loss, personal development and self love journey on Youtube and Instagram. My journey, my messaging and my story sets me apart from others. I am authentic, genuine, and honest about my struggles as I achieve my fitness goals. The journey certainly was not easy but what keeps me going is knowing that putting my story out there can help inspire someone else who was in the position that I was in: lost, hopeless and about to give up. Our minds are the most powerful tool we have and it is imperative that we use it to our advantage rather than our detriment. Just tell yourself you are not going to give up no matter what obstacles are in your path. Use those obstacles as steppingstones and not roadblocks.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
In August 2020, my family and I packed up all our belongings, rented a car and drove over 3000 miles to start a new life in Calgary, Canada. We are originally from Toronto. Most of our family and friends are back there and many have stated they want to come over and visit. Why? Because Alberta has one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world. Calgary is nestled beside the Canadian Rocky Mountains. We are a little over an hour’s drive from the world-renowned Banff National Park. The mountains are the first place I’d take my best friend. We would go on a few hikes and drive around to see some of the best views in the country. For food I’d take them to downtown Calgary where we’d have dinner at one of Calgary’s well-known restaurants. The food here is plentiful with many options for meat lovers, vegetarians, vegans and seafood lovers.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate this shout out to my boys: my son and my partner. They have made many sacrifices on my journey to healing. It was a very difficult time for my family but we’ve come out on the other end stronger. I would also like to shout out the nurses, doctors and therapist who’ve helped me become strong in mind and body.

Instagram: @Self.Love.Fit

Twitter: @Self_Love_Fit

Facebook: @DaniellaJoyFitness

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJJZAfAvid8WqCprHjphA8g

Other: Youtube: Daniella Joy Instagram: @Self.Love.Fit Facebook: Daniella Joy Fitness Twitter: @Self_Love_Fit

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