TRANSFORMATION SUCCESS STORY
Tula Dewald takes her life from a wheelchair to the fitness stage.
A good transformation story is always interesting and inspiring. Following the journey of a person with all the cards stack against them and watching them turn their life around is something everyone can appreciate.
In this issue of Status we have a great transformation story. Tula Psilhas went from being unable to walk to stepping on stage at the WBFF River Rock physique show. Let’s hear Tula’s inspirational story directly from her.
Tula, you have been through quite a lot in the decade or so. Please share your journey with Status readers?
In 2002, after an incomplete spinal cord injury, I was left partially paralyzed and unable to walk. I went through two years of extensive rehab before I could finally walk (with the use of forearm crutches). It was a total of six long years before I was able to walk again, without the aid of crutches or canes.
In 2007, I had my twins; a boy and a girl, Nick and Sofie. During my pregnancy, I gained a total of 80 lbs! My weight topped out at 247 pounds in 2009. After a failed marriage, I was so unhappy with how I looked and felt. But I decided I didn’t want to end up alone because of this. I knew if I wasn’t happy with whom I had become I would never find happiness with someone else.
“I had met Tula’s husband Mike first. Mike was an awesome guy I first met at the WBFF Edmonton show. He was a hard-working down to earth guy so I knew his wife Tula would be similar. She was incredible. I met her in downtown Vancouver to prepare for a full day of shooting. The connection she and Mike have was inspiring. I could feel the eyes they would give each other as the shoot progressed. Tula’s beauty as well as her inner-self shone through with each shot I took. She was releasing such positive energy I didn’t want the day to end. I always enjoy photographing couples and when I had the chance to photograph them together I was touched. Thank you Yula and Mike for allowing me to be part of your journey.”
How did you manage to change your life and get in such great shape?
I began to exercise and walk to try to lose weight. After many failed dieting attempts, I decided to go hard and eat and train religiously in January of 2013. I was now fully committed to my fitness goals. I hired a trainer, nutrition coach and in four short months had dropped a total of 70 lbs. I was so happy!! It motivated me to continue. I was eating extremely clean, walking my dogs daily for 40 min and training 5 x a week to transform my body. By October of 2013, I knew I wanted to continue transforming and eventually take the stage at a fitness competition.
I HIRED A TRAINER, NUTRITION COACH AND IN FOUR SHORT MONTHS HAD DROPPED A TOTAL OF 70 LBS.
Most recently, Fit Mom magazine featured me (last spring), and I became a sponsored athlete through NVIE nutrition. All of this lit the fire beneath me. I knew I wanted to try competing in some sort of federation that would allow me to showcase my hard work and dedication. I competed in a WBFF bikini show (plus 35 categories) in July of this year.
During your journey, you met a very special individual. Who was this and how did it unfold?
In Feb 2014, while I scrolled through the pages of the Status Fitness Instagram fan page, I came across a picture of a guy wearing a Status t-shirt. He had just finished a workout and Status had posted his picture: this man would change my life. Mike Dewald was the guy I had always imagined myself with. Not only was he very attractive, but he was into fitness as much as I was.
After connecting with Mike over IG and chatting for a few days we agreed to meet in Airdrie, where I was living. Mike drove down from Edmonton where he lived at the time. We have been inseparable ever since!
After many gym dates, adventures traveling to places like LA, Vancouver, BC, Banff, and Edmonton, we both agreed we wanted no one else. We moved in together in June of this year and got engaged. Mike is not only my soulmate, swolemate and best friend but he is my motivator.
You recently participated in your first competition and photoshoot. What was that like for you?
With Mike by my side, I competed in my very first show in Vancouver on July 26th. Two days after our show we shared another special experience. We shot as a couple with David Ford, which we were so very excited about. Not only did he showcase all my hard work, but he also showed me how proud I should be with my results and made me feel so beautiful. Our couple’s pictures were amazing, and we will treasure them always. It was truly a moment to cherish forever.
What is next for you, both personally and from a fitness standpoint?
My plan is to continue this healthy fit lifestyle and to eventually start our own wellness business where we can help others with their transformations. We hope to inspire others through our experiences and give people the tools they need to reach their fitness goals.