Now she is strong, confident and happy again after years of uncontrollable weight gain which left her feeling depressed and ‘worthless’.
Zrinka had struggled alone with her weight for years, gaining more than 99lbs (45kg) over five years.
The 34-year-old sales director was 275lbs (125kg) at her heaviest point, was eating over 4,000 calories a day, and was desperately unhappy with her body and the way she felt.
Nothing she tried ever worked. Ketogenic, vegetarian and juicing diets had all failed, and she just felt lost and helpless of ever achieving a long-term solution to her weight loss struggle.
Constantly tired, lethargic and low on energy, she feared she had thyroid problems or diabetes.
What doctors found were dangerously high cholesterol levels.
With a family history of heart problems and diabetes, Zrinka made a commitment to change her life and her health for good.
Sixteen months later and Zrinka is unrecognisable from her old self after completing a body transformation at Ultimate Performance.
More than 110lbs (50kg) lighter, healthier and looking stunning with a whole new wardrobe, Zrinka is thrilled with the lasting lifestyle changes she has made with the help of U.P.
“You can’t describe it with words. It changed my life completely. I’m back where I was a long time ago.
“It’s like two different people. Not just physically, but mentally I’m stronger too.
“I am wearing mini-skirts that I didn’t even wear back when I was 25 or 26.
“I just feel amazing! I love myself now!”
Zrinka has come so far over the past 16 months.
To understand just how significant her transformation has been, it’s important to consider where she started.
Before U.P., Zrinka’s weight gain was out of control.
She was gaining weight at an alarming rate year on year because of a poor diet and a lack of exercise.
“I’m an emotional eater. I think the weight gain started after having some issues in our family business. Then my mum got diagnosed with cancer.
“Then after my mum passed away in 2015, it went even further up.
“I would be gaining about 22lbs (10kg) a year, easily.”
Food played a big part in Zrinka’s rapid weight gain.
Her husband was a vegetarian so Zrinka tried to do vegetarian food at home.
“Since I didn’t know how to do healthy vegetarian, it ended up being pasta, rice, curry and more pasta.
“Everything was fattening. If I wanted to add some taste, there would be cream and butter.
“My weight kept creeping up.”
Zrinka says she would buy supermarket convenience food that she thought was healthy, but was actually packed with calories.
She would have things like shop-bought chicken wraps, smoothies and Snickers bars for breakfast, Caesar salads or Pad Thai for lunch, then curry, rice and roti for dinner.
Even a snack at her favourite coffee shop could add up to nearly 1,500 calories for Zrinka with a couple of soy chai lattes and a chocolate brownie.
“I actually ate 4000-4500 calories a day, most probably even more on weekends.
“No wonder I was gaining 22 lbs (10kg) every year! That also goes to show how uneducated I was about different foods’ nutritional value.”
Every diet Zrinka tried to regain her health ended in failure, and often actually made her gain even more weight back.
Whether it was the latest shake diet or ketogenic plan, Zrinka just couldn’t find a way to sustain them.
“I did try every now and then, thinking ‘I’m going to be doing this juicing thing, or I’m going to be doing this keto thing.’
You try, but it’s not sustainable long term.
“You can handle it for a couple of weeks, or a month, and then eventually I’d give up.
“The weight would go down but it wouldn’t go down as fast, or I would feel hungry and then eat something and feel guilty. I thought ‘I’ve already messed the day up, I’ll just keep on going.’
“Then when I would gain the weigh again, but I would gain it even faster.”
This cycle of restrictive diets and then rebounding hard to gain more weight left Zrinka feeling down and helpless to do anything.
“I gained a ridiculous amount of weight. I was 99lbs (45kg) more than I normally am. That brought me to 275 lbs (125kg).
“It was horrible. It just feels like you’re worthless. Like you don’t deserve anything better.
“I lost all my confidence, including professionally, because when you eat all that bad food, it messes with your mind as well.
It’s these constant ups and downs with your mood.
“I felt lethargic, I had no confidence whatsoever, I didn’t feel beautiful, I felt just down most of the time. I think I might have been depressed without even knowing it. I just wanted to hide.”
Zrinka went to see the doctor several times fearing there was something underlying her rapid weight gain.
“A friend of mine told me I should check my thyroid, thinking that it’s hormonal because I was gaining so fast.
“Naturally, me thinking ‘it’s not down to my eating, it’s hormonal! That must be the explanation.’
“I went to the doctor. He said everything was fine.”
It was the same when Zrinka went to her GP to get tested for diabetes after her father was diagnosed with pre-diabetes.
“I checked that as well – no diabetes. It was really just down to my food and not moving whatsoever.
“The only thing doctors would say is ‘you should lose weight’ but they never really give you any advice on how to do it, what to do, what foods to eat. They just tell you ‘lose weight’. Sure, because it’s just that easy.
“What it ended up being, is extremely high cholesterol. It was way off the charts.
“But I went and have done the test a month ago, and it’s back to normal.”
Zrinka knew it was time to change. She had seen adverts in a magazine for Ultimate Performance but it took months before she was finally ready to commit after having one last go at losing weight herself.
“I couldn’t do it on my own. I tried, but I just couldn’t. I gained another 22 lbs (10kg), which brought me to (125kg) 275 lbs.”
At the time, the one thing holding her back had been money. But seeing it as an investment in her health and happiness changed her mind.
“A few months down the line, I said ‘That’s it! U.P. is my only chance out of this.
“When I actually thought about it, I thought ‘this is actually an investment in myself. What am I going to do, keep all that money in my account? For what?’
“I can’t buy nice things, I can’t wear nice dresses, I can’t do any of those things.
What am I going to do with the money? I might as well invest in myself and my health. So I did decide to do it.
“My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner!”
Zrinka remembers how daunting her first session at U.P. felt.
Starting a transformation felt way out of her comfort zone and she knew had a long road ahead of her.
“I had never done personal training before. My first day here was scary.
“I remember sitting waiting for my trainer, Adam. Everyone was doing all the big weights and everyone looked good. I was sitting there thinking ‘I’m so out of my comfort zone’ because when you’re that size, you know it’s going to be a long journey.
“You sort of want to give up before you’ve even started. You try and find excuses for why it’s not for you.”
Zrinka thought it would be easier just to give in right there and then. But she is glad she didn’t.
It’s not where you start at U.P. that counts, it’s where you end up.
“What I realised being here, you don’t have to be perfect or strive for perfection, the only thing you need to do is give your best and do it continuously and you will eventually see results.”
U.P. guided and supported her every step of the way to achieve a lasting and sustainable transformation for life.
Week after week, Zrinka saw real results and changes to her body happening right before her eyes.
The first 20 weeks of her transformation saw her lose an impressive 66lbs (30kg).
But Zrinka wasn’t done. She loved the results she had achieved and wanted more.
“U.P. showed me that I can achieve more. You see the real results and you see them week by week.
“You get to one goal and then you have another one because you want more.
“U.P. is highly addictive. So when you do start and you see the results, you know you can do it, so why back off now?
“Even now, I could be done and people ask why do I keep going? Because I love it!
“I love how it makes me feel! I love the results! And I know I can do so much more! I think I’m going to stay here for life!”
It was a transformational change for Zrinka. It helped her understand the simple fundamentals of nutrition and the power of weight training to affect rapid body composition change without having to follow draconian diets or a restrictive lifestyle.
“It was hard work. It’s not easy. But it’s just three days a week. Literally, one hour a day.
“It’s not killing yourself in the gym doing exercise. It’s not a ridiculously rigorous diet. It’s none of that. It’s absolutely doable.
“I’m not saying I was an angel all the time. If I was perfect with my food and my training all the time, I would be losing 116lbs (53kg) in 10 or 12 months.
“I did take it easy at times and there was business travel, so I couldn’t stick to it 100% all the time. But I did my best and the results that I got, losing 116lbs (53kg) in 16 months, I think it’s pretty amazing!”
Zrinka says her journey has been absolutely life-changing from feeling comfortable in clothes to being happy enough to take photographs of herself again.
“I struggle to show people what I looked like before because I don’t have any photos. The rule was no photographs. None whatsoever.
“The only ones I had were selfies. Then I would take 100 selfies, if not more from different angles so my chin was not visible.
“I would choose one or two photos that would stay with me.
“It’s a little sad because it’s five years or more of completely lost memories.
“Now? You can take pictures of me whenever you want!”
Shopping now for Zrinka is a pleasure rather than something to dread.
“The only trouble now is everything fits! So when everything fits perfectly, you don’t know what you’re going to go for!
“It’s like ‘okay, I’m going to try this. Wow! This is nice!’ And you try that, and you think ‘oh that’s ugly.’
“But when you put it on, it looks amazing just because I’ve got this amazing body now. My wallet does not like it!”
Looking in the mirror now is still a little bit of an alien experience. But Zrinka is thrilled with the changes she’s made.
“It doesn’t always feel like me. I keep looking at myself and my abs and I’m like ‘is that me? Are those mine?’
“It doesn’t always feel like me. But I like it!”
She says she has never experienced anything like the gym environment at U.P. where every trainer and client is laser-focused on achieving the best results possible.
“U.P. is so different to any other gym. It’s the atmosphere. It’s so highly addictive.
“Even if I come in here in a bad mood, I know that I’m going to come out with a big smile on my face. It’s going to make my day.
“Everyone is so helpful and they cheer for you and even though they’re not your trainer, they ask how you’re doing.
“It’s amazing. It feels like a family.”
Zrinka has one thing to say to anyone in two minds about starting a transformation at U.P. whether it’s down to time, cost or even if they don’t think the results are possible – ‘just do it!’
“You will never ever regret it. This was the best decision I ever made in my life.
“Seriously, the best decision. Investing in you, in your health, and in your wellbeing is the best thing anyone can do for themselves.”
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DISCLAIMER | Results may vary | Results are based on individual circumstances | Timeframes for results are not guaranteed | Willpower is always required!