If you’re anything like me, midnight on New Years involved a large glass of fizz and some dramatic changes to your life. Whether it be to diet, travel more or be a better friend, we are all guilty of having committed to a New Year’s resolution. For a majority, these achievable goals are forgotten within days, for others they are religiously adhered to.
As the second week of 2018 commences, we know that the struggle must be real. Your tastebuds tingle for chocolate, and your mind tells you to buy that new jumper even though you’ve put yourself on a spending ban. So to highlight just how powerful commitment is, and encourage you to stick with it, let us introduce you to Zoey Wright, a remarkable young woman who proves that you can do it…
When Zoey Wright’s weight rapidly plummeted from 140 lbs to 112 lbs in 2012, the 22-year-old was concerned. As a sports rehabilitation student, she was aware that her unexplained weight loss was not natural or healthy. Alarmed she visited the doctor, who delivered some rather horrifying news.
Zoey was told that her body was slowly shutting down as a result of her white blood cells attacking the healthy lining of her bowel wall. “I just cried. I cried a lot,” she recalls. “I could barely walk and sometimes I couldn’t even leave my bed to even wash myself because I was so weak.”
After her diagnosis, Zoey was admitted to hospital where she commenced with trials for various different drugs in an attempt to treat her condition – which by this point had been confirmed as Ulcerative Colitis, a condition which affects one in every 250 people in the UK.
As a result of her illness, Zoey is forced to wear a stoma bag (also called ostomy bags), which collects the waste material – something that many wearers can find embarrassing. However, Zoey proudly showcases hers to her 55.2K Instragram followers, and during compeitions.
One of her hospital stints included a continuous month confined to a ward after doctors became concerned that her bowel could perforate causing a fatal toxic shock.
Just when Zoey thought it couldn’t get any worse, doctors told her that she’d need to have ileostomy surgery – a procedure which removes a part, or all, or the large bowel and moves the small bowel to the outside of the abdomen where it forms a stoma.
Faced with this ultimatum, Zoey decided she’d rather attempt to heal herself. Turning her back on medication she dedicated her energy to bodybuilding. Supported by her family she felt better than ever. But, before she could get too comfortable her Ulcerative Colitis returned.
“My UC would remind me it was there, tearing away my insides, causing me chronic pain and leading to countless hospital admissions, countless drugs, treatments,” she said. “It was mentally and physically pulling me down.”
Two years after her diagnosis, Zoey agreed to undergo the ileostomy surgery that she’d been offered when she was diagnosed. But, rather than feel pity for her situation Zoey, from Cornwall in England, chose to focus her attention to something that would make her body look and feel strong, despite the surgery she had been forced to have.
Just 10 months after her life-saving operation, Zoey was up on stage parading her impressive body at fitness modeling events.
Bodybuilding became an outlet for the 22-year-old who is now the Overall World Champion for the largest growing fitness modeling federation in the UK, Pure Elite. Not only that but she is also the face of leading sports nutrition brand, USN.
“I’ve been through some extremely tough times accepting my illness. As a young female having the surgery had a massive impact on my body confidences, so when I chose to become a fitness model and step on stage it was really about stepping out of my comfort zone.”
“In such an image ordinated industry I wanted to share my journey and reach women and men from all over the world to inspire them to challenge themselves every single day. I think we must all learn to embrace the fact we all have flaws.”
“My message to anyone struggling in life whether that is with IBD, other health conditions or mental health issues is to do one thing every day that scares you,” she told Metro
“Something that challenges you to step outside of your comfort zone. I have lived by this etho ever since my surgery and ever since then every day seems to get better and better.”
If this hasn’t inspired you to stick to your New Year’s resolutions, then I don’t know what will! Zoey is a role model to us all and we wish her the very best on her fitness journey!