Austin Nicholls weight loss YMCA of Okanagan

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According to Statistics Canada, 20.2 per cent of Canadians aged 18 and older, roughly 5.3 million adults, were classified as obese based on their reported height and weight. The World Obesity Federation predicts this number will increase to more than 10 million Canadians by 2025, which is particularly concerning considering its link to many chronic diseases, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis and certain types of cancer. 

Growing up, Austin Nicholls consistently struggled with his weight, which fluctuated between healthy and unhealthy levels, but by the time he graduated, he weighed almost 300lbs. 

While Austin’s battles with obesity have been long and difficult, since beginning a life-changing fitness journey with the YMCA in April 2017, he has successfully lost 70 pounds. 

“I was able to lose the weight through a combination of diet, exercise and lifestyle changes,” Nicholls proclaimed. “While I didn’t have a motivator per say, I had lost the weight before, so I knew it was possible, however it wasn’t going to be easy.”

Looking to get back in shape, but on a tight budget after relocating to the Okanagan from Niagara, Ontario, Nicholls heard about the YMCA of Okanagan’s Financial Assistance program and decided to check it out.

“A friend of mine was using the Financial Assistance program and told me about it,” said Nicholls. “My limitation to getting healthy was purely financial, so once this barrier was removed, I joined H2O Adventure + Fitness Centre, which is operated by the Y.”  

Trisha Hodgins, who often assists members with their financial assistance applications as the Member Services Manager at H2O Adventure + Fitness Centre, is proud to offer support to local community members. 

“At the YMCA, it is our mission to ensure anyone who wishes to join our YMCA family can do so regardless of their financial situation,” explained Hodgins. “The progress Austin has made in just over a year is inspiring and we are so proud to be part of an organization that offers health prevention programs, coaching and access for all.” 
Austin could not have lost the weight without access to the equipment, but more importantly, a space to be able to separate his personal life from his recreational one.

“If I didn’t have a place to go or a reason to leave the house to be active and healthy, then I probably would have stayed in the same downward spiral that I was in,” said Nicholls.

Being overweight can cause low confidence and self-esteem, leading to serious health issues, isolation and depression.

For anyone thinking of embarking on their own fitness journey, Austin shared this piece of advice. “Stay dedicated to your goal until you feel comfortable in your own skin.” 

For anyone looking to reach their optimal level of health after the summer holidays and BBQ season, the YMCA of Okanagan will offer new members their first month for free with the purchase of a continuous membership. Learn more out this amazing offer by visiting

If financial circumstances are limiting your ability to participate, you may be eligible for Assisted Membership, thanks to the generosity of donors. Learn more by visiting