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N.S. man’s weight-loss journey gets big lift from Arnold Schwarzenegger

A Halifax-area chef has gained a famous following after posting about his weight-loss journey on Twitter.

Derrick Bona of Eastern Passage, N.S. caught the attention of Arnold Schwarzenegger last Wednesday, who re-tweeted his progress picture saying: “You’ve got this, so I’m really just sharing your tweet to inspire everyone else. I’m proud of you.”

Bona said it’s been the craziest week of his life.

“What better person to give you some confidence than Arnold? The king of weight-lifting,” Bona told Global News Morning.

People told me to offer you some encouragement, but you don’t need any. You’ve got this, so I’m really just sharing your tweet to inspire everyone else. I’m proud of you. — Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) April 19, 2023

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Bona said he and his wife had just sat down for supper last week when his phone began to blow up with messages and tweets.

“I thought I’m like getting hacked or something,” he said, “and then a friend of mine’s like, ‘Do you realize you just got retweeted by Arnold with a personal message?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, I do now!’”

In the beginning, Bona weighed about 600 pounds. He said he even had to order a special scale on Amazon that companies use to weigh packages.

However, after three weeks, Bona was weighing in at 561. As of Saturday, he’s down a considerable 83 pounds.

“I am now 517 pounds, and I’m 18 pounds away from never seeing 500 again,” Bona told Global’s Eilish Bonang.

Here it is my Saturday weight in. Last week I was 524 pounds this week I am 517 pounds I lost this week I was 7 pounds. Thank you to everyone who has shown me support this week. Your helped me get these extra pounds. I am now 18 pounds away from never seeing 500 pounds again. — Derrick Bona (@ChefBonesNS) April 22, 2023

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Bona said his weight-loss journey began after a fall outside his home in January left him in a dark place.

“I was out with my father and my wife and I just, I couldn’t pick myself back up,” he said. “I was rolling around, basically like a beached whale.”

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That’s when Bona knew he had to make a change, or he wouldn’t be around much longer.

“So I chose to put all the cards in and bet on myself,” he said.

As a dedicated Toronto Blue Jays fan, Bona said his internet popularity began with a simple tweet sharing his plans to lose some weight so he could get back to see them play.

“I’d seen them in 2016, and when I was there I couldn’t fit in the seats. I had to sit in a section that was wheelchair accessible, and I felt bad that I was taking up that spot,” Bona said, “Obviously, I’m doing it for me to live a healthier life, but I’m using getting back to the Rogers Centre as motivation to keep going.”

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Another motivation in Bona’s life is his wife Angie. He said she has been his rock by supporting him along his journey, and even doing it with him.

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“We keep each other accountable and I’m very proud of her,” Bona said.

Bona said he regularly sets himself goals, mostly little things he hopes to do for himself again soon — like putting on socks and tying his shoes.

His long-term goal, however, is much more exciting. Bona hopes to one day throw out the first pitch at a Blue Jays game.

“That would be the epitome of everything for me,” he said.

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