Barbara Calabrese, a 47-year-old former world champion martial artist, went from being disabled, overweight and deeply depressed to a fit and strong Body by Vi 90-Day Challenge Champion! Her story is one of unyielding dedication, triumph and inspiration. Read on to discover how a simple recommendation from a friend changed Barbara’s life forever.

From Elite Athlete to Bedridden

Barbara’s story begins a little differently than most. Prior to falling ill with anemia, she was an elite athlete who took pride in her fitness, physique and healthy lifestyle.

“I have been doing martial arts for 20 years,” Barbara says. “I am a regional, national, and world champion, and I have always played sports.”

However, she soon found herself sacked with an uncommon type of anemia (a blood condition that results from a lack of healthy blood cells in the body), and very little guidance or answers from the medical professionals she was relying on.

Struggling with a number of health issues, Barbara eventually found herself hospitalized and bedridden for four and a half months. During this period she was unable to walk and underwent a series of risky blood transfusions and physical therapy to help her get back on her feet. Sadly, she also lost her memory.

“I lost my memory for two months; I have a hole in my memory from that time and I don’t remember anything of that period.”

Eventually, her doctors were able to pinpoint her rare type of anemia, and she was able to recover. However, she was heartbroken to discover she had packed on 26 lbs. during her hospital stay.

An Uphill Battle

Although Barbara finally had answers and a solution to her health issues, she was faced with the side effects of weight gain from the cortisone shots and being sedentary for four and a half months.  She was unable to do any type of physical activity due to muscle weakness. She was also experiencing other devastating physical side effects.

“I began to lose my hair…I didn’t want to go out anymore,” she says. “I was ashamed. I was very fat, white as a sheet… with spotted hair…I had to be taken to the bathroom. I wanted to die.”

Four and a half months in the hospital left Barbara with weak, numb muscles. She had to depend on a wheelchair and when she wasn’t confined to the wheelchair, she dragged her feet.

Doctors told Barbara that she would have to endure two and a half years of rehabilitation with physiatrists and physiotherapists. Barbara was overwhelmed and depressed with the amount of time she would have to spend recuperating. Thinking about the enormous cost of her medical bills and the amount that she would have to pay for her prescriptions was also creating stress and anxiety.

“I felt like I was in a very deep valley that I’d never be able to get out of.”

A Chance Encounter

Barbara had no idea how quickly her life would change with one little suggestion from her friend. As Barbara was headed to physical therapy a friend of hers suggested that she try out the Vi-Shape shakes. He gave her two packets to start and asked her to call him on the third day to see what she thought of them. Initially, she wasn’t enthusiastic about trying out the shakes. She didn’t touch them for over a week.

But when she did try them, she was stunned with the delicious taste.

“All I could remember was how good the chocolate shake with dried fruit and cashews tasted!

Barbara immediately felt a boost of energy and strength that she hadn’t felt in years. The best part? She lost 2lbs in a week! Curious about the ingredients, she decided to check out the back of the package. She was convinced that the surge of energy must have come from stimulants. She was thrilled to find that there were absolutely zero stimulants found in the shakes and she decided to purchase more immediately!

On the Road to Victory

After a month of drinking the shake every day, Barbara not only began to lose more weight—she also found the confidence to join a gym!

“I still remember the excitement I felt when I climbed on to the treadmill at a very low speed. My legs were moving!”

At the three-month mark Barbara discovered that she lost all the weight she had gained while she was bedridden and immobile. She was proud of herself for gaining her life back and getting out of the deep, dark hole that she felt doomed to live in forever.

With the success of the first three months with Vi-Shape shakes, Vi Crunch and various other Vi snacks, Barbara was up for another Challenge: This time, she wanted to build muscle.

“I was worried about taking on this Challenge at 47, but I decided to dust off my exercise books,” she says. “I’m not into bright neon workout clothes and earphones at the gym. To build muscle I did a lot of high intensity training. I used ropes, bags, resistance bands and hand weights at home. Slowly, I started to see the muscles coming through! I can’t wait to see myself looking stunning in a bikini!”

Barbara is looking forward to making progress in the final stretch of the Body by Vi 90-Day Challenge.

Although she was faced with many hurdles, she never gave up on herself. Her story is proof that you’re never too weak or too old to regain strength and earn your best body with the help of Vi Shape shakes and an inspirational, life-changing Challenge!


Disclaimer: Results may vary based on each individual’s physical health, diet and exercise. The weight-loss results described in testimonials or photos are not typical for every individual. These pictures are used by Vi exactly as they were received by the participants and Vi verifies their truthfulness and reliability. A healthy and active lifestyle, a healthy, varied and balanced diet, and a safe reduction in daily caloric intake compared to daily energy expenditure are always necessary to obtain healthy and stable weight loss.