Dan Trujillo Photo by Christian Toews

Dan Trujillo survived childhood cancer and later substance abuse. Now, he strives to inspire and motivate others.

Dan Trujillo stronger than life’s obstacles

By Christian Toews
November 1, 2021

Dan Trujillo’s life is marked by overcoming challenges. He was diagnosed with Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a deadly form of blood and bone marrow cancer, when he was only three years old. It took seven years of chemotherapy and fighting before his cancer finally went into remission. Dan is now 39 years old, and cancer was just the beginning of his life’s challenges.

When he was around the age of 22, he began cooking and selling Methamphetamine. According to Trujillo, he began using and selling the drugs and did so for ten years. Dan decided to go to a rehab facility and get clean. He was living in Colorado and heard about the Choctaw Nation’s rehabilitation program. He said he called the rehab and was told they would put him on the waiting list, but Dan didn’t give up.

“I drove down and knocked on the door and told them I need to be in here. They finally let me in,” he said. After going through the rehab clinic, Trujillo said that he was clean from drugs, but he still wasn’t healthy.

After rehab, Trujillo commented on his health, saying, “I got clean and sober in rehab and felt like I was getting healthy, but I wasn’t healthy because I was still 376 lbs.” He was able to join the Choctaw Wellness Center and began working out.

“This has been the place to help me become successful with weight loss. Over the last seven years, I’ve lost 180lbs of body fat, all through diet, nutrition, and exercise,” said Dan. “I didn’t have any weight loss surgery. The only surgery I had was to remove loose skin after losing so much weight, and I paid for that out of my pocket.”

Dan recently found out that one of the chemotherapy drugs that saved his life as a child also heavily contributed to his obesity. Dan attributes his success to hard work and setting goals through all three of these significant life battles. “I made my goals bigger than my excuses,” he said.

This level of determination has propelled Dan even further. He now competes in body-building competitions throughout the year. He said he is now proud to show off the body he has worked so hard to have. “I used to try and hide my body, but now I wear tighter clothes and can feel confident in them because of all the work that I have done,” Dan said.

Trujillo didn’t stop with his improvement. He is now a full-time employee at the Choctaw Nation’s Wellness Center in Durant, and he helps people achieve their goals. Dan holds multiple fitness and nutrition certifications and is very passionate about helping people achieve their goals in fitness.

“Honestly, weight loss and body-building are what I’m best at. I want to help you look and feel your best,” said Dan.

Dan said anyone could do the things that he has done, but you have to want to. “My biggest thing is, once your goals are bigger than your excuses, there is no stopping you,” explained Trujillo. He urges anyone looking to lose weight to focus on what you are eating even more than your exercise program.

“You can train them till you’re blue in the face, but if they aren’t eating right, it isn’t going to do any good. Nutrition needs to be number one. Training is the second part of it, but the food is everything,” he said.

He said that he uses his story to inspire people and motivate them to start or continue their weight loss journey. As a parent himself, he wants to encourage parents to take charge of their health for their children’s sake. “You say you’d die for your kids, well why not live for them,” said Dan. “Stop feeding your kids junk; stop eating junk; get into the gym and start living for them,” he continued. Dan emphasized that nothing will motivate you unless you are ready to do it, but he encourages everyone to take control of their health for themselves, their family, and friends.

Dan lives with his wife Mo Trujillo in Calera. He is available for clients and consultations at the Choctaw Wellness Center in Durant. For more information on the Choctaw Wellness Center, visit choctawwellness.com.