Transformation of the Day: Erica lost 91 pounds with healthy eating habits and exercise. Her journey isn’t just about physical change. It’s about personal growth and transforming her mindset. She knows that comparison is the thief of joy, and we each have a unique journey.
I was hesitant to share this beyond my close social group, but I thought I would share a photo of my journey and some words that I wrote and hold close to me every day. Hopefully, the message will resonate with others.
Getting caught up in the comparison game is a constant mindf*ck. I’ve always had this nagging feeling of being less than. Whether it’s friendships, looks, romantic relationships, or work experiences, I could never understand why I didn’t measure up or why someone else seemingly had it easier. In those moments, I relied heavily on self-deprecation and humor because sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying. Has anyone else existed in this headspace?
What I’ve come to realize is that growth is a wild process. So many things may not make sense at the moment, but you’ll eventually see the lesson. The biggest lesson for me was learning that growth is different for EVERYONE. It cannot be forced. I can’t compare myself to the next person because we aren’t the same flower. We all require different nourishment throughout our journey. We will bloom and develop differently and in our own time, and that is 100% okay. The best thing any of us can do is try to be better than yesterday–better physically, mentally, as a partner, as a friend. Just BETTER.
Part of me wishes I would have learned this sooner, but I’m grateful to have learned it at all. I recognize that all lessons aren’t a quick-release capsule. You have to let that stuff work through you with time. Each day I’m leaning into my uniqueness and appreciating what I DO have. I’m learning to place emphasis on the proper places in my life and with the proper people. Be kind to yourself. Learn to love and live in a journey that is filled with peaks and valleys. Know that you are enough.
What was your motivation? What inspired you to keep going, even when you wanted to give up?
My motivation came from a mixture of self-deprecation, a lack of confidence, and chest pains. How I felt about myself showed in both my work life and personal life. I was eating any and everything, not working out, and my body (mentally and physically) was paying the price. I reached a point where I was tired of sitting on the sidelines and lacking faith in myself. I wasn’t happy with what I saw physically, but I had spent such a long time hating myself and knew I had a lot of work to do mentally. I worked on how I spoke to myself and learned to appreciate my body and mind for the things they COULD do vs. what they COULDN’T. Those little changes started to add up and turned into something bigger.
I reached a point where I felt comfortable working out in front of others, and I had a Venmo bet with my friend John to hold myself accountable for the workouts. If one of us didn’t work out on a particular day, we had to pay the other person. There were definitely days I woke up not wanting to go to the gym, but that’s when that positive self-talk really kicked in. I left myself visual reminders of my why’s and my progress–whether it was before & after pictures or notes about how I’ve gotten stronger. You’ll regret not going to the gym, but you’ll never regret going.
How did you change your eating habits?
My eating changes were gradual. I joined Weight Watchers (WW) as a way to learn about portion control. I gravitated toward WW because it wasn’t restrictive. It’s a great tool to teach you how to enjoy the foods you love but in moderation. I learned that I, like a lot of women, was protein deficient.
My focus turned to increased protein, moderate fat, and lower carbs. That tends to be what my body responds to the best. I also kept notes on the foods I ate for the first few months, noting how foods actually made me FEEL–something I don’t think we pay enough attention to. I love a good donut just as much as the next person, and the thought of it makes me happy–but I noticed they make me feel sluggish and a bit foggy once I eat them. Dairy is hard on the system, especially for people of color, so I try to keep my dairy consumption to a minimum and have it earlier in the day. Don’t be afraid to try dairy-free alternatives; there are so many delicious ones on the market!
What did your workout routine consist of? How often did you work out?
I worked with Deanna Hammond, a personal trainer in the Indianapolis area, twice per week for the first six months. I had never weight trained and wanted to make sure I had proper form and guidance. She is awesome.
I worked out 5-6 days per week for 45-60 minutes. On the days I didn’t see my trainer, I followed online workouts at my local gym or attended boxing classes. Today, I work out five days per week for about 45 minutes, typically in a (socially distanced) group fitness setting that focuses on weight/resistance training. I still enjoy boxing for cardio, and I’ve found that running isn’t quite as bad as I used to believe it was.
What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
I started at 302 pounds, and I currently weigh 211 pounds.
What is your height?
I am 5’10”.
When did you start your journey? How long did your transformation take?
I started my journey on April 1, 2019. It took me about 11 months to reach my current weight. I’m so excited about my progress, but the journey isn’t over. Stay tuned!
Is weight loss surgery part of your journey?
I have not had any weight loss surgery.
What advice do you have for women who want to lose weight?
Your mindset comes first on this journey–do it for YOU. Be clear on the whys and what’s behind your desire to make physical changes. However, that won’t be effective unless you start the mental work. Take time for yourself each day. You can’t be there for everyone else if you aren’t showing up for yourself.
Approach each day with a heart of gratitude and an open mind. Surround yourself with those who support your journey. Be kind to yourself and know that your journey doesn’t have to look like someone else’s. Don’t get caught up in the comparison game because you are your own unique flower. What’s required for your growth and nourishment is for YOU and you alone.
Appreciate where you are at the beginning and show yourself grace. Be patient along your journey, and be realistic. You may have weeks where you don’t see the scale move, AND THAT IS OKAY. Celebrate those victories that have nothing to do with the scale. Maybe your weight hasn’t changed, but you’re able to walk or run faster than the prior week. Self-work isn’t easy, but it’s truly the best work you’ll ever do. The journey will have ebbs and flows, but remember that you’re strong, capable, and worthy. No victory is too small on the path to your goals, and you deserve to be celebrated!