Transformation of the Day: Erika lost 101 pounds. She didn’t think that walking for exercise would be enough to release the pounds, but she was happy to be proven wrong. One of the things I love that she shared: “You may ask why I’m writing my story. I’m doing this for any little girl who is struggling with insecurities on a daily basis or who is about to give up on herself and life. I’m doing this for all the naysayers to tell them I’m not your expectations.” Check out her journey.
I have always struggled with my weight. Growing up, I was considered the big girl. Honestly, I never really even loved my self. I never really saw myself as pretty or attractive, because I was bullied and talked about a lot in high school. I had never really tried to lose weight back then because I figured there was no hope.
When I tell you that I eventually tried everything to lose weight, I really did. From 2 hour workouts to diet pills. Every crazy diet craze you’ve heard of, I tried it. My turning point came in 2014. I was sitting in on a diabetic care group meeting at church where my dad is the minister. I was listening to a licensed health care professional talk about how diabetes affects the body. Diabetes has destroyed and invaded the lives of so many in the African American community. How do I know? Right now it is affecting the lives of many of my loved ones (my dad just to name one). I decided that enough was enough. I had to break the cycle and it had to start with me.
Thus began my weight loss journey two and a half years ago with a cheap pair of walking shoes and a New Year’s resolution to lose 20 pounds. My oldest sister Ashley introduced me to Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home program. It’s a simple and easy walking exercise program where you can walk miles in your own home. No equipment needed… that’s right nothing. All you need is some walking shoes and determination.
I’ll be honest, at first when I put in the dvd, I said this has got to be a joke right? No one can lose weight just by walking. Workouts have to be hard and intense. I gave it a two week try. Well, two weeks turned into 5 months and by that point I had lost my first 20 pounds. I can tell you that my life was change after the first time I did my first workout. At first, I was only able to walk two miles because the weight around my ankles made it hard for me to do anything more than 30 minutes. So, my mom stepped in, joined me and she is my official walking buddy. When I first started working out I would workout 4 times a week. I slowly built up to 5 days and now I workout 6 days a week.
I changed my eating habits by simply cutting back on sweets and eating everything in moderation. I always use a smart, fun, free tool called My Fitness Pal. It really helped me stay accountable and it even became something that I looked forward to. I started eating more salads, fruits, veggies and I cut out red meat. I still eat it, but only once or twice a week. I didn’t go on a diet because I didn’t want to feel like I was depriving myself.
At the end of my first year, I lost a total of 61 pounds. I went from 261 lbs to 200 lbs. Fast forward to 2015, I hit a major plateau. I didn’t lose anything until November. I got comfortable with where I was, caught the flu and was put on steroids. I was so discouraged because the number on the scale was standing still. I didn’t gain weight, but it was super hard for me to lose. After thanksgiving that year, I said, “I’m close to graduation and if I can make it through college with a dual major I know I can do anything, especially finishing this weight loss journey.” Someone once said that when things get hard, don’t quit just rest. I jumped back on the band wagon and started losing weight again.
Here I am, on June 29, 2016, weighing in at 160 pounds. My height is 5 feet 9 inches tall. Leslie Samson has been my personal trainer. I own over 25 of her DVDs. It would be a dream of mine just to meet her and thank her personally for being my motivation.
You may ask why I’m writing my story. I’m doing this for any little girl who is struggling with insecurities on a daily basis or who is about to give up on herself and life. I’m doing this for all the naysayers to tell them I’m not your expectations. I’m first and foremost writing this to myself to confirm that I’m worth it. One thing that I wish I could tell everyone who is starting their journey is that if you don’t love yourself before the journey you won’t love yourself after. Do it for you not for others, because if they don’t love you as you are now they never will.
Erika is featured as a success story on Leslie Sansone’s website.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small portion of the sale. It’s one of the ways we keep this movement going.