Transformation of the Day: Erika lost 146 pounds. She wanted to avoid a family history of illness, having lost her father to kidney disease and her mother to heart disease. She worked for several years to figure out what healthy habits work for her, including eating a plant-based diet and weight training.
Starting Weight: 296 pounds
Current Weight: 150 pounds
Height – 5’5″
I can specifically remember the day that I felt different from the rest of my peers. I just graduated from middle school. I was headed to High School and wanted to try out for the basketball team. Every potential player had to undergo a physical exam and workout. We lined up one by one for a weigh-in, girls and guys. Everyone shared their results and even had bets on who could guess their exact weight. I stepped on the scale and watched as the number 202 popped up. I must say that I was traumatized! I was 13 years old and weighed more than EVERYONE else. For some reason, I couldn’t see myself. Maybe I was used to it because I’d always been overweight.
I was always a person who carried their weight well, (or a person who just wore comfortable clothing to hide my body in.) Obesity had become normal to me. Subconsciously, I used genetics as an excuse and would even say, “I’m big-boned.” (that stuff doesn’t exist by the way). As I reflect, I realize that eating became a coping mechanism for the things that I went through as a child.
Years later, a similar situation brought forth the same traumatizing emotions I felt at my first high school physical. At 31 years old, after living my entire adulthood overweight/obese, I stepped on the scale and saw 296 pounds. I always ran from scales. I didn’t want to feel the way I felt in the 9th grade. This time though, as an adult, I felt personally responsible for “letting myself go” and fell into a depression. During that mental battle with myself, I realized that I didn’t want to go down the same path my parents did.
My father passed away from kidney failure when I was 11 years old. My mother passed away from heart failure just after my 23rd birthday. I wanted to escape that same fate of bad health. Enough was enough.
I made the choice to change but didn’t know where to start. I was extremely intimidated by the gym, so I took group fitness classes and paid for personal training at a big box gym. The three-month training program gave me a jump start to do things on my own. My health became the most important aspect of my life. I developed accountability, self-discipline, self-awareness, and self-love in the process. I started going to the gym religiously, and even cut off friends and family members who were toxic to my growth.
I lost 100 pounds during my first year because I had so much to lose (2016). I lost 40 pounds in my second year as I begin to plateau (2017). Then, I lost a remaining 10 pounds in 2018 after finally addressing my diet. My current weight is 150 pounds.
I immediately cut out red meat during the first year of my journey, but I still ate fish and chicken occasionally. I didn’t know anything about nutrition, which I regret because my progress would’ve been faster if I focused more on my diet. I started intermittent fasting and cut out all meat during my 2nd year and adopted a plant-based lifestyle.
I worked out five days a week (Monday – Friday). My workout routine consisted of at least an hour of cardio each day (walking, jogging, jump rope), and lifting heavy weights.
I started studying nutrition and exercise physiology to get a better understanding of what my body was going through. I was so intrigued and grateful that I enrolled in The National Council for Certified Personal Trainers program. I decided to pay it forward and not just focus on myself anymore, but help others.
My mission is to let people know that anything is possible and to inspire healthy living across the world. My personal experience with obesity, along with my education, gives me the insight needed to push my clients to reach their goals.
The advice I’d give to anyone struggling with their weight is, “Change your mind, Change your life”. The biggest obstacle to get over is your mind. The body will follow. Once you make a commitment to yourself, nothing can stop you!