Transformation of the day: Erika lost 146 pounds. He wanted to avoid a family history of illness, having lost his father to kidney disease and his mother to heart disease. She worked for several years to discover what healthy habits work for her, including a plant-based diet and weight training.
Starting weight: 296 pounds
Current weight: 150 pounds
Height – 5’5 ″
I can specifically remember the day when I felt different from the rest of my peers. I just graduated from high school. I was heading to high school and wanted to try out for the basketball team. Each potential player had to undergo a physical examination and training. We line up one by one for a weigh-in, girls and boys. They all shared their results and even made bets on who could guess their exact weight. I stepped on the scale and saw the number 202 appear. I must say I was traumatized! He was 13 years old and weighed more than everyone else. For some reason, I couldn’t see myself. Maybe he was used to it because he had always been overweight.
I was always a person who supported his weight well (or a person who only wore comfortable clothes to hide my body). Obesity had become normal for me. Unconsciously, I used genetics as an excuse and even said, “I have big bones.” (Those things do not exist by the way). As I reflect, I realize that eating became a mechanism for coping with the things I went through as a child.
Years later, a similar situation triggered the same traumatic emotions that I felt on my first physical exam in high school. At age 31, after living my entire adulthood with being overweight / obese, I got on the scale and saw 296 pounds. He always ran from scales. I didn’t want to feel like I did in the ninth grade. However, this time, as an adult, I felt personally responsible for “letting go” and fell into depression. During that mental battle with myself, I realized that I did not want to follow the same path as my parents.
My father passed away from kidney failure when I was 11 years old. My mother passed away from heart failure just after her 23rd birthday. He wanted to escape that same fate of ill health. It was enough.
I decided to change but did not know where to start. I was very intimidated by the gym, so I took group fitness classes and paid for personal training in a large gym. The three-month training program gave me a good start in doing things on my own. My health became the most important aspect of my life. I developed responsibility, self-discipline, self-awareness, and self-esteem in the process. I started going to the gym religiously and even cut friends and family that were toxic to my growth.
I lost 100 pounds in my first year because I had a lot to lose (2016). I lost 40 pounds in my second year when I start to stagnate (2017). Then I lost the remaining 10 pounds in 2018 after finally tackling my diet. My current weight is 150 pounds.
I immediately cut red meat for the first year of my trip, but still ate fish and chicken occasionally. I didn’t know anything about nutrition, which I regret because my progress would have been faster if I focused more on my diet. I started intermittent fasting and cut all meat during my sophomore year and adopted a plant-based lifestyle.
He trained five days a week (Monday through Friday). My exercise routine consisted of at least an hour of cardio each day (walking, jogging, jumping rope), and lifting heavy weights.
I started studying exercise nutrition and physiology to better understand what my body was going through. I was so intrigued and grateful that I signed up for the National Council for Certified Personal Trainers program. I decided to pay for it and not only focus more on myself, but help others.
My mission is to make people know that anything is possible and inspire healthy living around the world. My personal experience with obesity, along with my education, gives me the necessary information to push my clients to achieve their goals.
The advice I would give to anyone struggling with their weight is: “Change your mind, change your life.” The biggest obstacle to overcome is your mind. The body will follow. Once you commit to yourself, nothing can stop you!