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A Very Big Piece of My Weight Loss Story

Taken: February 26th, 2009The other night, on twitter, I was asked about different pieces of my story. I guess that means… more about my struggle? How I came to a point where I was comfortable with my efforts and my ability to continue on to where I want to be?

Okay.. here goes.

Once upon a time, I lived in Denton, TX. A student at UNorth Texas, I had a close friend who I’ve mentioned on this site before, named Alyse. She’d hit the campus gym (which was absolutely stunning and seriously state of the art.. floating track and all that) at nights, and started inviting me. Me, at 300+lbs and with a 8month old beauty on my hands, I figured it couldn’t hurt, right? I mean, if nothing else, I could get a good walk with minimal exposure to outdoor elements with my daughter. If only I could commit to it.

Needless to say, I didn’t. I fizzled out quickly and, although I wish she did, Alyse didn’t push me on this. She did stick by me, though.

Fast forward about another 8 months, and I’ve moved back home to prepare to start my own business. In the time of being at home, I’d put on a good 30 lbs. I wouldn’t admit it, but it felt like someone was pumping air into my spare tire. Being home was stressful… my mother – as much as I love and value her role in my life – is a stressor. Living under someone else’s roof… is a stressor. Single parenthood… is a stressor. Starting your own business… definite stressor. I’d turn to food, simply because it shuts up, gives me what I need, and makes me feel good. Was the high temporary? Of course… but that was all the more reason to eat some more.

It wasn’t my house, so I kinda sorta couldn’t really cook in it. I would dip to the grocery store and buy little quick microwaveables – things that’d allow me to heat, eat, and retreat back out of my mom’s sight. It was her house, I didn’t want her to feel burdened in her own home. Needless to say, the weight just came piling on.

By about May, I had finally received my articles of incorporation, and was feeling accomplished. Feeling like I could really just get up and take off… and my mother mentioned the brand new fitness center that opened up around the corner. I rolled my eyes… beyond normal eye-rolling, even. But I was so high off of getting incorporated that I said, “Screw it. Let’s go.”

My Old GymThe gym, an Anytime Fitness, was gorgeous. Mirrors everywhere (mind you, I didn’t look in ANY), beautiful shiny machines, and TVs! Hallelujah! TVs! The owner gave me a personal tour. Told me what some machines did, showed me the importance of certain exercises, and really drove a hard sale on getting me to join. Now, I work in marketing – I know when I’m being pitched to and when someone’s genuine. He was clearly a combination of both – he had to be in his mid to late 50s and was on some Jack LaLanne fitness type mess, but at the same time he needed memberships. So I accepted, and let myself sink into his sales pitch. I NEEDED to be compelled to do this.

Once his pitch became unbearable, I excused myself to the bathroom. Inside, it was this beautiful rusty color. Nice lil’ shower curtains. Clean bathroom complete with sprays and magazines.

And a scale.

I jumped on that scale. I won’t tell you exactly what it said, but once it soared past 300, I ’bout had a HEART ATTACK. I just sobbed my little heart out. After remembering that I had to eventually leave the bathroom, I collected myself and stepped outside… only to start sobbing again.

The owner (who was also a trainer) consoled me, assured me that I COULD – in fact – do this thing, and offered me the standard two training sessions that came free with my membership. Help me become knowledgeable about the equipment, how different machines help different parts of the body, and help me figure out the best course of action for my own body. I took him up on his offer.

0727080039bTo speed up the story a bit, about six months went by with my membership, and I had lost about 28 lbs. In theory, about a pound a week. To clarify, I was going to the gym 28 days a month (yes, that Erika K. over there is me!), and was regularly number 1 for most gym visits in a month. I spent at least an hour in there every night that I went. I didn’t know that there were reasons for such minimal results on a regular basis. Honestly, I didn’t care. I knew there was something much more important for me to address, and getting over myself and getting used to investing in myself regularly was more important than seeing the scale move. Learning to accept that I had to ruin my hair, on occasion, and sweat a little was more important than seeing the scale move. For now, that is.

After those six months, I packed up and moved my daughter and I to Miami. No gym membership here, although there is a little gym in the apartment complex. I never visited that bad boy, though.

After three months in Miami, I gained about 14lbs. Talk about a shocker! I was beyond confused! What part of the game was THAT? I knew I needed to start back up, but I didn’t understand how I could gain so much weight so quickly. I didn’t understand how I was shortchanging myself.

Two months more passed by, and after changing my eating habits a bit, the weight gain slowed down. I had three relatively traumatic events occur back to back, and I even remember the night the straw broke the camel’s back. I was baking a tin of muffins (you read that right – some box muffins, no less) and when the word came around, I walked in the kitchen, yanked the muffinsΒ  – half done – out of the oven. I just… stared at them. I just so happened to be so nauseated, that I couldn’t eat. I stuck the half done muffins in the fridge. I thought I might have an appetite, and eat them later.

I didn’t.

Taken May 6, 2009In fact, I only had a desire to eat raw vegetables, because they were light, less greasy, and wouldn’t turn my stomach. I won’t tell you how much weight I lost within the time frame that I did only eat raw veggies, but it was enough to make me realize that my eating habits were a problem. I just didn’t know how to address that problem.

A Sorority sister of mine with relatively healthy eating habits visited the grocery store with us one day. She knew about the changes in my weight, knew that I wanted to keep up the momentum, and knew that I was serious about changing my life. So.. we literally fought in the grocery store. If I reached for something I had no business buying, she slapped my hand. I think, at one point, I actually started throwin’ stuff at her.

“You don’t have to eat like this, Erika,” were her words. Hell, I didn’t know there were other options. Later that day, I remember saying to her “Gosh, I’m starving. Let’s go to Checkers right quick.” She told me, “No. You’ve got food at home.” That was actually the last time I ever even asked for fast food. I got her point.

Time passed, and I was losing weight without even working out. My mentality then became, “If I worked out, I could probably lose even faster!” And with that statement, I started walking. Grabbed my iPod, and hit the trail with my daughter. From there, natural progression has taken me from the walking, to the elliptical at the gym, to running outside. I spent a lot of time learning about calisthenics and with the right resources, I learned the benefits of working out at home.

2431To date of writing this post, I’ve lost 134lbs. If you want to include the 10lbs I actually wound up gaining back, it’s been 144lbs. I don’t like to give myself that satisfaction, though. To break it down, from the moment that I started changing my eating habits, I’ve lost about 80lbs. It’s October 31st today, right? I changed my eating habits in April. 80lbs in six months changing my eating habits vs. 28lbs in 6 months working out? Maybe now you see why I’m such a proponent for better eating habits.

In short (even though this is FAR from short, sorry), everyone has their “come to fitness” moment. Some even choose to never come to it. But if you can read my struggle and identify what the catalysts for change were for me, then maybe you’ll be better prepared when yours arrive. Maybe you’ll use them as starting points. Maybe you will use mine to start yourself up. If you use them at all, by all means, share in the comments!

About the Author:

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes health, fitness, nutrition, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and crtified in sports nutrition by Precision Nutrition. She now lives in New York with her husband and children, and is working on her 6th and 7th certifications because lol why not.


  1. Tracy November 1, 2009 at 12:17 PM - Reply

    Erika, your story is TRULY inspirational!!! Honestly, you have touched my heart!! While I don’t have a kid, I am trying to get my poor little business off the ground and I know ALLLLLLLL about living under your mother’s roof… I’m there now. S-T-R-E-S-S-O-R!!! Your next post will DEFINITELY have to be about how you changed your eating habits. I do see little victories here and there, but I do know that I need to modify my eating habits. It’s EXTREMELY hard, as I can’t load up the fridge with “healthy” stuff, as my mom won’t go for it. Even if I cook something “light” or “healthy” and try to make it flavorful, she looks at it like it’s toxic. It doesn’t bother me that much because I am trying to make MYSELF better… but I do have to be considerate. I just can’t wait to roll out! (Jesus be gainful employment so I can move!) Do you have any suggestions while I’m living in the meantime?

  2. Jubilance November 3, 2009 at 9:06 AM - Reply

    All I can say is WOW!!!

    I had no idea that you were over 300 pounds – I always assumed that you were slimmer and had just worked on your fitness goals.

    Knowing that you’ve gone through exactly what I’m doing now, and that you’ve seen great results makes me that much more motivated! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  3. Cindi November 3, 2009 at 9:35 PM - Reply

    I am soo proud of you!!

    Momma Graat

  4. Erika November 11, 2009 at 4:28 PM - Reply

    Awww, thanks Mama Graat! Love ya πŸ™‚

    Jubilance, nah.. I know my swagger confuses folks every now and again, LOL, but I had a long way to go. I still do, in ways… and I definitely feel better (and some might say, I look better, as well), but I’m aware of how far I’ve come while still focused on where I need to be. I hope the post helped you even just a lil’ to see someone else’s battle. πŸ™‚

    Tracy, awww come on sis! You can DO THIS! I’m writing down your requests and I’ll add it to the schedule, but I DEFINITELY understand – having other folks to accommodate in that fridge is dangerous, especially when they eat the same way you do… the same way you’re trying to leave behind! It SUCKS! I’ve got a mom like yours… until, well, you know.. it’s hard! I will DEFINITELY keep your notes in mind. Best of luck to you! πŸ™‚

  5. Alyse Hope November 15, 2009 at 8:58 PM - Reply

    All I can saw is WOW!!!!!! I am sooo proud of you sis!!! You have come a mighty mighty long way!!!! Words Can’t even express how proud of you I am. What you are doing is amazing! You are breaking down so many barriers and are being an inspiration to people everywhere who thought they couldn’t do it! Heck you are even motivating me! I just wanted to say that I love you so much and keep up the good work and before you know it we will be shopping in the BEBE stores fighting over who is going to get the last black size 6 pencil skirt lol!!! LOVE YA LOTS SIS!!!

  6. Randi November 19, 2009 at 4:23 PM - Reply

    Wow very inspirational. I have recently embarked upon getting my own health back in order and reading your story really touched me.

    Congrats on your weightloss.

  7. Sonya November 20, 2009 at 1:09 PM - Reply

    thanks for sharing your recap…

  8. JRich November 24, 2009 at 2:22 PM - Reply

    I found your Fan page on Facebook, after a friend of mine became a fan… Well, needless to say, I can relate to your story! I’m getting married in just under 6 months and have been telling myself everyday for the last few weeks that I would start a healthy eating/exercise plan. However, instead of losing weight, I’ve been gaining weight! This site and your story have definitely inspired me! Even though it’s the Thanksgiving holidays, I’ve decided to start the ‘PROJECT ME’ plan TODAY! Thanks for the encouragement! Keep doing what you’re doing!

    • Cheryl January 8, 2014 at 2:45 PM - Reply


      I see by the date of the article that you probably have about 2 -3 months to go before the wedding. Don’t stress yourself out over this! Stress causes inflammation which triggers other unhealthy things. Stress also causes a person to eat. Take a deep breath, eat a little less, walk a little more. Be positive. Someone loves you enough to want to marry you! That person already knows how much you weight and still loves you! So relax and enjoy this journey. You don’t want to look back on this time with the only memories you have being that you were stressed. Once you are married, you and your new spouse can exercise and eat healthy together. Having support will help you tremendously. You can do this, JRich. God bless you.

  9. Kels December 2, 2009 at 8:50 PM - Reply

    Dudette, that’s a great story. Congrats on your consistency and success!

  10. Shanel December 8, 2009 at 8:12 AM - Reply

    Hey Erika Erika Erika πŸ™‚

    I was in tears after I read this article. It is amazing how much you have overcome to get to where you are today! I am so proud of you and don’t forget I will be coming to see you soon! Love ya!

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