Home My Journey Life In The Land Of Oz

Life In The Land Of Oz

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Written the day of taping.

So, today…was pretty amazing.

As you may know by now, I did a segment with The Dr. Oz Show about healthy quick fixes for weight loss. This was a long time coming for me, because it signified a lot. I mean, a lot.

The screenshot of the video before pressing play on the Dr. Oz website. See how they did me? I look like I’m swooning here!

I said, in early 2010, that I wanted to be a part of this show. I think that it’s incredible what he and other shows like his are doing by educating the public, because I feel like I’m a prime example of what can be done with a little educating. Not only that, but because Dr. Oz reinforces everything I’ve already said to my mom, I feel like he’s pretty much helping me get and keep her healthy. Being on his show is a minor – and I do mean minor – way to say “thank you.”

The day was pretty busy. Usually, every morning I get up, get the baby ready, throw on my sweats and my kicks, and I’m out the door. Walk her to the bus stop, walk the dogs, and I’m headed for the gym. Today, not so much. After waking up at o’dark-thirty (that’s country talk for FAR too early) to get Mini-me and the puppies all situated for the day, I had to get fancy. Hair, makeup, pack my bags and workout clothes. Yes, workout clothes. Some things never change.

With a bag full of clothes, lip glass, high heels and my collection of electronics, I hopped in the car the show sent for me and off we went… into Brooklyn’s notorious traffic. I mention this because the longer it took to get to Manhattan (which, in theory, shouldn’t take that long…but it’s still NYC traffic), the more anxiety I felt. It was approaching levels of anxiety I hadn’t felt since I’d first defeated my food addiction, and I felt uncomfortable because I didn’t think I was prepared for that feeling. Nothing had tested me since then…until today.

In the back seat, I tried to focus my mind on something pleasant, and breathe. Looooooots of breathing… and thinking about the sand and ocean that I gave up for… honking horns and rude cabbies in my way. I grabbed my phone and called my Mom, who loves to crack jokes on me when I’m in this state. Why? Because she’s a Scorpio…er, because she’s Mom, and she knows what makes me feel better.

“Did you call me for your daily dose of courage?”

“Ugh. Bye, Mom.”

All it took was one joke, and I instantly felt better. And, just like that, I was at Rockefeller Center.

Yes. That Rockefeller Center. And it is as epic as it looks on TV. I was escorted from the car to the lobby, from the lobby to guest services, from guest services to my dressing room and… from my dressing room to the set. Yes. In my workout clothes, and my ‘fro potentially lopsided. That is how I met Dr. Oz for the first time.

This is also the first time Hair and Makeup saw me for the first time.. and immediately snatched me up once I was done on set.

“We love your hair, but it’s too large for the camera. We’ve got to shrink it down.”

And, when I tell you, this resulted in six hands (and forearms) resting on top of my ‘fro in order to get it to come down… if you thought it was big on-screen, y’een seen nothin’ yet. You might’ve noticed that it was still lopsided on screen? Yeah, that’s because when I tried to fix it right before I went on, the hairstylist – who was probably 5′ tall with a footstool – came rushing in and pressing back down on it. It took everything in me to not give her the “I need to pick my afro, mama, because it’s flat on one side” face.

It was nice to be pampered, yes, but it was also making my anxiety levels rise. Every time I touched my hands and felt how cold and clammy they were, I was being reminded of the fact that I was scared and had good reason to be. Dr. Oz’s show reaches millions of people, and I could potentially be making a total fool of myself in front of all of them. I could be poorly representing the community we’ve built here. I mean, it’s national TV. It’s time to get live. It’s time to represent!

By the time I got back to my dressing room, my clothes were gone. “Wardrobe’s got ’em. Once they’re done steaming, they’ll return them.” For me, that was a sign that I clearly had time. They hadn’t even brought my clothes in? Please, I’m going to be here for a while.

On the countertop of my dressing room, laid two chocolate cupcakes, a skewer of fruit, and a small dish of cashews.

Let me type that again. Two chocolate. Cupcakes. A skewer. Of fruit. And a small dish of cashews. Sure, there were a few bottles of water there as well, but who’s worried about water when you’ve got cupcakes to concern yourself with?

I briefly thought to myself – “Why would I eat a cupcake when I’ve got fruit and nuts? What happens if I get that old sensation from eating those cupcakes? What happens if I eat those cupcakes and my emotional eating flares-up? Who would I have to blame for a choice that I know is wrong?” and all I could think about was my cold, clammy hands and my struggle to make sense of anything around me.

And then, it hit me. Immediately, I dropped to the floor, folded my legs in lotus pose, and put my hands in the “gesture of no fear.” In the middle of my tiny dressing room. Didn’t even think to close the door. I just needed to sort out my thoughts.

One palm facing forward, the other facing up. “This is the gesture of no fear. I practice this gesture because I am fearless. I am strong, I am powerful, I am calm, I am unshaken.” Over and over, I repeated it to myself. The executive producer came and ran through the segment with me, and after I typed out my notes for what I wanted to say during my time, I put my hands back in my “gesture,” stared at my notes and said to myself a bit more. “I give away my anxiety, I take in my environment’s cool, calm, collected and efficient vibe. I am unshaken.”

After I was dressed and mic’d for my segment, I was (unfortunately) told to stand for the rest of the time period because I wouldn’t want to wrinkle my dress… which meant no more meditation.

At least, not sitting down.

Don’t get me wrong – I was well aware of the fact that it is more than a little heinous to be in a recording studio and sitting on the dressing room floor meditating, but for me, it was all I knew to calm myself down and avoid eating those freaking cupcakes. Even though I’ve written about throwing away food, I felt like I should be beyond that. There was no reason I couldn’t get beyond this, by any organic means necessary.

So here I am: standing in my high heels, pretty blue dress, and no sitting. And cupcakes staring me in the face. How powerful was my head, here? “I am fearless, I am unshaken. Fearless. Unshaken.” I was realizing that I had experience telling myself no. I’d had experience saying no, accepting my fate as a former emotional eater and now making decisions that help me maintain that status as a former emotional eater. I didn’t need to drop to the floor, I just needed to remain conscious of myself and my progress. And, just as I realized that…

“Erika, come with me.”

“Alrighty then.”

Went out on stage to tape, and the audience was a bit overwhelming. I’m not particularly sure if it was because it was so many of them, or if it was because I could visibly read the reactions on their faces to my “transformation,” but I briefly remembered the executive producer’s advice “It’s just a conversation between you and Dr. Oz; the audience isn’t there.” Once I stopped looking at the audience, the entire thing felt much smoother. I’m sure people will have their own ideas on how the segment went.

While on stage, as we wrapped up the segment, Dr. Oz asked about my blog (!) and I told him that it’s simply a chronicle of everything I’ve learned on my journey.  I always downplay what we do here (for modesty’s sake), but even then I felt bad because this site has become a telling of so many stories that simply aren’t just me anymore. It’s about so much more than weight loss, or body image, or booty paint now, and I carry the burden of representing that. “Burden” isn’t even the right word – perhaps I should say “challenge.”

After the segment wrapped (and a little dancing with the Doc… they were playing “Soul Man” after we finished. I couldn’t help myself!), I snuck off to my dressing room to get right back into my sweats and kicks, and right before I headed off, two of the show’s producers praised me for the segment and told me they thought it went well. Before I knew it, in came Dr. Oz, too! (And, I’ll be typical for a minute. He is a very handsome man. All those women love him for the right reasons!) I felt good and, with any luck, I’ll be asked back. I did a few more things at NBC Studios and, as they roll out, I’ll share them here as well.

After the convo ended, I snatched up my badge, grabbed my bag, and headed out the door. Cupcakes? Untouched. Fruit? Untouched, again.

I tell this story this way because there are a handful of small victories that I experienced that day. In fact, it’s difficult to type this without getting teary-eyed. As someone who’d always had “stage fright,” for me to be able to get on stage for a show that is broadcast to millions without shaking or stuttering? For me to finally be able to serve as a representative of my blog on The Dr. Oz Show? For me to have learned how to successfully calm myself down from the highest anxiety levels I’ve ever experienced in my life WITHOUT food? For me to leave chocolate cupcakes untouched? Listen. You’ll never know what those little victories feel like to someone who used to swallow a bag of Verona cookies whole in one evening.

After the segment ended and I was finally in my car heading home, phone calls went to both The Future Mr. BGG2WL (can’t give away my last name yet!) and Mama BGG2WL, because both had been trying to keep tabs on me allllllllll day long, but to no avail thanks to the poor reception. Both proud, both supportive, both happy for me. They knew I’d finally cleared a hurdle I’d had my eye on for almost a year, but there was so much more to it than that for me. To be a part of a show that talks about turning quick tips into small victories and small victories into much larger ones, all while experiencing one of the greatest victories that a former emotional eater could experience? Knowing that power, that sense of pride… I’m never giving that up. Ever.

I hope you enjoyed the segment, y’all, and I hope you think I represented you well.  In the end, that’s what matters most.

PS: To those of you who keep asking about the dual-pocketed blue dress I wore… $34.99 at H&M. I had it on a few sizes too big (to accommodate all the contraptions they strapped to my back/around my waist) but I still think it looked awesome.

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rissa October 27, 2011 - 10:22 AM

chile, i am so dag on happy for you. reading this had me grinning ear to ear and this week i’ve just started the whole meditation thing to quell the anxiety i feel almost all day long. Not that great at it yet (i get distracted waaaay easy) but practice makes better!!!

Erika Nicole Kendall October 27, 2011 - 10:29 AM

Honestly, I’m considering doing a series on what I’ve learned regarding emotions and meditation as a part of the boot camp I want to start (once my leg is fully healed)… so keep at it! Hopefully I can help. 🙂

Jubilance October 27, 2011 - 10:27 AM

Ugh the Dr Oz website keeps telling me your video is unavailable 🙁

Even though I can’t wait, I’m so very proud of you & your accomplishments. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your story with us & helping to keep us who are on our own journeys motivated. I really love your part about meditating right there in the dressing room & doing what you needed to do for yourself.

Erika Nicole Kendall October 27, 2011 - 10:34 AM

I’ll keep my eye open for a new/different link, but thank you Jubi! 🙂

alicia October 27, 2011 - 11:20 AM

you are too cute!!!!! you should be on tv every day!!

Purplemoon October 27, 2011 - 11:24 AM

I can’t wait to watch (the video on the site isn’t working)! I’m so excited for you. What a great accomplishment!

Curlstar October 27, 2011 - 11:24 AM

Congratulations Erika on the show and beating your anxiety! Your segment was great, and you did a great job. I saw that walk diva 😉 I couldn’t help but have a cheezy grin. I know you are still on a high from the show. 😀

Erika Nicole Kendall October 27, 2011 - 11:29 AM

The walk… you saying that is kinda special to me because I was injured this summer and actually couldn’t walk for a while – literally was being carried around the house by my S/O – and that’s why I was walking so slow. But thank you! 🙂

Tope October 27, 2011 - 11:34 AM

well done.Dr OZ loves you.love the fro too

Lorrie October 27, 2011 - 12:47 PM

SOOOOOOO happy you chose to wear your hair natural on national television, you sent the message that your new you includes the acceptance of your natural beauty not a fancy fake straight hair made over look! Thanks!!

Tricia October 27, 2011 - 1:02 PM

Congratulations!! This is awesome! Don’t know you personally but I am PROUD of you! Very inspiring too (I have dreams of going on his show one day talking about my success!) So mad they had to push down your ‘fro – though it is looking fabulous! And good for you for pushing back your anxiety without the use of food… that’s inspiring too! This could lead to greater opportunities (maybe your own show)! Congrats again, and thank you for sharing your story with everyone!

LaKisha October 27, 2011 - 2:32 PM

Congrats Soror! I know exactly what you mean by celebrating the small victories!!! That was a huge victory for you not to succumb to the cupcakes. You reminded me of the power of the spirit over the body/flesh. That’s what helped me lose the weight before. I recited scriptures in my weakest times and He helped me overcome!!! I’m soooo proud of you and and am excited about your next steps to share your dreams/passion with the world!!!

cjbrownsc October 27, 2011 - 2:35 PM

How great is that??!!

You were wondeful and seem like such a natural in front of the camera. If you were nervous, your meditations definitely got rid of it, because it did not show at all!!

And of course I was admiring the ‘fro the whole time!! Beautiful!!!

nadia October 27, 2011 - 2:44 PM

Erika this was so great! Thank you for sharing and congrats on all your amazing accomplishments! You are such an inspiration!

Enclosure21 October 27, 2011 - 2:58 PM

Ms Erika!

I am soo proud of you! I have not been able to actually view the taping of you on Dr Oz’s show, but I did get a chance to read your blog on it. Seems like you have been really busy and up to wonderful things. I wish you much more success in the future…and you will have to let me know next time you are planning to be on his show (I just so happened to see this link on Oompa’s FB page).

Anyways, congrats again! Hope all is well with you and your mini-me…miss and love ya!


Erika Nicole Kendall October 28, 2011 - 7:31 AM

LS!!!!!!!! *super-huge hug* Love you too@!

Kerrie C. October 27, 2011 - 3:39 PM

Congrats Erika!! A job well done! You looked beautiful & I’m so dang gon’ happy for you. Keep up the Awesome work! 🙂

deewhy? October 27, 2011 - 5:59 PM

You looked fabulous….you walked with confidence….you spoke openly and with an air of familiarity, but no hooch….your hair was beautiful….thank god for natural beauty….i know your mama, and your man are going to beam when they see this….wait until you baby sees mommy on television….and you didn’t give in to the cupcakes…maybe it’s just me…but dr. oz seemed a bit smitten sistahgirl…i say you should have a segment on oprah’s station…you might be the one who could gets her to walk the walk….in seriousness…those of us who subscribe to your blog are proud….we already know you’re fab…now so does everyone else….toodles

Nicole (akascholar) October 27, 2011 - 8:07 PM

So graceful, and such wonderful information. I really enjoyed the segment and wanted to say congrats on a job well done.

Kait October 27, 2011 - 8:37 PM


Second, I’ve read this post three times. I teared up three times. Because I know what those small victories are like and how HUGELY important they are and how much power they give to us.

Thirdly, step into your greatness girl! You wrote, “While on stage, as we wrapped up the segment, Dr. Oz asked about my blog (!) and I told him that it’s simply a chronicle of everything I’ve learned on my journey. I always downplay what we do here (for modesty’s sake), but even then I felt bad because this site has become a telling of so many stories that simply aren’t just me anymore.”

You have SO DAMN MUCH to be proud of. At this point (to me at least), the weight loss isn’t even the biggest part. That is not to say you shouldn’t be incredibly proud but its the emotional work and the paradigm shifts that you have been presented with and have CHOSEN to accept) <–You practice yoga so I know you're picking up what I'm putting down here. In addition, you've built a wonderful, honest, open, and supportive community that tons of us turn to each day for advice and nutrition news with a dash of sass. That is HUGE. So OWN that greatness (and since LIssa says it better, http://www.owningpink.com/blogs/owning-pink/how-to-step-your-greatness)<–feel free to delete but I wanted to pass it along!

Finally, there's this: "It’s about so much more than weight loss, or body image, or booty paint now, and I carry the burden of representing that. “Burden” isn’t even the right word – perhaps I should say “challenge.” I vote honor. You've created this wonderful awesome life from SCRATCH. I'm honored to be a part of this community and to have you as a leader. And I know you are too!


Lakisha October 27, 2011 - 9:29 PM

So cool!!!!! You go girl!!!!! I’m proud of you.

Yolanda Lane October 28, 2011 - 12:46 AM

Erika, I am so proud of you!!! I don’t know you personally but I have been following your blog and going to your website for about 3 months. I feel like I know you. You have really inspired me and I tell EVERYONE about your blog and website. I love watching Dr. Oz and I felt like crying while seeing you on his show! You are so blessed to have the opportunity to reach so many people with your knowledge and experience. I hope you get more doors opened to you as a result of this great appearance. God bless you and please keep inspiring us!

miss cosmic October 28, 2011 - 4:52 AM

hey erika. congratulations on a job well done. you inspire to keep on with my fitness journey, and to keep confronting my fears every day.
thank you for teh work you do here, and may you be richly blessed.

Erin October 28, 2011 - 9:15 AM

Yay for you! Your writing and on-point perspective on the whole whirlwind experience really comes through. I watched the clips and thought you did excellent. Thanks for sharing the whole experience, the hurdles and how you overcame each one to accomplish great things. Its super-motivating for me, when thinking about my own approach to those ever-present obstacles/stressors:)

Jeannine Sloan October 28, 2011 - 9:48 AM

Wow!! Congratulations! And the dress gorgeous & is my favorite color! Your progress on your weight loss journey is inspiring not only because you lost weight but because of those small victories you speak of and how those translate into other areas of your life. Loving the “no fear” chant, gotta write that down!

JCharles October 28, 2011 - 1:32 PM

I have never posted to your site before but just so you know… My daily routine is to get up for prayer and bible reading, prep healthy food for the work day, go to my office , close the door eat my breakfast and read your new (and sometimes revisit older posts) for inspiration. I have been up and down with my weight for a longtime. My highest weight was 350. On September 16th of 2011, the day after my 29th birthday, I weighed in at 299. I’m sure you know better than anyone how it feels to break that matrix and enter into another “number zone”. But more importantly, I can breathe when I am walking have increased flexibility and my knees and feet are aching less and less… I thank God for a better quality of life.
With all of that said, I am sitting at my desk crying like a baby while you talk about Greek yogurt and homemade hot sauces. I don’t know you but I am proud of you. Not just because you got a spot on TV, (congrats!!!!) but because you got up and get up every day and go after Goliath and bring the battle to him… then you come back teach the rest of us and dare us not to be passionate about our own success. Thank you for putting into words the hate, fears, tears and frustration and demonstrating the peace, love and understanding that is a part of total (inner and outer) transformation….so much more I wish I could say but I have to go and fix my face… I have students to teach.

Cherished October 28, 2011 - 4:09 PM

Tearing!! Congratulations!!! I feel like I have found the diamonds of blogs to read and only want to see the best for you for the gift that you have given us. I can’t wait to put a voice to the words you write and watch the clip.

Paula October 28, 2011 - 6:42 PM


When I saw you on my TV screen (after cleverly coercing my husband to hand over the remote), I was beaming with the utmost pride! I absolutely just want to say congratulations on this monumental opportunity! You looked amazing (word to #thatfro) and seemed to certainly be a natural on camera.

I know in my heart of hearts that this is only the beginning of you sharing your story, your knowledge and compassion for health and wellness to the masses. You continue to be a great example, to so many on/in this journey; myself included.

Okay, and I think we discussed this before – me being your agent of some sort – and you weren’t too pleased with my asking fee of 90% off the top. But, I’m willing to go down now, 87%? Just let me know, Sis. ;oP

1beautifullymade October 28, 2011 - 7:18 PM

Congrats Erika,
How do I find you on the Dr. Oz website?

Kaycee October 28, 2011 - 9:32 PM

Your appearance was awesome, you looked fabulous, your demeanor was warm, and the information was priceless! Amazing job!

Wesanda October 29, 2011 - 1:25 AM

I love Dr. Oz too… I am so happy you got to do your thing on national tv… you go girl… Yeah, and I see what you mean by how they snap shot your look with Dr. Oz in the intro to the video… lol…

Keep Inspiring

JoAnna December 8, 2011 - 7:12 PM

Saw the video and you looked great, spoke well, and were FABULOUS!!!!

Vee March 19, 2012 - 9:00 AM

Great post I love it Erika;)

Tiffany March 19, 2012 - 11:28 AM

Just checked you out on Oz. YOU WERE AWESOME!!! I second what everyone else has already said. Keep up the wonderful work 🙂

Brianna Leigh March 21, 2012 - 8:50 PM

Proud of you!

Josephine May 7, 2012 - 2:20 PM

Soror, I’m sending you electronic tea roses! Well done. I’m proud of you! Thank you for capturing all that you were feeling that day in writing. I could feel what you were going through and how you overcame it. Exactly what I and the many others who read your post needed to see. Thank you!

Gabby May 7, 2012 - 2:24 PM

Congratulations and thank you for transparency, which is helping so many others!

Alexandrea Ward May 7, 2012 - 4:12 PM

I absolutely loved this story! So proud of you. You did a great job, that was a big accomplishment. Get it girl!

Asheya May 27, 2012 - 1:02 AM

Yay for your success! I empathize with your challenge (of the cupcake). I’m still working on that skill. Thanks for sharing. You definitely motivated me to do the yoga poses. Was stressing out and tearing up because I looked a group pic of me and my friends today and became sadden at the fact that I was twice the size of all of my friends. But the yoga definitely helped. Check out Yogamazing videos (itune, youtube, etc.). The guy’s great.

Lakeisha Baffoe Bonnie June 27, 2012 - 5:00 PM


I am new to your Blog and I love,love it. Girl, you are such an inspiration and I am proud of what you have accomplished mentally and physically.
Keep on keeping on!!!

Pyvsi August 13, 2012 - 4:34 PM

I am swooning over your hair! I’m “bout to try and figure out how to take these locs, LOL.

Congratulations (months late) for being featured on Dr. Oz. You sparkled!

Chells September 25, 2012 - 12:35 PM

Congratulations Erika on both your big and small victories. I know the power of meditation but you’ve definitely shown me how it can be used at any given time.

Monica January 7, 2013 - 8:28 PM

Wow, Congratulations Erika, I like Dr. Oz as well. He gives away so much information freely to empower us to take care of ourselves. I love reading the information you provide on this site.

Michelle James January 12, 2013 - 7:52 AM

Congrats, Erika! You’ve made us proud by being our representative on the air! (And you looked diva-vacious!)

For what most of us were unable to do, God gave you the opportunity/selected you to be a voice that spoke to our dilemma.

This is just the beginning of a new phase in your journey. Embrace it, revel in it, and step forward into greatness! God’s got this!


Amy May 10, 2013 - 2:00 PM

Erika, you are too cute! I love that dress! I am so proud of all the hard work you’ve done and your success is written all over you from head to toe. Great job on the show and tremendous job on everything you’ve accomplished! 🙂


Erika Nicole Kendall May 11, 2013 - 8:41 PM


Toya Nicole May 10, 2013 - 2:08 PM

Congratulations Erika, I’m so happy for you and glad that you represented for “us”. You have completely inspired me on my weightloss journey, moreso than being on Weight Watcher’s for two years. I love this site, I’m so thankful!!

Deb Bailey September 9, 2013 - 12:37 PM

Congratulations! That’s terrific!

Tracy September 9, 2013 - 2:49 PM

I think this is wonderful news! You must be SO proud of yourself. From a lifestyle changed now blooms a cottage industry. I don’t think there was a blog out there that catered just to us black women before you. Love your wit, honesty and most of all your take on things.


Mariah September 9, 2013 - 4:23 PM

You Go Girl !!! You are a true inspiration

Roz September 9, 2013 - 7:48 PM

Erika, can I just say how AWESOME you are?!!! What a great segment, and those were great tips. I don’t eat bananas, but I love the smell of them. So if you see me in Wal-Mart sniffing the bananas, don’t judge me, LOL.

Holly October 5, 2013 - 8:26 PM

Congratulations Erika! I’m so happy for you, for your small victories and of course, the big one, appearing on the Dr. Oz show.

I’ve been following your blog for several months since I first came across it (doing some search for “what your poo says about you”–long story…).

I am neither black nor overweight (I’m actually a fit Asian women who just did a triathlon this morning), but what you write and how your write is so compelling, I find myself checking back regularly with your blog.

I appreciate the difference you are making in the world, teaching people how to be healthier.

Thank you.

Loretta November 15, 2013 - 10:31 AM

Erika I’m so excited for you…….you go girl…..when your one with the universe (God) good things always come to those who wait for there turn in this life…..it’s your time to Shine forever …,,thank you so Greatful I found your site

Loretta Baker November 15, 2013 - 2:06 PM

Everything you touch is Golden……Thank you and Cong. on the Dr. Oz show.

Talulazoeapple November 17, 2013 - 12:06 AM

Congrats! Nice to see success – weight loss and business 🙂

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