The next body transformation I'm happy to highlight comes from one of the members of my athletic conditioning classes who has an amazing story to share. I won't ruin any of the details ahead of time, but her hard work and self-motivation is one of the most inspiring stories I've seen in a long time.
Thanks to Erika Brummel, who shares her amazing story here:
1 - What was your weight at your heaviest?
The heaviest I have ever been was 280 pounds.
2 - Describe yourself back then.
During my heaviest time I was around 21 years old. I was attending Queens University and playing on the softball team. At this point in my life I was enjoying the college life and food to the fullest. I did exercise almost 5 times a week and had strenuous conditioning workouts 3 times a week. I always did stay very active but my energy levels were extremely low. I could complete workouts but it wasn't easy and it looked like I was always close to passing out.
My eating habits were horrible! Cafeteria food was my enemy because it was buffet style. I would eat everything. Also, I would eat fast food like you wouldn't believe because it was easy and convenient. I can remember getting a 20 piece nugget meal at McDonald's and adding a double cheeseburger to that. (Yes, I ate the whole thing.) So it didn't matter how much I worked out because my diet was terrible.
3 - When you first decided you wanted to make a change, where did you start?
During my life I have made many efforts to try and change my eating habits and lifestyle. In high school I went to a nutritionist and lost around 35 pounds, but couldn't keep up and gained it all back. After college I did the P90x program twice and lost around 70 pounds. But once again I stopped and gained all the weight back. So now about 4 years later I hit a point where I decided enough was enough and I couldn't continue down this road again.
I decided that it was time to join the YMCA and change my life. I started first working out with a close friend who is a personal trainer and he showed me everything I needed to know about exercise. He motivated me to keep pushing even when I would doubt myself. He never let me quit and I think he believed more in me then I sometimes believed in myself. I also had my roommate Maggie who would join me in the gym and push me to go even when I didn't want to. She would take all the classes with me so working out would be fun. We struggled the first month pretty badly. We could barely do the athletic conditioning classes but we always stuck to it and never gave up. Having that support system from my trainer and roommate made working out easier and fun. Now exercising has become a daily routine for me. It just comes natural and I constantly think about wanting to workout.
4 - What were the 1-2 biggest keys in transforming yourself from then to now?
Everyone now asks me "what's your secret?" Honestly there is no secret. The secret is changing your eating habits and getting exercise. That's it, plain and simple! I eat a lot of lean meats, veggies, and fruits. I don't starve myself and once in a great while I'll have a cheat meal but I don't go overboard with it. The biggest change I’ve noticed is my energy and confidence levels. I'm no longer tired all the time which is very nice.
Also, once I got in the habit of eating healthy I no longer crave fatty foods. I pass by fast food places and have no desire to eat there anymore. With my energy levels being up, I usually workout anywhere from 5 to 7 days a week. I will do athletic conditioning classes about 3 days a week, and on the other days I'll do 30 minutes of cardio and then lift weights.
5 - Approximately how long did it take for the weight to come off?
It took me about 7 and a half months to lose the weight. I am still trying to shed some more pounds and really focus on toning up. I never really had a set goal weight I just knew I wanted to be healthier and to keep going.
6 - How much weight have you lost?
As of today I have lost a little over 75 pounds.
When I started going to the YMCA I was around 262 pounds. I am currently down to 184 pounds.
I have finally hit the mark for being considered normal and healthy for my age and height. This is actually the first time in my life where I have fit into that category. Throughout my entire life I have always been considered obese. So that for me was quite an exciting moment and accomplishment.
7 - Any advice for other women out there that think transforming their body is next to impossible?
You know, I was always that girl who would look at the skinny and toned girls and say that it’s just not possible for me to get there. It will take way too long and I can never look like that. I would always doubt myself and I had it instilled in my mind I could never be that thin, toned girl. I constantly kept telling myself it wasn't possible so that's what I started to believe. I've been extremely overweight my entire life so it's really all I knew. I felt that being obese was how I was made to be and that I could never be anything else. Recently I decided enough was enough and I was going to change, but I was 100% ready and willing to make that change.
It wasn't easy and there were times I wanted to quit, but having the support from my friends helped me through any obstacle I ever faced. My advice to anyone out there who thinks it can't be done - it can! I'm living proof of that.
If I can go from being extremely obese my entire life and make that change, anyone can. You just have to put your mind to it and never give up. You have to believe in yourself and give yourself courage to keep fighting. I'm not saying it's going to be easy, because it will be difficult at times but the end result is well worth it. I promise you that!