My Story

 

Before (1997) After (2012)

Who I used To Be

I was a girl who weighed almost 300lbs. During my childhood I heard language such as; “we don’t want you to be fat” or “You need to watch what you eat so you can lose weight”.  At a very young age I felt insecure about myself and longed to be accepted by others.  My parents saw that I was overweight and didn’t want me to struggle with being fat, the way they had.  I was put on different forms of restriction diets to manage my weight and was told what I could and couldn’t eat.  My parents tried to control my eating, but I began to sneak food whenever I could.  This had a big impact on who I became.

After being restricted from food for years I began to feel deprived and frustrated that I couldn’t eat what I really wanted.  High School was a difficult time for me.  I had trouble fitting in and wanted desperately to be liked by my peers.  I became lonely, depressed, and even more insecure.  Right about the time of my Junior year in High School I started stuffing my feelings with food.  I became a compulsive overeater and a food addict.  By the following year I had gained over 100lbs and was morbidly obese.  I left for college at the age of 18 weighing 298 lbs.

Erica, After High School

I stayed obese for a long time.

All through college  I never saw myself as an obese person, even though I knew I was fat.  I wanted to enjoy life and be like everyone else. It wasn’t fair that I was fat and had to be on a diet.  Compulsive eating served a purpose for me and I wasn’t ready to give up being that way.  I loved food and it gave me comfort.  I didn’t realize at the time that by being obese I was hiding from the world.

When I was a Sophomore in college my father was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He lived with his tumor for 4 years.  He stayed strong and positive.  He was willing to fight and try everything in order to live.  After many brain operations, radiation, and aggressive chemotherapy the tumor took over.  He died on October 11, 2002.   This was my wake up call.

In my father’s death he made me appreciate life.
 

I decided that I didn’t want to be fat anymore.  I decided that I was ready to change my life. I went to a nutritionist and began a diet an exercise program.  I learned about proper nutrition and how to count calories.  I lost 80lbs in the first 6 months.  I knew from that moment on I would never be “fat” again.  That was almost 10 years ago.

Who I Wanted To Be

After losing weight I gained confidence and strength.  I began to understand how to really love myself and nurture my body.  I put a lot of energy into my “diet” and was constantly obsessing about what to eat and what not to eat.  At this time in my life I was a New York City public school elementary art teacher. Working with people in the Bronx changed my life.  Everyday I saw poverty and oppression and experienced other cultures that were different from my own.  I loved being an art teacher, and started putting all of my energy into my job.

During my first year as a teacher I developed chronic tension headaches.  Originally I was diagnosed with having migraines.  I went to a neurologist and he determined that it was best to put me on preventative migraine medicine.  At that time I wasn’t aware that I had any other options. I didn’t want to be in pain so I thought medication was my only solution.  I never suffered from any severe side effects, but my headaches were never cured.  I noticed they were the worst in times of stress.  In my job that happened quite often.

For 6 years I was devoted to my life as a teacher.  I thought it was my responsibility to save all of “my kids” and make their lives better.  I became frustrated with my work environment.  It made me angry that no one seemed to care.  After some time I realized that they were the only ones who had the power to make their lives better.  I began evaluating my life.  I wanted to be happy, successful and wealthy.  I wanted to serve people and share my gifts with the world. I kept going back to my father.  How could I create the life that I wanted.

 

Who I Came To Be

After becoming aware of the fact that I wanted to create a life that I loved my whole world changed.

I resigned my teaching position and enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in September of 2011.  I received my Health Coaching Certification from the State University of New York at Purchase in partnership with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in New York City.  I  am also accredited with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP).

We all know that diets don’t work. IIN is the only nutrition school integrating over  100 dietary theories, practical lifestyle management techniques, and cutting-edge coaching methods.  I learned from top experts in the field of health and wellness including Dr. Andrew Weil, Geneen Roth, Dr. David Katz, Dr. John Douillard, Dr. Mark Hyman, and David Wolfe among many others.  My education has equipped me with extensive knowledge in holistic nutrition, health coaching, and the importance of preventive care. Drawing on my education and personal experience, I work with clients to help them make the dietary and lifestyle changes that produce real and lasting results.

The best part of my education was in learning to heal myself, while also being aware that this process is never truly done. We are all a work in progress.

My depression lifted, my anger and frustration subsided, and I began trusting myself.  I learned how to tune into what my body needs and understand how my body works. I was finally able to get rid of the “diet mentality” and enjoy my food. I  understood that all you need is Love. When you understand how to cultivate a nourishing relationship with  yourself you can achieve complete harmony with the mind, body, & spirit. 

 

I believe my purpose in life is to share my story and what I have learned with others, so that they can live the life they deserve.  In order to fulfill my life’s purpose I choose to empower others through my work as a holistic health counselor.  It is my passion, my pleasure, my purpose that I support you to reach your goals.

Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind, & spirit.  When one is free of physical disabilities and mental distractions, the Gates of the soul open- B.K.S Iyengar