MEET ERICA LUGO.
Let me introduce myself, by giving you a small glimpse of my journey.
I weighed 322 pounds Five and a half years ago and was completely okay with it. I’d started gaining weight around middle school, and food and fitness just weren’t something my family talked about at home.
My mom worked a lot, and my siblings and I grew up eating whatever snacks she’d stocked in the pantry. After meals, we’d always have dessert. That’s just how my family, like so many others, showed love: through food.
By the time I got to college, there was nothing holding me back from eating whatever I wanted. There was no one around to tell me “no”, and I didn’t think there was anything wrong with eating fast food and pizza every day. Food aside, I also had no idea that working out and moving your body is important.
I’d never been to the gym, and I never really felt the need to go. Why? Because no one really said anything about my weight or the way I looked. No one seemed to think there were any red flags about my health, so neither did I.
That’s just how my family, like so many others, showed love:
To be honest, I don’t have one of those stories where I can tell you that I looked at myself in the mirror and hated myself. I was truly just oblivious. I mean, I knew I had some weight to lose, but at 5 foot 11 inches tall, I just felt like I was a big girl and was ever going to have a tiny waist or small thighs, and that didn’t bother me.
As years passed, I continued living life the same way and the weight kept piling on. I got married and gave birth to my son a few years later. My whole life I’d wanted to be a mom so badly and I dove into motherhood with my whole heart.
No one seemed to think there were any red flags about my health, so neither did I.
I continued to gain weight after pregnancy but still didn’t really think I had any problem. My wake-up call finally came when my son was 3 years old and playing on our living room floor. I was sitting on the couch when he looked up at me and asked me to join him. I said no.
I vividly remember sitting on that couch with zero energy, eating some kind of snack, not wanting to get up because doing so felt like too much effort. At that moment, something clicked. I looked at my son and realized that I brought him into this world and he deserves so much more than a mom who doesn’t even have the energy to play with him. I had to make a change and I needed to make it fast while I had the motivation.