Erika

Patient Leader

I began my journey as a obese mother of two tipping the scale at 240 pounds. I assumed that it was just part of life to be a fat wife & mom; it was just a normal progression of life. I battled through all the misconceptions, gimmicks, and depression to finally discover that living healthy does not reside in a bottle, billboard, or infomercial. I did not recognize, at that time, that I was depressed, embarrassed by the way I looked, and was not setting a good example for my children. My only goal, at that time, was to try and lose weight so that I could be healthier for my family. I always chuckle when people ask how many months it took me! I was only able to focus on one day at a time it took two years to finally lose and control my weight; and over four years to transform my body. I did not just want to be a smaller version of myself, I wanted to be toned and re-shape my body. From my struggle, I developed a class, Fitzone By Erika, that is based on my experiences of what fat feels like with a support system for success that includes strength training. I know how it feels to be fat and understand personally what my participants are going through. Too many workouts have people thinking it has to be quick and that old school motto of, "no pain, no gain." Being fat, which I was, enabled me to develop a vision of helping encourage others in my community which was all I have focused on. SOME PEOPLE HAVE STREET SMARTS, I HAVE FAT SMARTS. I understand the struggle, the depression, the tears, the blind faith, and the shouts of joy for each weight loss milestone reached, or frustration of those missed. My goal now is to encourage people and to help them discover their inner beauty so they can truly transform ALL parts of their lives. With no blueprint or vision of what I expected to accomplish in the field fitness, I have been blessed be grow in my community by those around me in a grassroots movement mobilized by believing in others and truly caring. My community has supported my vision and it has grow to a place where other want to listen to me and I am humbled by that. It is amazing what one can build when monetary goals are not the focus. With the outreach, I created a website to encourage, share healthy information, and to connect with my community online, which now includes people outside of Toledo! I am also building outside of the "brick and mortar of the gym" with a local, monthly guest spot on a local television show, Rebecca Regnier's Full Plate sharing the gift of health; through writing, and as a featured writer for a local health magazine, The Minority Health Publication, I am able to further share and encourage my community ; ad through various walks, panels, and speaking engagements I am able to encourage anyone that healthy living is not a size but a way of life; and I do it as my community giveback. Most think I make a lot of money in what I do, I don't, it is truly a giveback because health is a priceless gift. With that, I wanted to help motivate and inspire Toledo, which is the 7th fattest in the country, by bringing Ms Ernestine Shepherd, the World Guinness Book Record Holder, to Toledo to help motivate and inspire my community to get moving . All the events were at no cost to anyone and I was encouraged by community with the help I received. I believe healthy living is goes beyond 30 day challenges or quick fixes; I believe in the power of people. My goal is to continue to build a presence that empowers all ages, genders, and fitness levels to believe in the power of healthy living. I have been asked to speak not only at events focused on those my age or fitness level, but also to the youth, elderly, and even males. I am honored to be able to express healthy living in a variety of forums as a way to outreach to my community. I want others to know healthy living goes beyond hitting the gym and skipping meals; I believe in the investment of you! It has NEVER been me alone, all I have been able accomplish has been through the help of my community and I am excited and focused to continue to giveback! All things begin with your health...

Past Awards Participation

Third Annual Health Activist Awards

Erika

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