A short time back I came across a facebook page called "road to better health" and I spent about 20 minutes scrolling and reading through awesome stories and motivation for staying on track and keeping accountability. Immediately my heart was filled with stoke to see someone so ON FIRE about their journey to find themselves in better health.
If you follow anything I've said in the past, I totally agree that the journey IS the destination when it comes to our health. It's a constant, ongoing battle to create the best versions of ourselves. Erica is an awesome embodiment of that journey. I am truly grateful that she chose to share her story with us and glad to see someone committed to "The Road"
Read on as Erica Yoder shares a little bit of her story with us and gives us a little advice she would give anyone who is thinking about starting their own journey.
Where do I begin?
Growing up I was always overweight. I'd lose weight then gain it back plus some. It was a vicious cycle. I'd go through weight watchers and quit, start, then quit again.
I was teased even by my closest friends about my weight and what I was eating.
Even as an adult today I am teased.
Back in 2011 is when I really started packing on the pounds, I literally just stopped caring. I had 2 daughters and sure I took care of them, always caring for my husband before myself. How it should be right?! I just didn't care about myself, but that was also the year I found out I had thyroid cancer. Yep the big C word.
Never in my life would I'd have thought I'd say I had cancer. No one ever does. But you never think it can happen to you. Sure all the doctors say its the best cancer to get. No, Its not. No cancer is "the best cancer to get". Its the most treatable. But I still have residual effects from it. They will never go away. I along with many many many others have the same problems that have been ongoing for years after. I digress so anyways, For the next 3 or 4 years I was a train wreck with my health. I fell off that wagon and stayed there! My weight sky rocketed. I know I reached 425, but I'm honestly pretty sure I was above 445. I quit weighing myself.
So what started your journey to "road to better health"?
Sitting at my endocrinologist office with my then 6 yr old beside me, listening to my doctor tell me, "if you don't do something now you are going to have a heart attack in the very near future"
Mind you this was the last attempt by 5 other doctors to get me to have weight loss surgery. I went home and locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed. What was I doing to myself? I became this huge person and never once thought it was unhealthy or thought about what I was eating.
What did you do?
So, it took me several weeks but I slowly with some pushing of friends and family, got myself going. I started with my fitness pal, tracked everything I ate. Its really amazingly frightening how much one can consume in a day and not know how much one really is consuming unless your tracking EVERY SINGLE THING!!! Including the small pieces of candy here or there. They count too. I cut out all pop. I was drinking 2 ltrs in a day or more. Yeah, scary. I drank more water. To get the carbonation I added lemon seltzer water infused with fruit. It's pretty good.
Then, after a few months, the hardest thing I did...was add exercise. I freaking HATED exercise. Hated it. I couldn't walk up my 13/14 steps to get upstairs without feeling like I was going to pass out. My blood pressure was so very high. Had a water pill added to my blood pressure medication so I could rid my body of the excess water I was holding. My ankles were swollen. I was borderline diabetic. Moving for me was not easy. But I started slow.
Eventually, I worked my way up over the next 2 yrs to walking 8 to 10+ miles a day! I loved it! Walking the local parks and bike trails. I lost my first 100lbs in a year. I've lost 25 another but unfortunately gained that back since this past November.
What's been going on?
This past year has been so unbelievably hard. I was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety, meds don't help, my thyroid levels are so so out of wack, getting the energy to do anything these days is not easy. I'm still at my 100lbs lost, but I still have 130 to go. I've come too far to let myself go again. Medically I need to get well, physically and mentally I know what I need to do.
WE BELIEVE IN YOU ERICA
What is your advice to others on their "Road to Better Health"?
My best advice is this. . . .
First, find a solid support system. They are what will keep you strong, encourage you and push you. Without my family and friends, I wouldn't have gotten where I am. Its hard at times as many don't know what its like to have these medical issues and struggle some days to just get out of bed. But, the ones who have been here for me, they are all so amazing and so important. And they will not fail you.
Second, don't do this for anyone BUT YOURSELF!!!!!! The reason and only reason I started my facebook page ("road to better health") was to help keep myself accountable!!!! to keep myself aware of what I had done to my body and where I wanted to be with my health, back in control. Its the only thing that I can control. Only I can continue to either fall off the wagon, or get back up and move forward with this journey.
Yes, I'm speaking about right this very minute as I type this. I've come far and I won't be back where I was at 400 PLUS pounds. As I always hashtag "fightingformyhealth" that what I do everyday. I fight. I kick. I scream. I cry. I want to punch a wall. But I fight. And believe me there are days where its pure hell doing all of this. And days I don't want to do any of it. And days I feel its not worth all this work. But this is for me, Because I'm worth it!! And it's (I'm) so very worth all this work!!
And lastly, don't ever let someone tell you you can't. Because YOU can
YOU ARE WORTH IT
A side note...
I'm so glad that Kolby reached out to me and asked me to write about my journey thus far. Its been a reminder as to why I started this and why I'm doing this. Its been a jump start for me to get back to it. And be the me I know is inside just waiting to be found!!! Not only was I losing the weight, but I've changed myself as far as what I need and what I'm wanting in my life. And change is good. Sometimes much needed.
So thank you Kolby for allowing me to share with you.
Thank YOU Erica for sharing some of your story with us, I hope you can continue to surround yourself with people who encourage you to be the happiest and healthiest version of your self everyday. You hit the nail right on the head, you are right: YOU ARE WORTH IT.