How I Learned to Love Myself & Lost 100+ Pounds*

Article posted in: Turbo13
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Introducing Erin Banks. Erin’s story is an especially touching one, and reminds us all that losing weight is as much emotionally and mentally transformative as it is physically. Whether you need motivation to get started or to keep going, Erin’s touching weight loss success story is guaranteed to be just the thing you need to read right now.

This is Erin’s Incredible Weight Loss Success Story:

By Erin Banks

NOVEMBER

I’m sitting in my dorm room at college in Orlando and I’m messing around with my new Facebook account. My divorce was just finalized less than a week before and I’ve been horribly depressed about being alone. Despite the fact that I’m in college and surrounded by people who have the same interests as me, I don’t have any friends. I’ve been on the heavier side my whole life, so the fact that I was 170 pounds was no surprise. I often blamed my loneliness on my weight, telling myself that no one wants to be friends with a fat pig like me and hearing the reverb in my head of my ex-husband yelling at me that I had gained too much weight and he could no longer be married to a “fat slob” rang forth in my mind on a near constant basis. I pushed anyone who was kind to me away and spent all my nights in my room alone watching TV and my days off wondering around the Magic Kingdom by myself. I did go out occasionally with my roommates, but not often and I have to admit I hated every second of it. The term “forced fun” was often in my head.

This is Erin, then…

I’m sitting there on Facebook trying to locate some of my friends so I can add them to my new account, when a friend suggestion pops up of “someone you may know.” I click on their profile link and to my complete and utter horror it’s my ex-husband’s girlfriend, who has now been branded as his “Beautiful New Wife,” according to her main photo of them at their wedding, which apparently took place just the day before. It was obvious by the size and extravagance of their wedding that this was planned a long time in advance. We were only divorced for less than a week… you do that math.

At that moment, I felt myself emotionally hit rock bottom. I’ve never cried so hard in all my life. I called out of work for two days after that. I cried almost constantly the whole time. My roommates asked me what was wrong and I lied and said my grandma died suddenly and I didn’t have the money to go to her funeral. They gave me their condolences and let me be alone, which is exactly what I wanted.

I went back to work and school but it all felt hollow. I started turning to food for comfort. Any healthy food I had in the fridge had been replaced by junk. Everything from cookies to ice cream, I did have some normal food, but I didn’t eat it much. I preferred to munch through the day and if I didn’t feel full I would continue eating till I did.

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AUGUST

…and now.

I graduated shortly after that and moved to Destin, Fla., where I accepted a job as a lifeguard and swim coach. Being as heavy as I was, I was shocked that I could still pass all the tests, with flying colors no less. I continued my bad habits and also added eating fast-food to my daily regimen. A few people that I worked with ate out every day for lunch so I just went with them. Their idea of a quality lunch were the local fast food chains, we all know.. So that’s what I ate every day at work. I gained 60 pounds in what seemed like a week, but it was actually more like a month.

That’s when my health started going downhill fast. My body hurt when I woke up in the morning to the point where it took me a good 10 minutes to get out of bed. I had a herniated disc in my back from a car accident in 2001, which never bothered me until then. I ended up landing in the ER because I couldn’t move my legs due to all the inflammation in my spine. That’s when I found out that I  had a resting heart rate of 100 beats per minute (BPM). After my ER visit, I was put on bedrest for a month! No income, no distractions. During that time I lost 10 pounds. Not from wanting to lose it, but because I was so immobile that I couldn’t get up to get something to eat. I hit my physical rock bottom. I was 230 pounds and at 5’4”, I looked and felt awful.

About six months later, a friend from college visited me and I had noticed she had lost about 15 pounds. I asked how she did it and she said Nutrisystem. At this point, I had been trying to lose my weight for a while and nothing had worked. From crash diets to to even stopping eating for a few weeks. I still tipped the scales at 230. So I looked into Nutrisystem. It seemed easier than everything else I had tried and took a lot of the guesswork out of measuring and proportions.

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FEBRUARY

Then…

When I got my tax refund, I set it aside to do the Nutrisystem program. I was mentally ready to do EXACTLY what was needed but I still felt overwhelmed because I had over 100 pounds I wanted to lose and it was going to take a long time and I was scared that after I stopped the program that I would gain it back. Still, I was determined to do something and get out of my funk. I was tired of waking up every day and looking in the mirror crying and grieving for what I had done to myself. Crying for all that I had lost. I was sick of all of it. I wanted to be normal, for people to stop staring at me, for little kids to stop asking me how I got so fat. All of it! I was done.

I pulled up the menu for Nutrisystem and called them to place my first order! It was an exciting day. I have a food allergy so I had to create a custom order, but they were so nice about it. They made suggestions on things I could try and let me know that if I didn’t like anything I could just call and they would give me something else. I had never had someone so supportive and willing to help me work through my fear and self-loathing.

After placing my order, I immediately threw out ALL the food I had in my cabinets that wasn’t part of the program. I must have thrown out three bags of chips and four boxes of cookies, plus tons of ice cream. It was hard to do but it felt amazing. I then went to the store and got all my add-ons. My cart was stocked with eggs, veggies, fruit, spices, etc. I felt like the healthiest person when I was checking out.

I got my box within a week and I can safely say that I never once cheated on my plan. I felt like I was eating too much and I kept calling the counseling hotline at like 11 p.m. and asking if they were sure it was going to work with me eating this much. The person laughed and said, “Yes! Because you are eating the right things!” After my third call of that nature I started to believe that maybe they were right.

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MARCH

You take for granted things you never knew you had. Living pain free for example. After being on the program for about two-and-a-half weeks, I woke up and just laid there expecting it to take me the usual 10 minutes to get out of bed. I took a deep breath and noticed something different. My back didn’t hurt. Neither did my legs. For the first time in a long time, I sat up! I didn’t have to roll out of bed! I actually sat up like a normal person and I didn’t have to work up to it either. I immediately walked to my mirror and looked at what I saw. I had, apparently out of nowhere, lost about 12 pounds.* It was noticeable. My clothes were a little baggier even. That was the first time I cried out of happiness in years. It was working and I wasn’t starving myself or feeling miserable.

RELATED: How This New Mother Used Nutrisystem to Change Her Life >

JULY

…and now.

When I first started the program I couldn’t do more than walk a half a mile, slowly. Now, I can sprint on the elliptical, I can lift heavy weights, hike, bike, kayak, etc. I couldn’t do ANY of those things. I have a better-than-normal life. I look healthy and fit! I have muscle definition and instead of people asking me how I can even do my job or how I got so heavy, people ask me what my workout routine is and if I have any fitness pointers! What a drastic change. My confidence has confidence. I feel like a million bucks and when I look in the mirror, I know I’m sexy! I turn heads for the right reasons and EVERYONE deserves that in life! I no longer shop at stores specializing in plus-size clothing! Not only do I enjoy shopping, I can always find my size now and I enjoy spending time with my friends in public. It’s those little things that make life worth living and you never realize how amazing it is until you lose everything.

My name is Erin Banks, I’m 31 years old and I’ve lost 110 pounds on Nutrisystem.* Looking at my before & after pictures, I can’t believe that was me.

*Real Success Story. Weight lost on prior program. Expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.