Monday, February 28, 2011

West Coast post

Hello from Los Angeles!

It's about 4:15 a.m. here, and my friend and I are up and about, getting ready to hang out with Oprah.

I'm having a fantastic time and will have lots of pictures and stories for you when I get back. I just wanted you to know I had not forgotten my lovely readers.

Happy Monday. Make this a healthy week. I'll talk to you soon!

P.S. Don't forget to watch Oprah today!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sorry I can’t come to the blog, I’m too busy eating

Hi. So, last week was a bit rough on many levels for me. Hence my lack of posting.

I woke up Sunday with a stomach bug, which put me out of commission for a couple of days. Best part of that? I lost 5.2 pounds last week. I am sure I have gained some back, because I’ve been actually, you know, eating. But it was lovely to see that loss on the scale and pretend it was real, just for a minute.

Then things got worse. Starting Tuesday evening, I felt dizzy and weak, which I just attributed to the Sunday sickness. Wednesday, I felt horrible. I had a terrible headache and nothing made it stop. By Thursday I was completely freaked out that something was horribly wrong with me.

I’m not a hypochondriac, really. It takes me really feeling bad to go to the doctor. But the pounding headache and lightheadedness scared me. I spent most of Thursday at the Emory Emergency Room. All my tests were normal and they gave me an IV bag of fluids, just in case I had residual dehydration.

Friday I was still miserable and went to my regular doctor. Upon more tests, she diagnosed me with a severe migraine, prescribed me some meds and sent me on my way.

A migraine. I felt kind of silly. But also, relieved. I used to suffer from migraines, but I had never had one so extreme. Never one that lasted for days.

I’m finally feeling better, but I admit I haven’t handled my food all that well. Because I had myself worked into a panic, I ate a little more over it than I would have liked. I was feeling sorry for myself, and for a few brief days, I turned to food.

Again, it was nothing like it used to be. Just a couple of regretful fast food trips and a few overindulgences. I’m trying not to beat myself up for it. Just moving on. It’s what I do.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The cruise is off

Yeah, you heard me. The cruise is no more. At least for now.

Do I think I’ll never get to my 100 pounds? Nope (although some days it sure feels like it). Do I plan to gain back all my weight? Not that either.

Instead, I got the most fabulous surprise from one of my best friends.

Friday, my college roommate’s husband called me. His wife, my friend Lange, is a huge fan of Oprah Winfrey. So Steve proceeds to tell me he went to the Oprah website to try to win tickets for Lange.

He got lucky. He snagged two tickets to Oprah’s post-Oscar episode taping in Los Angeles. He also had two free flights, thanks to frequent flier miles.

I was so excited for Lange. I knew how thrilled she must be. But then Steve said though he didn’t mind going, the more he thought about it, Lange would have more fun with me.

Wait, WHAT?

Here I was, expecting him to ask me to babysit for their girls (my two goddaughters), but instead he and Lange are giving me the experience of a lifetime. Feb. 25, Lange and I head to L.A. to hang out with Oprah and the Oscar winners (Colin Firth? Be still my heart).

I’m beyond thrilled about this. I’m excited to see OPRAAAAAH (recite that in your best Oprah voice for emphasis) and her celebrity guests and to spend some quality time with my dear friend. I also have a cousin in Los Angeles and some friends I hope to see.

So I’m thinking this is going to take the place of my cruise. I won’t be to my 100 pounds by then, but that’s OK. I think I still deserve a reward, no? I’ll revisit the cruise idea for another milestone. My ultimate goal weight, perhaps.

The funny thing is that if this had happened to me a year ago, I probably still would have been pumped about it, but it would have been clouded by a ton of worry. Would I have to buy an extra seat on the plane? I would definitely need a seatbelt extender. Would I be able to walk around doing touristy things for four days without being worn out? Where would I eat? How would I feed my addiction while sharing a room with someone?

But because this happened now, I have only joy and anticipation. It’s kind of the way I’m choosing to look at my life in general. Just excitement and hope of what’s to come.
Oh, and don’t worry. I’ll be sure to tell Oprah that you guys said hi.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


One year ago today, I wrote five words in my first blog:

I’m Erika and I’m obese.

I’ve never been so scared in my life. I never would have suspected those words would set me free.

Since that first entry, “Erika is Losing It” has received more than 61,000 hits. I have met so many of you and have been moved and humbled by your support. I love Weight Watchers, but I truly believe that this blog has been the key to my success.

I’ve been a writer for most of my life. And I have always written for other people. I was a newspaper reporter for 10 years before coming to Children’s. Now I write to fundraise for our precious patients.

But I had no idea that my writing could change my life. I never would have dreamed about sharing all my secrets with strangers or even people I know. I had spent so long trying to hide my food addiction. To bring it to the light was a ridiculous thought.

I remember seeing my first entry posted on Careforce. I honestly thought I’d pass out. I was genuinely terrified of the reaction I’d get by sharing myself so openly. It was all new to me. Now it's a special part of my life.

I’m so grateful to those of you who read regularly—or sporadically. Thank to those of you who have been with me since last February, and welcome to those who are just joining.

I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll probably say it a million more, but thank you. Thank you for saving my life.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Loud. Talkative. Outgoing. Sensitive. Hyper.

These are all words that have been used to describe me—to my face. But it was always ones I thought were said behind my back that haunted me.

Heavy. Big. Huge. Fat.

Sometimes it’s hard to describe one person to another. We use words that we think define them. “Oh, you know her, the pretty blonde girl who drives the Lexus.” “He’s that shy guy with the bushy eyebrows.”

Yeah, they’re quick descriptions. But when you hear them enough, it’s easy to use them as definitions.

For so long my fat defined me. I mean, how else could you describe me to someone else without using my most obvious physical trait?

Physical traits are different from emotional ones. But when all I can see and define myself by are my physical qualities, how can I expect others to see anything else?

I’m a daughter. A friend. A sister. I sometimes take things too personally. I am compassionate and empathetic. I have hopes and dreams. I’m a writer. A girl who sings and dances in her car. I am enthusiastic about silly things. I am often scatterbrained. I am afraid of succeeding. I am more afraid of failure.

I can say the alphabet faster backward than forward. I can recite all the words to most early-1990s rap songs. I love cheesy TV. I am giggly and girly and really do want world peace.

Do people see all these other things? More importantly, do I? These days, I look at photos or even in the mirror and I think maybe my weight is no longer my most defining characteristic. And that’s not just because I’ve lost 90 pounds.

It’s because finally I’m starting to see there’s more to me than just a fat girl.