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Who: Lottie Walker, 35, middle school counselor and wellness teacher in Northern Virginia
Pounds lost: I’ve lost 45 pounds so far (my goal is to lose at least another 40).
How long it took: I started working with personal trainer Errick McAdams in August 2017. I’m still in the process of making changes, but the biggest change happened before I turned 35.
Turning point: I’ve struggled with my weight my entire adult life. I’ve done diet after diet, and have even been successful a number of times, but nothing ever stuck. My best friend, Calla Brown, whom I’ve known since kindergarten, began working with Errick in the fall of 2016 in preparation for her wedding. She often spoke about Errick and how supportive he was, and how much he was helping her change her body.
I was lucky enough to be a bridesmaid in Calla’s wedding, but when I was thinking about dresses to wear, I was very unhappy with the way I looked and the way my body fit in them. When Calla’s wedding photos came back and I saw how uncomfortable I was in my own skin, I decided now was the time to make a change. I asked Calla for Errick’s contact information and began my transformation journey just six weeks after the wedding. Unlike previous attempts at weight loss, Errick was focused not on the weight but on helping me be the best version of myself physically and mentally. He was encouraging, texting multiple times per day, and kept me focused on my journey.
Exercise: When I first started with Errick, our workouts focused on low-impact cardio and weights. Errick was understanding of my limitations due to asthma and years of carrying extra weight on my joints. He pushed me to step out of my comfort zone (running stairs and on the treadmill) while making sure I had attainable goals. In the beginning of my weight loss plan, I worked out with Errick three days per week at 5 AM to get my workouts in before heading to school for the day, as well as two to three “off-day” workouts (cardio or workout routines that Errick created for me that I did in my apartment gym or outside). I also supplemented these workouts with spin, HIIT, and yoga classes. Last March, I decided to try my first Orangetheory Fitness class. Since then, I’ve been doing three to four workouts per week at Orangetheory in addition to my workouts with Errick three times per week.
Diet: Errick helped me to make smarter food choices and find ways to track what I was eating. The biggest change for me was intermittent fasting. I stopped eating breakfast and instead focused on eating healthy and fuller meals between 12 PM and 8 PM. This structure really helped me monitor my eating and create a healthier meal schedule. I began packing my lunches and snacks each night to take with me each morning. Working in a school, there are baked goods and school lunches, and numerous treats for teachers around the building. For me to be successful, I stayed away from unplanned treats. I also began planning my dinners so I was able to avoid the end-of-the-day snack attack that used to stifle my progress. Unlike past weight loss attempts, I was able to continue to be social and go out with friends while tracking my food. This became a lifestyle change rather than a “diet.”
How she stuck with it: It’s been so helpful to have the full support of my friends and family. My husband, Kyle Kondik, has been super supportive and has even joined my working out journey. While he doesn’t work out with Errick, Kyle joins me in Orangetheory workouts and spin classes and all the extra off-day workouts Errick sends me. Kyle and I weren’t even engaged when I started this transformation, but through the engagement and wedding, Kyle has been my biggest supporter. It’s also been very helpful to have my friends, especially Calla, in my corner.
Favorite splurge: Kyle and I love having build-your-own-pizza nights at home. We have so much fun prepping the ingredients and choosing our favorites.
Changes to her “invisible” health: My asthma is much-improved, as are my blood sugar levels. I also have better sleep.
How she felt then: Before I started this transformation, I had much less energy, I was unmotivated, and I found as many excuses as possible to avoid working out. I was unhappy with my body and felt uncomfortable in it.
How she feels now: I feel great! I feel like I’m becoming the best version of myself. It’s about so much more than the weight—I feel confident, I feel strong, and most of all, I finally feel in control of my body. While I’m not yet at my goal weight, I’m sure I’ll get there with the tools I’ve gained in this process.
Newfound body love: I have a completely newfound respect for my body. I’m amazed at the things I can do. I genuinely love working out and trying new exercises.
To those who want to make a change: My biggest piece of advice for someone wanting to make a change would be to just do it. Start small and keep going. Each day that I woke up, I committed to continuing this process—one workout and one meal at a time. In the words of Dory from Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming.”
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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