Meet Erica: an inspiring viewer from Bowling Green, Ohio, who — after struggling with her weight since she was a kid — lost 150 pounds in two years.
"I have really struggled with weight in one form or another since I was a kid," Erica tells us. "I even was bullied so severely that I ended up having to switch schools going into junior high. That really set me up to be pretty down on myself through junior high and high school."
Throughout her school years, Erica attempted to lose weight — but settling into a desk job after college set her back.
"I lost about 50 pounds, but after I graduated from college," she explains, "I found that going to a desk job and not being as active as I was, I really started putting on weight pretty quickly."
Her wake-up call came when she hit 315 pounds and sat down for what she calls uncomfortable conversations with her doctor.
"Two years ago, I was at my heaviest ever weight. I was at 315 pounds, and I realized that I was past the point of just needing to eat a little better and start walking a little bit more," Erica recalls. "I got to the point when I was starting to have some uncomfortable conversations with my doctor where she was concerned I was pre-diabetic. I had high cholesterol."
"I was treating food like an addict treats drugs or alcohol," she continues. "I was thinking about it all the time, trying to find any opportunity to eat. I knew I had to change my habits."
That's when Erica started seeing a personal trainer once a week for 30 minutes, before taking up running.
"I set a goal very quickly to just be able to run three miles without walking. And I got to the point where I was ready to run my first 5k," Erica explains. "I was able to cross that finish line. Since then, I've run three or four 10ks, two half marathons and a month ago, I signed up for my first full marathon, which I still can't believe I signed up for." Wow — go Erica go!
Now, you know we love a good makeover for deserving viewers like Erica, who says she just keeps buying the same outfits over and over again in smaller sizes — and the pandemic wasn't going to stop us from pulling one off.
So, we turned to one of our favorite makeover masters, Mally Roncal, to help us. She sent Erica lots of new clothes, makeup and hair tools to work with. Not to mention, she styled a bunch of looks for her AND recorded hair & makeup tutorials to help make our first virtual makeover a success.
Watch the video above for the AMAZING finished look that Mally and Erica nailed, with help from Banana Republic (who also gave Erica a $500 gift card to buy more new clothes!), Wacoal, Mally Beauty and Mally's hairstylist friend Gregory Patterson. (Spoiler alert: Rach shrieked and Mally was speechless.)
"I feel very cool today," Erica tells Rach and Mally. "Very, very cool."
"I struggle with the before and after, because I love who I was before," she adds. "She was funny, she was a good friend, a good family member. She was smart and good at her job and I'm not better now because I have lost 150 pounds. I'm healthier, of course. I mean, I'm just a different version of who I was before. I don't ever want to look back at those pictures and think, 'Oh gosh, I'm so glad I'm not her.' I love who she was, and I love who I am now." YES, Erica — we love that.