My name is Erin and I changed my life for the better. At the age of six, I inexplicably began gaining weight. Despite my mother’s best efforts to feed us healthy meals, and several trips to the pediatrician where multiple diabetes tests always turned up negative. Ten years later, it took a chance encounter on a train with a knowledgeable physician to put us on the path of discovering I had a hormone imbalance with insulin resistance, and I was ultimately diagnosed with PCOS, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. But by this time I had developed very unhealthy eating habits and a terrible relationship with food. Over the years, friends and family encouraged me to make efforts to lead a healthier lifestyle and try to lose the weight. Honesty, I felt angry and offended when people tried to encourage me, and my weight continued to increase until I hit my highest weight of 352 lbs. I felt as though this was just how I was always going to be and that was that.
And then it happened, my aha moment! I came to the sudden realization that maybe I was wrong, maybe I could change my life, maybe I could be better. That day was March 23, 2016, my 29th birthday. After trying on dozens of outfit choices while getting ready to go out with some friends to celebrate, I didn't like how anything looked/fit and then it hit me, hard. It wasn't the clothes; it was me. I sat there dumbfounded that I hadn't considered this before and all I could think was why should I accept myself the way I was if I knew I could be better, or at least try to be. And so, for the next week I researched, analyzed, absorbed and researched some more, anything and everything related to healthy eating and exercise.
April 1, 2016 was the day I started my path to a healthier me. Some people thought it was a joke, partly because of the date, but mostly because of my years of protestation and claims that I was happy as I was. But I was determined. I set realistic goals and when I reached them, I would set another one. I learned a lot about myself while on my path, especially in regards to how I used food as a way of stress management or as a reward (neither of which is a good idea). As I said, my relationship with food was bad, and so, like any bad relationship, I kicked it to the curb and started a new, healthy relationship. And the positive results kept coming.
It took 13 months (or 400 days or 1 year, 1 month and 5 days, however you prefer to say it) to reach my goal weight of 160 lbs. That was it. That was what it took to lose 192 lbs. and completely change my life. Who would have thought that all it would take was dedication, determination and sheer will power.
I am immensely proud of myself and of what I have accomplished. I want to say that up front. Unfortunately, there is a downside. The result of the years of abuse and neglect I put my body through has left me with 20+ lbs. of excess skin. When I look in the mirror, my mind struggles between pride and discouragement. I would be lying if I said there wasn't a dismal feeling that coincides with knowing that I worked so hard to get to where I am today, and yet this is what I am left with. Not to mention the physical discomfort that comes with carrying this excess skin (exercising comfortably is a challenge, to say the least).
I have made the decision to go forward with a surgical option to rid myself of the last remnants of a life I have left behind. My health insurance provider has, thus far, refused to provide any financial assistance with this surgery and I have accepted that I will be responsible for financing this last stretch of my path. When all is said and done the costs of surgery will be approximately $35,000. And so, I am here to ask anyone and everyone for help in alleviating a portion of the financial burden.
If you able and willing, please consider donating, and if not, even spreading the word would be greatly appreciated. Anything you can do to help is appreciated, even if only words of encouragement or sharing my story in the hopes that someone else may realize that they too can be a better version of themselves and it's never too late.
- Teri Hinkle
- Dana Silano
- Hargrave Family
- Dana Silano
- Richard Buck
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