Name: Kerri Baker
Why I decided to transform
In another lifetime, I was severely overweight. At my largest, I weighed in at around 230 pounds, I just accepted my situation at face value, thinking it was in my genetics to be overweight and unhappy. I was a fat kid and continued to be chubby into my young adulthood. I stopped caring in my 20s and the scale crept up over the 200s.
After seeing a photo of myself on a hike with a friend a few years ago, I broke down in tears and decided it was time to take control of my life. I broke down on the floor of my closet, crying out of control over a summer of poor food choices and my "fat pants" not fitting.
Right then and there, I declared to myself that I would start living like a fit person. I had to scrape myself up and start believing I was fit and healthy before my reflection in the mirror actually confirmed it. My journey had to begin in my head.
Staying positive has resulted in sustainable, long-term weight loss. It breaks my heart that there are few pictures of me when I was overweight because I hid from cameras.
How I accomplished my goals
Over the last 10 years, I tried every fad diet. I cut carbs. I tried weight-loss shakes. I took diet pills. I tried every shortcut known to man, and I learned one very important lesson: There are no shortcuts. I was tired of losing 10 pounds and gaining back 20. I was tired of starving myself for a month, then binge-eating for two. I felt like every time I started to see results I would sabotage myself with my self-talk that I "never stick to anything." For me, the moment I finally found success occurred when I identified why I wanted to change and started believing in myself.
No amount of food or wine will ever be worth looking in a mirror and wanting to cry, lying on the floor of a closet in tears when your stretchy fat pants don't fit, or avoiding looking at your reflection in a car window because you know it will ruin your day. When I realized I didn't want to feel that way anymore, my results came and I changed from the inside out.
Nothing unveils your true friends more than weight loss. My best friend several years ago told me she was sad for me because I was becoming less social when I stopped going to happy hours several nights a week with her. I don't know where she is now. It's sad, yes, but today all of the people in my life lift me up and celebrate with me, not try to belittle me for following a dream.
My Weightloss Story Kerri Baker
About three years ago, I still had about 40 pounds to lose, so I posted on Facebook, "I'm going to compete in a bikini competition!" because the goal was so wild at the time it scared me. Four months later, I competed in my first show and won! I continued competing over the course of 3 years, meeting lifelong friends and making connections with amazing women who inspire me. I qualified nationally last year, but have slowed down on the competition scene to focus on balance.
I resigned from my software sales job last year and became a full-time personal trainer, so now I wake up every day with passion in my heart and true excitement for sharing wellness with others. I know what it's like to feel hopeless with weight loss.
My goal today is to help other women find their strength and learn how to approach weight loss from the inside out.
What aspect challenged me the most
My mindset. When I first started losing weight, I spent a lot of time trying to reprogram my thoughts. When something went wrong in my life or I was stressed out, I would let it be an excuse for my negative thoughts to creep back in and get off track.
Over the last few years, I've learned that life is going to happen, and the best thing we can do for ourselves when we're stressed is take care of ourselves first.
I also struggled in the beginning of my competition experience with comparing myself with others, which is easy to do in the world of social media we live in, but I've learned to enjoy every competition as a chance to compete with one girl—me.
Beating my last "best" and celebrating how far I've come is what keeps me going and positive.
My future fitness plans
My dream is to open a small fitness studio, where people of all fitness levels can come together and enjoy the process. I'd also love to publish a clean-recipe book.
Having been overweight for my entire life, one thing I've gotten really good at is inventing clean alternatives for food like pizza and ice cream. When you can include such alternatives in your diet year-round and stay lean, it becomes a sustainable lifestyle, not a diet.
Suggestions for aspiring transformers
Compare you to yourself. This is your journey, not someone else's.
Take photos, even when you are embarrassed. My big regret is hiding from cameras because I hated how I looked. When you have a day you feel stalled, going back and looking at where you started will help keep you on track.
If you feel like you start and stop fad diets all the time without success, get a reality check on yourself. Why do you want to change? What aren't you happy about? How does it feel to be unhappy? What will happen if you don't change?
Having a head-on conversation with yourself about those things will really help you stay on track and finish. When you think about quitting, you can go back and revisit those reasons and feelings.
How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals
I originally started my journey when I was very overweight. I remember reading about Jamie Eason in a magazine and thinking, "Wow, she is so lucky!" Over time I realized she isn't lucky—she works hard and chooses to live a certain lifestyle. The "side effect" of this lifestyle is looking amazing and feeling good.
Following Jamie Eason led me to Bodybuilding.com, where I used the app and learned every workout move under the sun. I also stalked transformation stories, started learning about and ordering supplements that helped with my transformation, and connected with other fitness buffs through BodySpace.
Kerri's Top Gym Tracks
"Til I collapse"
"Ain't Goin' Down Til the Sun Comes Up"
Photo Credit: Benjamin Gay