Name: Erica Buteau
Hometown: Berlin, New Hampshire
Starting Weight: 326 lbs
Done DDPY For: 2+ years
"You're so freaking heavy you outweigh my Chevy!" chanted almost daily as I boarded the school bus to take me to a place where I'd become subject to the majority of the boys' fat jokes. "You have such a pretty face ... You would be so beautiful if you just lost a few pounds." On repeat by so many of my well-meaning family members. Climbing up on the scale at my elementary school in the nurse's office three times per week, listening to all of the benefits I could have if I just start making better food choices. Hearing the words insulin resistant, pre-diabetic, polycystic ovarian syndrome, obese at each doctor's visit throughout my adult life. Having to take two blood pressure medications per day, as well as medications for high cholesterol and depression. Finally refusing to step on the scale by my early 30's and knowing that the tag on my jeans continued to rise, I decided that I had been heavy all my life and I'd start embracing plus-sized fashion, I resigned myself to just being the way I was. I stopped caring, I stopped trying and when I wasn't working on my computer I was either asleep or making yet another excuse as to why I couldn't join my husband and children on some new adventure, go for a walk or take a swim at the local pond.
I was also building my blog and posting recipes and doing product reviews. It was fun and I found a way to share my love for food with my audience.
My journey began when I saw Diamond Dallas Page on Shark Tank. Soon after watching the segment, I searched for and watched the Arthur Boorman video. I was brought to tears, completely inspired and determined to do it too! I placed my order on March 3, 2014. When the package arrived I opened it, skimmed the little book and put it all in the cabinet beneath the television where it would sit to collect dust. As a blogger, I’m used to receiving fun new products to review. On March 29, 2014 I received a package from a scale company containing their newest digital scale. Every doctor's visit for at least two years prior to this I refused to look at the scale when the nurse weighed me. I guessed my weight to be around my average adult weight, or about 250 pounds. After finding the courage to step on the scale, I saw my actual weight for the first time in several years and was immediately brought to tears. The scale read 326 pounds.
While I was morbidly obese for the vast majority of my life, it wasn’t until that defining moment that I realized just how far the problem had spiraled out of control. I committed to losing the weight right then and finally pressed play on the first DDP Yoga DVD and started learning the Diamond Dozen. I tried to follow the nutrition plan but found that I couldn't give up dairy at that time and opted to go low carb by following the Atkins plan. Still, I followed the workout calendar and felt myself getting stronger with every new day. I clearly remember actually crying doing Broken Table. Today, it's still my absolute favorite move! I lost 11 pounds the first week and a total of 20.8 pounds the first month. By the eighth month, I lost 100 pounds. I lost another 80 pounds in the next year. In total, I've maintained a 175-pound weight loss for almost 8 months! I'm always trying to lose "the last 10 pounds" but every time I do they make their way back - at this point, I think my body has determined what my healthy, happy weight is.
At my highest weight, I wasn’t just morbidly obese, I was extremely unhealthy and I was slowly killing myself. I was also setting a horrible example for my children. Today, I’m completely free of all prescription medications and I have a clean bill of health. My last blood pressure reading was 101/72 without medication! I call THAT a success! Now at my “Happy Weight,” I’m sharing my weight loss journey and success in hopes that I can help motivate and inspire others to take the first step. For me, the first step was finding a way to get active without pain in my knees and my back and to find a weight loss plan that I could commit to 100 percent.
The first time I did a DDP Yoga workout, I was wearing fleece pajama bottoms and a t-shirt. I've graduated to real workout gear but you can really do these workouts in anything you can squat down in comfortably. I have done them in jeans, I've done them using the audio recording on my iPhone alongside rivers and ponds while my husband has fished or on my way home from dropping my teen off at her summer job, in my backyard, and of course - most often, on a yoga mat in my living room. The time commitment is as little as 20 minutes a day, three days a week and that was perfect for me! When I tried running the doctor said to stop because of arthritis in my knee. When I tried weightlifting I hurt my back.
The DDP Yoga workouts really are super low impact and if I could do them at well over 300 pounds, well, that says a lot doesn't it? That first day, I was able to do all of Diamond Dozen moves, albeit not perfectly. The first actual workout is ENERGY! and I did complete it with some difficulty the first time around but I did need to pause it a few times. I immediately took advantage of modifications - there is someone in every video doing modified versions of the moves for beginners and even advanced moves for more advanced workouts. I do a lot of the advanced moves nowadays but I still have plenty of room to grow. For example, the slow burn pushups are an interesting take on pushups. This was one move that I modified at the beginning - I would hold in place rather than lower down for a count. I love that the videos allow for your workouts to grow with you and you always have a place to go back to if you get off track.
I find the workout videos to be super encouraging, DDP is almost understanding and allows you to "Make the workout your own" by modifying the moves or pressing pause. He gently encourages while reminding you of what you're trying to accomplish and calmly pushing you forward and often making you laugh. "You need a water break? Take a water break!" "Focus on the little dribble of sweat dripping off your nose." "Ohh, I just adjusted my back!" So many of the workout videos I've tried since becoming a DDP Yoga fanatic are so, snarky, and they are led by these voices that are just not DDP. When I pop a workout video into my DVD player it's always DDP Yoga and I may take breaks from the program sometimes to try new things or because I get off track because I'm a little busy one day and that snowballs into a few weeks but it's my safety zone and where I always return whenever I need to.
Now, I'm smaller, but more importantly, I'm significantly healthier. I'm a better mom, wife, and person now that I can not only participate in life in a much fuller, more valuable way, but I'm also able to set a better example for my kids. In 2016 I've run a 5-K, hiked the tallest peak in the northeast, and truly lived a wonderful, energetic life. Feeling better and being free from prescriptions and scheduling all of those doctor’s visits is definitely one of the best parts, but my favorite thing is that I know I’m showing my kids how I am trying to be my best self.
Read more about Erica's journey in her article featured on the Womens' Health Magazine website at http://bit.ly/2mMVKWT