Not here for it. Biggest Loser trainer Erica Lugo has spent years working on her fitness and becoming her healthiest self — and doesn’t care what anyone has to say about it.
On Tuesday, June 22, Lugo, 33, shared a lengthy post following an Instagram user criticizing her weight. “This morning I woke up to a comment telling me, ‘You look big and not portioned. For someone who eats healthy and works out a lot you are big. You might want to not be a health coach’ (keep reading. I don’t care about the actual comment vs what it can do to people who don’t have the coping skills yet),” she began alongside a mirror selfie. “Time to address the elephant in the room: Years ago when you saw me on TV. I was sick. I was mentally and emotionally miserable. Physically my body was going down the wrong path even though it was celebrated for being ‘small.’”
The Fit Love Studio owner went on to explain her struggles with eating through the years.
“I did everything in my power to remain ‘tiny.’ I restricted food, I thought about binging and purging and to completely honest I did, YEARS AGO. I would sit in the bathroom while filming and cry. Cry for hours bc the eating disorder thoughts kept telling me ‘Just purge, it’ll help keep you thin,’” she wrote. “I remember walking into hair and makeup one morning on BL set and my amazing makeup artist Maddie said ‘your eyes are puffy. Did you not sleep well?’ I lied and told her I tossed and turned all night when in reality, I sat in the bathroom with my knees tucked to my chest crying and stopping myself from purging. Up until the very minute I had to leave for set the next morning. Yes. I sat in that bathroom for over 10 hours. I never did purge but those thoughts came rushing back from my past.”
Lugo has shared her fitness journey via Instagram through the years. Before becoming a trainer, she weighed 320 pounds. Ultimately, she lost 160 pounds, fought and beat thyroid cancer, launched her own fitness company and opened a gym. In September 2020, she underwent skin removal surgery.
“Loose skin has been a part of my [weight loss] journey for 5 years. I’ve always been okay with it,” she wrote via Instagram at the time. “It’s been my battle scar, but the more I begin to build muscle and get leaner I get, the more loose skin builds up. No amount of exercise or nutrition will help the loose skin pockets on my hips and stomach. I’ve made the decision to get it removed. It wasn’t an easy decision. It’s been something I’ve researched for years.”
In her new post, Lugo explained that she “felt pressure while filming” only from herself, even though everyone on set reminded her how gorgeous she was.
“After filming and getting stuck in lockdown I told myself I am getting help again,” she shared on Tuesday. “I wanted to break the ‘trainer’ mold of having to fit into a certain size. Having to be thin with a 6 pack. I was happy to show young girls that you can be strong, thick, curvy and a badass. But the old mentality and eating disorder thoughts came rushing back. I struggled with restriction, with wanting to always have a high caloric burn. Etc. I no longer wanted to be a prisoner to food thoughts, calories burned and comparing my body to others. During lockdown I was in denial of even wanting help. I knew I needed it but did I REALLY? I came clean to my husband and told him about my past struggles and that I was fearful i was going to go down that path again. That i was scared of living a life of always wanting and chasing ‘being tiny’ 2020 was a year of coming to reality with myself. 2021 has been a year of getting professional help. I’ve gained about 10ish lbs since I was at my thinnest. I’m not a ‘jacked’ as I once was. I have a little more jiggle.”
The fitness guru went on to add that she hears those struggling “in silence” like she used to. “I feel you. I understand you. The world doesn’t understand internal struggles and it’s up to us to seek help to cope,” she wrote. “There is a way out. There is help. You are stronger than your ED even when you feel you aren’t.”
In July 2020, Lugo revealed exclusively to Us Weekly that she has constantly received criticism via social media, even from the fitness community.
“I got a lot of heat for my body-type being a trainer on the show, and I wanted to kind of be like, ‘Screw you. I’m very proud of it,’” she said on the “Watch With Us” podcast at the time. “I’ve got cellulite and stretch marks. I’m strong as hell, but it does not make any impact on how awesome I can work out and how strong I am or how knowledgeable I am about fitness. … I’ve gotten some DMs from some well-known fitness influencers who are like, ‘You should probably tone down the way you preach about fitness’ or ‘You’re not really that great of a trainer.’”