'The Biggest Loser' Coach Erica Lugo Reveals Battling Eating Disorder While on Reality Series
Erica Lugo, a coach on the reality competition series The Biggest Loser, took to Instagram to [...]
Erica Lugo, a coach on the reality competition series The Biggest Loser, took to Instagram to explain that while she suffered from an eating disorder while on the show. Lugo lost over 160 pounds 7 years ago through diet and exercise, which earned her a following as a fitness influencer and a position on The Biggest Loser reboot. After a follower left a comment saying "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." Lugo acknowledged that she usually just lets comments like this slide, but that she wanted to address "the elephant in the room" alongside a mirror selfie.
"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,'" Lugo wrote. "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.'"
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Lugo detailed a pattern of binging and purging after a toxid relationship and admitted that it seriously affected her life. "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?'" Lugo continued. "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 explained that she started to feel her old habits coming back while in lockdown, but that she only felt supported on the set of The Biggest Loser. Additionally, she wanted to promote the idea that being fit had to look a certain way, i.e. "thin with a six-pack." Eventually, her eating disorder got so back that she decided to seek treatment. "During lockdown I was in denial of even wanting help," Lugo admitted. "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 as 'jacked' as I once was. I have a little more jiggle."
Lugo ends her inspiration post by celebrating how far she has come with loving her body and encouraged others to do the same. "To the woman (and men) who struggle in silence. I feel you. I understand you," she concluded. "The world doesn't understand internal struggles and it's up to us to seek help to cope. There is a way out. There is help. You are stronger than your ED even when you feel you aren't." She then linked to some resources for those who also struggle with disordered eating.