Many of us are taking time to reflect on this year and plan goals for the upcoming one. Not only did we deal with a pandemic in 2020, but we also dealt with a racial uprising which led to many of us falling into unhealthy habits while being stuck in the house. 

Erica Gibson embarked on a wellness journey 3 years ago and since then, she has been able to lose 85 pounds and maintain her weight loss despite the stress and fatigue of this year. Gibson attributes a major part of her weight loss to drinking hot tea daily and she uses her “tea time” to self-reflect and affirm her goals. 

Photo courtesy of Erica Gibson

People around her began to see her results and wanted tips and information on how she accomplished and maintained her health journey. This led Erica to launch her website and product, Body Renew, a 100% Organic Herbal Tea. 

Travel Noire got the chance to talk with Erica about her journey, experience as an entrepreneur, and tips for how we all can take control of our health in the new year!

TN: Congrats on losing 85 pounds! What led you to start your weight loss journey and how did you know you were ready to start and stay committed?

EG: Thank you! I knew I was ready to lose weight when I felt out of control of my own body. It started to drive me crazy to think I wanted to lose weight so badly and I had full control over it. 

As I began to embark on my weight loss journey, I instantly felt hit with so many unfamiliar experiences that forced me to learn self discipline and increase my self-worth. Changing my lifestyle was hard, but it’s also extremely rewarding. Everything changed when I decided to practice self-discipline. I began loving myself like never before, my confidence shot through the roof, and I fell in love with my results. 

Photo courtesy of Erica Gibson

Physical appearance is a perk of weight loss but there are way more positive effects to my mental health. My weight loss journey feels like I’m discovering and growing into the best parts of who I am and that’s what keeps me committed.

TN: What were some challenges you experienced on your weight loss journey and figuring out what worked for you?

EG: Some challenges I experienced were staying motivated, maintaining a healthy diet and believing that what I was doing was actually working. 

Honestly, at times, I still struggle with these things. Some ways I combat my challenges are with affirmations, writing out my daily plans, and documenting my journey.

Affirmations really work. 

When I speak positive things like abundance, happiness, and success into my life, I feel an instant boost in my confidence and my ability to succeed. I’ve also found that planning my daily meals and workouts keeps me on track with my healthy eating and exercise routine. I also keep a personal picture and video diary of my progress and I go back and watch old videos for motivation.

TN: What was your process like when you started sharing your journey with others?

EG: I was excited to share my journey with others! Instagram actually played a major part in my decision to start my weight loss journey. Seeing #TransformationTuesday posts of women who look like me lose a substantial amount of weight, gave me the inspiration to accomplish my goals. I always told myself that if they could do it, so could I and when I did I would make a page to share my weight-loss journey with others which is why I started my health and lifestyle page @FitEsoPretty

Photo courtesy of Erica Gibson

I waited a year into my journey because I wanted to feel equipped to give good advice that I can say honestly works for me. Everyone has a different story, but I want women to relate to me and see that I’m a single mother, I have a career and I’m an entrepreneur, but my mental and physical health are worth the sacrifices I make to live a healthy lifestyle.

TN: What roles has herbal teas played in your overall wellness and weight loss journey?

EG: I have a huge sweet tooth. I knew that if I was going to be successful at losing weight it was essential that I found a way to cut my sugar cravings. While doing research I found that herbal tea was proven to be effective at not only cutting sugar cravings but weight loss in general. 

Photo courtesy of Erica Gibson

I’m from the South, so at one point I really only knew good ole southern style sweet tea. I was intrigued to experiment with different blends and flavors. Drinking hot tea quickly became a part of my daily routine. My sugar cravings were tackled, I was filling my body with natural nutrients, I felt full and most importantly, guilt-free when drinking it. The process of preparing for my daily “tea time” became somewhat meditative.

TN: What made you decide to turn your journey into a business and how did you get started?

EG: After having my @fitesopretty page for over a year, I decided that I wanted to take it a step further and provide something that would aid my followers on their journey outside of just seeing one of my Instagram posts on their timeline. Before I put out my Body Renew Tea I would always recommend my favorite herbal teas as advice to any that asked for weight loss tips.

Photo courtesy of Erica Gibson

Providing a 100% Organic premium quality tea blend, like my Body Renew Tea, fit perfectly into my vision. I was able to utilize my experience with entrepreneurship, e-commerce, and digital marketing to bring together the vision for my health and lifestyle brand. 

I got started by writing out my company mission with purpose and intent. I put together a mood board to help create a brand identity and I built a website.

TN: Your Body Renew is 100% organic and helps to relieve bloating, inflammation and aids in healthy digestion — how did you go about sourcing the teas?

EG: Over the years I have built a personal collection of herbal teas that I absolutely love. I wanted my tea to be the same quality as the teas I love — healthy and tasty. It took 6 months and testing over 30 custom tea blends before I was able to choose a distributor I trusted. I chose the blend for my #BodyRenew because it is a detox tea but it is gentle on the digestive tract, unlike many of the popular detox teas on the market that promote bloat relief. 

Body Renew is gentle and soothing. I appreciate the results I experience from it and my customers will too.

TN: What are your top 3 tips for someone looking to embark on a wellness journey but may not know where to start?


1. Don’t go into your journey hating yourself. I believe self-love is essential to weight loss. I recommend starting because you love yourself so much that you are willing to fully commit to a healthier lifestyle. 

Self-sabotage is real. Remember, it’s a journey, not a race, so take note of life lessons and be empathetic to yourself along the way.

2. Build healthy habits that make you feel good. Starting a wellness journey is going to feel most difficult in the beginning. It can be uncomfortable because your old habits won’t fit into your new lifestyle. 

Plan weekly meetings with an accountability partner, try a new workout class, or try waking up earlier in the morning to boost your productivity.

It’s important to incorporate new daily habits that are rewarding toward your overall goal.

3. Stay faithful and be patient. Don’t plan for overnight success, plan for consecutive small victories. Believe that every step you take is getting you closer to manifesting the best version of yourself.

Photo courtesy of Erica Gibson

TN: Can you share tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle when traveling abroad?

EG: My top tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle while traveling abroad would be to plan your meals ahead of the trip and pack your workout clothes. 

Research local restaurants where you are planning to visit that offer popular healthy eating options. Check the menu ahead of time for healthy meal options so you don’t have as much of an excuse to eat unhealthily. 

Photo courtesy of Erica Gibson

Also, stay on track with your workouts while you’re on vacation. Plan fun physical activities like hiking, water sports, or shopping.

TN: Where can we keep up with you and your brand?

EG: You can follow my health and lifestyle brand @FitesoPretty where I share motivational posts on keeping a positive mindset, fitness, health, and weight loss. 

My personal Instagram page is @EricaSoPretty and I’m also active on TikTok @EricaSoPretty

Please check out my website and shop my apparel line as well as my #BodyRenewTea

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