Saturday, September 1, 2012

Amanda's A-ha Moment

Hello friends! I'm Amanda, a 27 year old wife and mother living in West Virginia who, like all of you, have struggled with my weight.

Here's my story:

Throughout my childhood, I was skinny. Almost too skinny. I ate anything and everything I wanted, (read: tons of Coca-Cola and Reese cups), yet remained slim due to cheerleading, competitive tennis and Mom's healthy home cooking.

Me, senior year of high school, about 120 lbs.

Then came college and the Freshman 1̶5̶ 30. I was living away from home for the first time and didn't know how to make healthy food choices on my own. I was used to Mom putting nutritional meals in front of me every day. I didn't have to think about healthy choices and reasonable portion sizes. For 4 years I lived off ramen noodles, pizza and plenty of cocktails. Although there was a state-of-the-art fitness center on campus, I was much too busy partying with my studies to visit it often. I'd go for the social aspect of it a few times a semester and that was pretty much it.

During my senior year of college, my best friend and I started running and I lost a good deal of weight. I didn't own a scale so I have no idea what I weighed during my early 20's, but I do know that once I "slimmed down" my senior year of college, I was wearing a size 10.

Me, in my size 10 jeans at a Bon Jovi concert : )

After college, I started working full-time and attending graduate school. I got my first apartment so I was 100% on my own with cooking. No more campus cafeteria. I continued to make terrible choices, eating fast food twice a day, sometimes three times a day. Long hours of work and classes left no time for exercise.

I met my husband shortly after college. After dating for a year, we became engaged. We were to be married in just 6 months. Nightmares of a plus-sized dress haunted me. I frantically joined L.A. Weight Loss and spent hundreds of dollars on their meal replacement bars and shakes but I never embraced a lifestyle change of eating real, healthy foods and having an exercise regimen. I also tried Weight Watchers and I lost 7 pounds but again, my weight loss venture was short-lived.

My wedding dress was a size 12 and although I wasn't thrilled with that, I didn't want to change badly enough yet.
Me, on our wedding day, June 2008.

During the first couple of years of our marriage, I gained weight steadily until I was a size 18. We were eating out several times a week. A staple meal for me would be an entire cheese fries appetizer from Outback, a salad with ranch dressing, some bread with honey butter, an entrée, and sometimes a piece of cheesecake. Looking back, I cannot believe I ate that much in one sitting. It's sickening. I joined a local gym and took some fitness classes, but like L.A. Weight Loss and Weight Watchers, my gym membership was short-lived.

Then I got pregnant.

I continued eating terrible and not exercising and by the time I gave birth, I was 258 pounds.

The day I had my son. October 5, 2010. 258 lbs.

After I had my son, everything changed. I was tired of being exhausted and unable to get down on the floor and play with him let alone chase him as he got older. I was terrified of being the "fat mom" that all the kids at school made fun of. I wanted my little boy to be proud of me. I wanted to set a good example for him. Most of all, I wanted to change my life for me. I wanted the old me back. The happy, confident me. Not the sad, miserable, embarrassed-to-be-seen-in-public me. On September 1, 2011 I called Jenny Craig and started my weight loss journey – for real this time.

Jenny Craig literally changed my life. They taught me accountability, portion control, healthy food choices, and that being active doesn't have to be torture. You can actually enjoy eating healthy and exercising. Wow! I totally had an Oprah Winfrey a-ha moment! Light dressing actually doesn't taste too different from the full fat version. Salads can be very delicious and filling. Yogurt is a perfect sweet treat in the afternoon. Drinking water isn't all that bad. Tilapia is now one of my favorite dishes.

I lost 25 pounds and then transitioned to my own food. It was scary on my own at first but I found support on Mama Laughlin's blog as well as Dashing Dish and Pinterest. I found healthy recipes to make for my family, snack ideas, and ways to be active. Jillian Michaels and I were about to become best friends.

I bought a jogging stroller and started walking. I couldn't walk ¼ of a mile without panting and becoming red-faced. I didn't give up. I bought a treadmill and continued walking. Inspired by Mama Laughlin, I started the Couch to 5k program and ran my first 5k this past July. I am now training for my first half marathon this November. If I had met me 2 years ago, I wouldn't know me. I always hated running when I had to do it in school, now I am in love with it. I love how it makes me feel, how it clears my mind, cleanses my soul. I love the feeling of pushing my body to its limits and the amazing feeling of accomplishment when I'm done with a run. I love the feeling of the sweat running down my back and the knowledge that I am doing something that not everyone can do. It's euphoric. It's better than Coca-Cola and Reese Cups.

When I first became a JC client there was a part of me that didn't really believe I could lose the weight. I set a goal of being at 148. On Saturday, August 25, 2012, I saw that number on my scale. The feeling was indescribable. It had taken nearly a year, but I did it. I had plateaued, lost, gained, cried, rejoiced, and fought my way to 148. I was stronger than I had ever been in my life, both physically and mentally.

Me, August 2012, size 8, 147 lbs.

Just the way Mama inspired me, I hope to inspire someone else with my story. If I can lose 70 pounds, you can too! Don't give up. You are so much stronger than you know. And you deserve more than what you are settling for today. A year from now, you will wish you had started today.

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  1. You look amazing girl! And you and I had the same wedding dress, same size, and in June of 08 as well (6.7.8 to be exact). Thank you for sharing your story!

  2. Amazing and inspirational.!! Congrats on getting to your goal weight!

  3. Wow! That's crazy! We got married 6.28.08. And thank you for being an inspiration for me to lose this weight. You are amazing!

  4. Very inspirational!! You've done a great job!

  5. Thank you for sharing, and you look AMAZING!!! :))

  6. Amanda, thanks so much for contributing. You are welcome back anytime. I am so glad that you found your niche and success! You look fantastic!! ~ Jen J.

  7. Come on, girl, you know I have to tall are you? :)

  8. You look fabulous! Congrats on reaching your goal. How did you get over your plateaus?


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