100 Pounds Ago: One Woman’s Story of Heartbreak, Acceptance, and Success

"Taking the weight off changed everything. It helped me believe in myself."
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“It’s important to sit back and take stock of where you are. You need to realize there’s not one thing you can do to change how you got where you are. Once you realize that,” explains Amanda, 35 years old, “then you start.”

A self-proclaimed 80’s child, Amanda has a personal understanding of the unique relationship between unhealthy snack food and time in front of the TV. Those habits combined made it fairly inevitable for her to quickly become an overweight child. She was fortunate to escape much of the ridicule that can accompany this designation—however, she didn’t dodge it completely.

weight loss transformation

"I knew I was heavy but, it didn’t really bother me. I guess I was ten or eleven the first time I understood. We’d gone to church and I was wearing this cute little babydoll-type dress. You know the ones with the empire waist?” Amanda remembers, “I overheard some girls talking. They were wondering if I was pregnant and I was like, how in the heck would I be pregnant? Their comments made me really self-conscious. It was one of those moments where you sort of wake up.”

Amanda spent her teen years hovering around the same number on the scale. She went to college, married, and had her first child, with her weight holding steady for the most part. But after her daughter was born, the pounds started to catch up with her.

“It was just a normal day. I went to work and picked my daughter up from daycare. When I got home, I pulled her carrier from the car and walked to the house. She was asleep so I just sat her down once we got inside, but then I needed to sit down, too. I was seriously winded from walking up to the house. It couldn’t have been more than a twenty foot walk! In that moment, I realized if I ever wanted to play with my little girl or run around with her as she grew up, then I had to do something. I was going to have to change.”

“I was planting seeds in my head,” she remembers. “I knew I still needed to figure out a few things, but I had the tools. I understood about calories and exercise and the relationship between the two. I knew how to lose the weight, but I also knew how hard healthy weight loss could be.”

The following month, Amanda’s father passed away.

Two months after that, she and her husband separated.

“It’s easy to say I had a lot of pent up anger,” Amanda says, able to laugh about it in retrospect.

But she wasn’t laughing then. Of course, there was no humor to be found. What she did manage to find was the key to changing her entire life: “For the first time, instead of dealing with emotion by eating and finding comfort in food, I would make a smoothie or go to the gym.”

If she got angry, she resisted the impulse to head to the kitchen. “I found a reason to care about me instead of all the drama swirling around my life. Although I certainly wouldn’t recommend it, anger can be a good motivator!”

We’ve all been there, right? The resentment, irritation, and hurt from a broken relationship…but how we deal with these emotions can set us apart. Do we find strength within ourselves to rise up and allow this situation to motivate positive change, or do we return to negative habits?

“I felt better after I worked out,” Amanda explains. For her, it was that simple. Changing her patterns, making herself get up and do something that made her feel alive and vibrant—that was the answer. Along with the physical conditioning, being good to her body lifted Amanda’s spirit.

“I started cooking too! I was going through a divorce and cooking for myself. My daughter was just starting on food, so really, it was just me. I was trying all these foods I’d never tried before, and I was figuring out what I liked,” she says. “In the beginning I made a lot of smoothies, because it was so simple to throw stuff in blender. The whole process of changing my style of living took about five months: getting used to the gym, then eating healthy, and then I found dietbet.com and it was a whole other level of motivation.”

Since Amanda’s first buy-in to a dietbet.com game, she’s never paid another penny: her previous winnings have paid for each subsequent game.

So what worked for Amanda? Once you strip away all the details and examine the past few years of her life, her ability to change was the essential element of her success. She shifted from being a wife and mom to a single Mother. She changed her lifestyle to include fitness and healthy cooking. She learned to put herself first.

“When you lose a lot of weight, everyone wants to know how you did it, right? For me, that was changing it up about every six months,” she says. “I did a couch to 5k, then I did Zumba for a while.

When I got more advanced, I did cycling and HIIT-based training. I tried to keep it interesting. To keep myself from getting bored, I kept changing my method of exercise while adding a whole lot of new recipes and foods to my diet.”

Amanda admits the weight loss has changed her life. “It’s given me confidence, especially after the divorce. There were some things I had to deal with, like not knowing how to dress or how to flirt or act like a single woman,” she says. “Taking the weight off changed everything. It helped me believe in myself. Do you know, I’ve taken more chances on life as a smaller person? Being healthy has pushed me to a whole new level of living.”

The day she carried her little daughter in from the car, the day the seed was planted, the moment she knew her life could change with dedication: that was the moment Amanda chose to be kind to herself. “There’s no quick fix, it’s a long haul and you need to accept that this is going to take time,” she says. “If you screw up one day, don’t tell yourself you’ll start over tomorrow! Start from where you are! Right here, right this minute. It’s so worth it!”

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