I get quite a few guest post requests but normally turn them down as they are usually generic and opportunistic. However, when Amanda reached out and told me her story I realized we share a similar passion and mission with our blogs. These kinds of posts are worth sharing.
3 things real quick before passing the mic to Amanda… 1.) I did weight in today 152.2 – not bad after a weekend at the beach! 2.) Sandra won the Quaker giveaway. 3.) The Vitalicious contest finalists will be announced friday with some fun news!
Now, please welcome Amanda. :)
My name is Amanda from Survival Guide by The Working Mom and this is my story.
Obesity sounds like such a harsh word. It is. Obesity is harsh. Many correlate obesity with “laziness.” I am here to tell you, it is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with in my life. It has been 10 years since I was at my highest weight and I am currently down 170 but the memory of being obese haunts me every day. The memory of the pain in my feet from heel spurs cause by my immense weight. The memory of how difficult it was climbing a flight of stairs with almost 400 pounds of weight on my body. I took the elevator whenever I could. I remember waking up exhausted every morning because the weight bore down so heavily on my lungs, and it caused me to wake up during the night often. This is because I would stop breathing, a condition known as sleep apnea. Not to mention, having high blood pressure and on the brink of diabetes at the age of 25.
These were only a few of the physical plights I had to deal with when I was obese. I was in pain. I was in physical and emotional pain. The emotional ones ran much deeper. I was trapped within my own body. I had so many goals I wanted to achieve but I felt held down by my size. My weight was crippling me. Feeling desperate, I decided to do something drastic. In 2003, I had gastric bypass surgery.
I am not here to “bash” weight loss surgery. I believe it saved my life. But as I have learned, it is also not the cure. It was a great jump start for weight loss but it is not the lifestyle change needed to keep the weight off. I lost weight; I lost over 150 pounds. I was getting my life back with each pound shed. I felt reborn. I was living life, finally!
A year after my surgery, I got married. Three months after that, I was expecting my first child. My prayers were being answered. With a husband, expecting a baby and a new body it was like everything I ever wanted was starting to come true. Life was good. And like many pregnant women, I started having “cravings.” Pregnancy was such a welcomed blessing but it came with temptations I thought was behind me. I started to eat like I was eating for two, which started to lead me down my old path of bad habits. You might think because I had weight loss surgery, I was limited to the amount of food I could eat, but after awhile the smaller stomach starts to expand. In fact, the stomach can expand back into its original size. It is possible to gain weight again after the surgery–it is possible to gain back ALL of the weight. And I did gain. After having two children within three years, I gained back over 60 pounds.
With this weight gain I became even more desperate than before. I was terrified because I knew that life all too well, and was not going to become that helpless girl again. I just couldn’t, I had to do something and I had to do something fast. So, I turned to all sorts of fad diets to try to lose the weight. One of these diets was the HCG diet.
Let me explain what the HCG diet entails. Basically, HCG is a pregnancy hormone, and it is believed that if levels of this hormone are boosted, it will speed up metabolism and weight loss while also attacking stored fat. On the diet you are restricted to 500 calories a day. They argued that this is safe because your body is living off of the stored fat being burned. Whether this theory is correct or not, I did lose weight. How can you not lose weight with only eating 500 calories a day? But as soon as I stopped the 30 day round on HCG that is recommended, I gained back the weight. Like most fad diets, this was not working.
“So easy it seems once found, yet when unfound most would have thought impossible.” –John Milton
About a year ago I saw a Groupon for a place called “Complete Fitness Results.” It was for 10 sessions of their boot camp. I wanted to try it, but I never did like exercise. I tried running a few times, Hated. Every. Minute. I tried some fitness videos before but just never stuck with it. Exercise was my enemy. But I am an avid The Biggest Loser viewer and I always thought I could totally do something like that.
I had to attend an orientation class before I could start boot camp. After that day I was convinced I had signed myself up for disaster. All we did in orientation were some basic warm up stretches but I was in PAIN, PAIN and more PAIN. I remember going down some stairs later that day and having to walk backwards because my thighs hurt so badly. I was not going to give up though! I paid good money for that Groupon and I was going to get my money’s worth! By the end of my 10th session I was really starting to enjoy it, and I even lost a few pounds. Maybe there was something to this exercise stuff after all. I signed up for a year membership.
Each time I went, I felt that I could do a little more than the last time. For the first time EVER, I became in tune with my body. I began to feel stronger. I started having more energy. I started to feel healthier. I started to feel muscles! But the process was slow. I was losing weight but I was not losing as much weight as I would have liked. I was starting to get discouraged but I MADE myself keep on going. I made a commitment to myself that I will do this for a year. Some days I had to talk myself into going. Some days I welcomed it. But nevertheless, I went.
I am not sure when the exact turning point was but one day it all started to click. I started eating healthier foods that would fuel my body for my workouts. I started doing research on the foods that would accomplish this. I began to incorporate healthy eating into my life. I started to see the results. This made me realize maybe I could do this, and that maybe I didn’t always have to be that overweight person. Most importantly, maybe I can do it the healthy way.
It was during this time, my boot camp announced a body transformation contest. The person who lost the most percent body fat would win an iPad2. Body fat was to be measured in the most accurate way possible by getting dunked in a tank of water. The prize was awesome but the competition is what drove me. I wanted to prove to myself I could do this. That day I told my trainer I was going to win. He told me he knew I could; that was all I needed.
For three months, I was focused. I worked harder than I have ever before. I was continuing to learn the right ways to eat in the process. I began experimenting with dishes I loved by replacing ingredients with healthier alternatives. It did not feel like a diet. I felt like I was eating more than ever and it tasted even better than the fatter version. It all paid off. In three months I lost 10.6% body fat. I lost 30 pounds of fat and gained 13 pounds of muscles. I DOUBLED the next highest fat loss. I won the IPad2 but I gained so much more. I believed in myself. Like totally believed in myself! I believed I can do anything I put my mind to. I believed I have finally conquered my battle with weight. I believe I will eventually reach my “healthy” weight. I believed in everyone else out there also battling weight loss. And I realized when you start to believe in yourself, like really truly believe in yourself, anything is possible.
The year I had given myself is up in a few weeks. The old me would have looked at it as an end point, but the new me sees it as an opportunity, my next chapter. I have new goals I want to accomplish. One of my goals is the reason I am guest posting today. I have blogged and will continue to blog my weight loss journey. My goal is to inspire, motivate and help guide others to weight loss through my experiences. If you want to join me on this journey, I welcome you. Visit me at Survival Guide by The Working Mom and subscribe by email. It is time we all start believing in ourselves.