Amanda, a Priorfatgirl

From the Beginning

I was always the heaviest girl in my group of friends. My mom, dad, brother and I were a busy family that ate at restaurants or ordered food more often than we ate home-cooked meals, it seemed. I don’t think I ever learned what a balanced, healthy meal was. It was never an issue.

I began to thin out when I hit high school. I played sports and had show choir rehearsals nonstop, so my baby weight just fell off. I was thin and at a healthy weight for the first time in my life! However, I still was eating complete crap.

I entered college weighing at the tip top of the healthy BMI range for my 5-foot 5 ½-inch frame, but with little concern for my weight and health, I became less active each year. Throw in eating junk all the time and drinking at night (probably followed by more junk food), and I gained about 25 pounds in four years. The only real activity I had was trekking around a huge university campus and working retail jobs where I moved around for entire shifts. Essentially, I had always eaten like crap and I never really worked out unless it was disguised as something else.

Then I became a grown-up — DUN DUN DUUUUUN.

I got a job sitting at a desk for eight hours a day. It seemed like there was an endless supply of free food — bagels, donuts, pizza, cake. I don’t even LOVE those things, but come on, it’s all free! When it was time to go home, all I did was eat dinner, watch TV and go to bed. Do the math.

Junk Food + No Movement = 35 pounds in 8 months

My  Last Straw Moment

I always thought that, if anything, at least I had a pretty face … and even that was grossing me out in pictures. In April 2007 I went to Mexico with two of my best friends, and although I had an amazing time while I was there, I was utterly disgusted by the pictures we took. I couldn’t even bring myself to look at them, and I hid them away for a year until I needed my before (and NEVER again) picture for this wonderful blog.

I had taken on workout regimens in the past, but I would still eat whatever I wanted. I had done Phase I of the South Beath Diet twice, would lose 15 pounds, return to my regular diet and gain 20 or more.

I weighed nearly 220 pounds, endured perpetual acid reflux for years, and couldn’t bear to live like that any longer. I was well beyond quick fixes — I needed a lifestyle change.

Time to Take Charge

I joined Weight Watchers in May 2008. I soaked up their methods of portion control and moving more. I never looked at my situation as being on a diet because, essentially, you can eat whatever you want! It’s all about moderation. Because I took the program seriously and realized that I was worth it, my health as done a 180 and my lifestyle is forever changed for the better. And I lost more than 70 pounds in the process!

Now I pay attention to portion sizes and eating healthfully most of the time. I’ve learned that I LOVE fruits and vegetables, and I try to incorporate them into every meal. My Weight Watchers leader often said, “You crave what you eat,” and I couldn’t agree more. I never thought I would literally crave a big salad or fresh fruit, but now I do! I’ve also noticed a lot of positive changes in my health since becoming a lacto-ovo vegetarian one year ago. Eating better food helped me lose weight, but, more importantly, I feel wonderful and healthy.

Being active has also been instrumental in my weight loss. I work out at least three days a week. I ran my first official 5K in September 2009 and my second in June 2010. I began kickboxing at a kung-fu studio in January 2010 and LOVE IT! I get a good mix of cardiovascular conditioning and strength training in a fun, energetic class. No matter the exercise, my body feels so much better now that I’m dedicated to moving more.

What’s Next?

I hit my WW goal weight of 149 pounds and became a Lifetime Member in December 2009, but my real-life goal is 10 pounds less. I feel incredible but I know that the low 140s or upper 130s would be better for me. I remain focused on eating well most of the time and being physically active often, so my personal goal weight doesn’t seem so unattainable anymore. It is, however, going to take some dedication on my part, and that’s why I’m here to blog about it while staying accountable to myself and my readers.

If you want to see pictures of my weightloss journey, check out the post I wrote when I had lost 65 pounds. (