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Amanda’s Weight Loss Success

AKA "Amandajh12" lost weight with Weight Loss Resources*

Amanda's Details
Age 40
Height 5' 9"
Start Weight 15st 12lb
Current Weight 12st (range 11st 12lb - 12st 2lb)
Goal Weight 11st 12lb
Weight Lost 4st
Working to Rate of Loss 1lb per week
Time Taken 39 weeks

Amanda October 09: 12st

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I’ve always loved food and until I went to university full time aged 26 my weight was within normal range for my 5’9 height though I was probably verging on the upper limit! After years of nursing and being on my feet all day, I found myself sat in lecture theatres, eating takeaways and drinking alcohol to excess whilst my activity levels dropped to near none existent!

I house shared with a friend who loved food as much as I did so portion sizes were large and dinner was always followed by dessert. I didn’t see that as being unusual as that was always the way it was at home whilst I was growing up! Desserts were an everyday part of a meal and not saved for special treats.

Unfortunately this behaviour continued long after I had finished university and I was living alone and doing a nine-to-five sit-down desk job. Now I was only feeding one, portion sizes increased, moderation went out the window and food became a comfort or a way of relieving the boredom.

In January 2009, I was adamant that I wanted to lose 3st by the time I reached my 40th birthday in August 2009. I signed up to WLR and so began the toughest, but most rewarding journey of my life!

My Dieting History

I’m not sure that I’ve ever really dieted properly. Any weight loss attempt has started on a Monday morning and has finished by Monday evening! Rather than looking at the food I was eating, I would try to add exercise into my daily life as a trade off; the more calories I expended meant that I could consume the same if not more calories! In 2004, reality hit home when I saw myself on film giving a presentation. I had reached 16st 5lbs, and I knew that I would have to now seriously make big lifestyle changes if I didn’t want to get bigger or succumb to ill health and an early death. It was at this time that the Atkins diet was ‘en vogue’ and for me it worked like a dream! As long as I was eating low carb food, I didn’t give a second thought to the amount of calories I was consuming. I didn’t suffer any of the noted side effects, I actually enjoyed the food that was available to me and it worked because by cutting out whole food groups I didn’t end up berating myself about eating something I shouldn’t – if I couldn’t eat something, I simply didn’t buy it! Despite having always worked in healthcare, I didn’t care about the potential damage such a regime could be doing to my body. I lost almost 2.5st in four months.

Whilst the results were great, I wasn’t teaching myself any good habits. Christmas came and I found myself back to my old, if not worse, eating patterns and the weight slowly crept back on over the next couple of years.

I did try low carb dieting again over recent years, but my body didn’t seem to like it and although I still didn’t suffer from side effects, once the first week weight loss due to water was celebrated I didn’t seem to lose anything no matter what I ate or how I adjusted my portion sizes.

How Being Overweight Affected Me

I genuinely believe I was in denial for years! I didn’t see anything wrong with the image that was staring back at me from the mirror. I never hated the way I looked, was always confident and outgoing believing that as I was tall I carried the extra weight well. I was curvaceous and voluptuous, which I believed to be so much more preferable to being a skinny minny! It’s only now looking back at old photos and reading old diaries that I realise that I was a lot bigger than I remembered. I was somewhat unhappy, I didn’t carry the weight well and my clothes were not shapely as I was hiding my body away under baggy layers! I was almost a size 20 which restricted which shops I could buy clothes from and I found myself suddenly realizing that I was fat and frumpy which I really didn’t like!

Motivation To Lose Weight

In January 2009, I weighed 15st 12lbs and with a BMI of 32.8 I was classed as medically obese! With 8 months until my birthday I knew I didn’t want to be fat, frumpy and unfit at 40, and therefore I would have to make radical lifestyle changes. The approaching milestone also made me think about my health and the damage I was doing to my body; I finally realised that the increased risk of diabetes, cancers and heart disease could now seriously impact the length of my life and were really not worth another tub of Ben and Jerry’s!

Having reached my 3st goal one month ahead of schedule I carried on and actually reached 3.5st by the time I turned 40! I relaxed over my birthday celebrations (which seemed to go on for weeks!) and then set myself a new goal, lose whatever weight I had gained and then lose another 7lbs to reach my 4st target ahead of a trip to Las Vegas at the end October 2009. I am happy to say I achieved that goal and treated myself to lots of size 12 jeans in Gap!

WLR

The food diary is now a permanent fixture in my life and always will be! Losing weight is often said to be the easy part (though heaven knows it isn’t!) and that the hardest part is maintaining the new weight. I think it’s important not to be too hard on yourself if one week you gain weight. The body is a mysterious thing and sometimes does whatever it wants despite best intentions! Setting a weight range to maintain is far easier than setting an exact weight. Thanks to WLR I now have a much better attitude to diet and exercise. I can plan my meals in advance and use the message boards for support, encouragement and new ideas. I also finally accept the benefits of exercise. Not just for health and wellbeing but because I still love my food. I can see that in doing an hour at the gym on a Saturday morning I can still eat the ice cream I love so much. I just buy the smaller tubs now as a reward treat.  I have finally learned the importance of moderation and good nutrition but it doesn’t rule my life. I have what I want, when I want, just in much smaller quantities!

WLR worked where other diets had previously failed because this time my mindset was completely different. I was focused about my goal and realised the best way of getting there. I’ve worked towards a realistic goal and I’ve done it slowly and sensibly! I learned a debit/credit system, yes I can eat what I want, I just have to exercise before I allow myself to have it!

Staying Motivated

Weight loss is not easy, but then anything worthwhile never is and boy is there temptation along the way! I think everybody struggles at some point no matter how much the target loss is. I think I realised that there is no quick fix, no magic pill, and faddy diets simply don’t work long-term. Setting a slow, steady weight loss with increased activity is the only way to successfully lose and maintain a healthy weight. After all, the weight gain was slow; it didn’t just suddenly appear over night did it?! Watching the scales register a weight loss every week was incredible motivation but nowhere near as encouraging as feeling tight clothes getting looser and having to go on numerous shopping trips every time I dropped another dress size! Treats around my birthday etc were not seen as a backwards step as I knew that I would be right back on WLR and would lose any small amount of weight I had gained.

I think the turning point for me, and it took a good nine months to reach it, was when I finally saw what everyone else could see. As I reached my 4 stone target, friends and colleagues were warning me that enough was enough; I now had a great shape and shouldn’t push myself any further. It took a long time for my mentality to change and when my brain finally caught up with my body and I saw for the first time what I had achieved I burst into tears! Now, I no longer consider myself to be on a diet, I (try to) eat healthily most of the time and I exercise now because I actually enjoy it, rather than just for the additional calories. I still struggle with moderate portions; tell me, who can honestly only eat one Jaffa Cake instead of the whole packet?! But if my calories are over for one day a week, I know I have the rest of the week to bring them back within my allowance.

Lifestyle Changes

My lifestyle has changed completely. TV and ice cream were how I spent most evenings. But now, I am at the gym at least 3-4 times per week. I regularly buy new clothes (size 12-14) in shops I would never have dreamed of going into a year ago.
My mood has definitely improved. I had a very negative attitude towards a lot of things in my life and at the beginning of the year I was undergoing counselling. The effect of a new positive attitude combined with 4st weight loss, has resulted in me feeling like a completely different woman! Turning 40 has been a cause for celebration and I start a new decade in my life with a very different attitude. I’m happier, healthier and fitter than I’ve ever been and I have no intentions of ever going back to the way I used to be.

For the first four months of my weight loss I did three sessions of aqua aerobics a week. I love it and really want to convince others that they should give it a try. It’s not an easy option, you really do work harder in the water, you just don’t notice it because all your joints and muscles are supported. Once I felt fitter and slimmer I progressed to using the gym. I started Body Combat and Body Pump classes, and that’s when I really started to notice a big difference in my body shape. I still absolutely detest running but I do add some jogging intervals into my uphill power walks on the treadmill! I completed the 5K Race for Life in July and did a 5 mile Moonlight Walk in the Malverns in October.

Overall, I’m now full of energy, have a positive outlook on life and have a new respect for my body though it’s not quite a temple yet!

My Tips

There must be a few things I've learnt over the last year that could make a difference to someone else’s struggle.

Patience – weight loss WILL take time, there’s no magic pill, no quick fix and faddy diets do not work long term. However, WLR might not be to everyone’s liking, it’s important to find out what works for you as an individual. It’s also about not giving in at the first small hurdle. The body is a law unto itself and some weeks it decides to hold onto what it’s got, but just sticking with the program WILL yield results. Concentrate on the successes you’ve already had rather than thinking about the long slog ahead to reach that target.

Targets - don’t be afraid to change your target. Maybe setting a loss of 2lbs per week is too extreme, make the goals realistic and you’ll be far more likely to succeed with your weight loss in the long-term and isn’t that really what it’s all about? It’s not about fitting into a bikini for a holiday, or a special occasion, it’s about being fit, healthy and having body confidence for the rest of your life!

Rewards - losses, no matter how small, should be seen as a positive personal achievement! Even if it’s just a nice bath or a new lipstick you’ve earned it so enjoy it!

Amanda's Vital Statistics

  Jan 09 Dec 09
Weight 15st 12lb 12st
BMI 32.8 24.8

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* Note: The success stories published on Weight Loss Resources are written by WLR members, past and present, telling their own stories in their own words. As you will see if you read more than one or two of them, everyone's story is different and they have reached their success from a variety of starting points and lost weight at varying rates. Individual results may vary.

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Like Amanda, you could achieve fantastic weight loss with the help of WLR. Set a weight loss goal and see how many calories you need to get there. Try it free for 24 hours.

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