Ready to Talk: My Story of Obesity

That was me. Just over two years ago (May 2009) and over 110 pounds ago. This is such a hard, emotionally raw topic for me that I’ve written dozens of posts about it over the past year and discarded them all. But I really want to start sharing my story as I begin work on my newest project – a low-cal, full-flavor cookbook (which I haven’t gone so far as to look for a publisher yet but imma get on that part real soon). ;)

I’ll share a little background with you… by sixth grade I was 180 lbs. By 18 I was pushing 200. By 29 I was 265 (ish… that was the last time I stepped on a scale months before I started losing weight. Probably a little higher than that in reality but I wasn’t able to face it.) I’ve been “overweight” or “obese” the majority of my life. As a kid, my mom always said “oh the allergy shots you had at 7 years old made you gain weight” but lets face it, eating large portions of unhealthy food mixed with a lack of exercise are what really made me gain weight and continue my upward course. It’s so. Effing. Hard to change your habits, regardless of what they are – eating, drinking, smoking, exercise, etc. It’s so easy to say, whatever, I’m fat, this sucks, there’s no end in sight. No way to imagine how to shed 100+ lbs. Shit, it’s hard to even own up to the fact that you need to lose 100+lbs. Nobody starts off life at 265lbs, but over the years somehow you just wake up one day and it’s gotten to that point. And you don’t like looking in the mirror. And you don’t like stepping on the scale. And you can’t stand photos of yourself or, god forbid, video.

fat amanda before picture
Me, also from July 2009, on a trip Tyler and I took to Chicago.

Having been overweight for nearly all of the first 30 years of my life, I know exactly how people treat you. In grade school you get called names like “thunder thighs” or the likes there of (that one still echos clearly in my mind), as you get older people just stop looking you in the eyes. Everyone makes judgments or assumptions on the type of person you must be to have “let yourself” get to that point. I even had a local vendor at the Ocean Beach farmer’s market say to me “Yeah, you should definitely eat some more [grapefruit] and lay off the french fries” as I went to sniff the citrus at his stand. Another time when I was a personal chef in Rancho Santa Fe, I went to buy some beef jerky for the family I was working for and asked a store clerk for help finding it. He took me to the tofu jerky section, aisles away from the actual beef jerky section, and said, “I think this would be better for your needs”. Really? Do you know my needs? Because I “needs” to keep my freaking job and buy beef jerky for my client. Don’t assume, people. (Sorry, 2+ years later, it’s still as raw as if it had happened yesterday.) If you’re overweight, or have ever been overweight, you have undoubtedly shared similar experiences. It sucks. People are mean. I, personally, consider myself a judgment-free zone. (If you know me, this is a phrase you are well-familiar with.) In all situations, not just regarding weight, I try not to judge other peoples actions, choices or lifestyles. Nobody knows what life situations anyone else has been through to evolve and shape them into what/who they are today. Just be nice and treat people with respect and love.

So, August of 2009 my two best friends from high school came to visit with their significant others. My friend Cristin’s husband happens to be obsessed with video documenting all aspects of their life (which I love/hate). We were on the beach and he, unbeknownst to me, took video footage of the day. Later that evening he plugged his camera up to our TV and started playing the recording. There I was, 265+ lbs, IN A BATHING SUIT ON A BIG SCREEN TV!!! I was mortified. It took all of my self-control not to run into the bathroom and start bawling. It’s one thing when you never have to see yourself and avoid mirrors, it’s another when your moving, breathing image, in a damn bathing suit, gets slapped up onto a big screen. No way to avoid the truth.

Just a couple of weeks before my friend, Nicole, had started the Couch to 5K program – a jogging program that lasts for 9 weeks and starts off with you jogging for 60 second intervals at a time and works you up to jogging for 30 minutes straight (or 5K) by the end of the program. Though I had always said I would never be a jogger, I begrudgingly started the program alongside her. Not gonna lie – in the beginning I didn’t even know if I was going to make it through the entire 60 seconds of jogging. But each week I continued to surprise myself and was able to succeed at increasing the length of the intervals on schedule with the program, though some weeks that meant pushing myself more than others. About half way through, the flip switched in my head. You know what? I can do this. And that’s the thing! It’s all in our freaking heads! When your inner dialogue is filled with “I can’t run for 5 minutes” “I can’t say no to that slice of pizza” “there is no way I’m ever going to shed 100 lbs” “I’m fat, I’m ugly, even I don’t want to look at me, how can anyone else” all of these negative thoughts just constantly circling over and over and over, yeah – you know what? YOU NEVER WILL BE ABLE TO MAKE ANY CHANGES. You have to believe in your ability to do it first. It’s going from having an “I can’t attitude” to an “I can” that allows change to happen. Seriously – I truly believe that anyone can do anything if they really put their mind to it and STICK WITH IT! No, nothing will change overnight. It’s thought patterns that have allowed us to reach the weight that we’re at and it’s thought patterns that will similarly allow you to make healthy changes in your lifestyle. That’s the problem with weight-loss surgery as a “solution” and why such a high proportion of people who have it continue to struggle with their weight even afterward. The real problems come from our relationship with food and why, for whatever personal reasons, we over eat.

fat amanda before photo
September 2009, about a month after starting the Couch to 5K program.

Personal reasons aside, weight-loss happens when you burn more calories then you are consuming. That means that a) you should be aware of absolutely everything that you eat and b) you should be aware of how much you are burning! There are some really great online tools these days that allow you to do this super easily and quickly. The one that I’ve been using for the past couple of years is The Daily Plate (which livestrong.com eventually picked up). You put in your height, weight, age, gender, etc, and then tell it how active you are and what your weight-loss goals are and it tells you how many calories per day you can eat an still achieve your goals. BUT BE HONEST! By claiming to a machine that you worked out more than you did, move more in your day to day life, or don’t record your honest caloric in-take, the only person you are cheating (and trying to fool) is yourself! I, personally, didn’t share (and still don’t) my account with anyone. I find it easier to be upfront with my slip-ups when it’s only my eyes that see what I’ve eaten. Hiding what I’d eaten is part of what got me to 265 in the first place. Having an honest relationship with myself about the amount of food I am honestly consuming has allowed me to continue eating bacon every day, or a serving of insanely rich mac & cheese or devilishly delicious peanut butter mousse brownie pie and still continue on a downward track from 265 to 153 over the past two years. Shit, I wrote and ate a cookbook on food porn after I started my weight-loss journey. ;) Yes, some days I eat more than what the calorie counter says I should (hello football game days!), but I don’t hate myself for it and I don’t give up! I just log it in, sigh, then try to do better the next day… and the next day… and the next day.

Also – one thing that I really want to touch on before I move on is the importance of not making unrealistic goals! Sure on reality tv shows where you have a trainer whipping your ass 6 days a week, no job to focus on or kids/spouse’s mouths to feed it’s possible to lose 8 or 10 lbs in a week. That’s an insane and unrealistic goal in the real world. From the beginning, I never set goals of more than 2 lbs a week. Two pounds is an attainable goal for someone with a significant amount of weight to lose. When you set a goal that you can actually reach, you can accomplish it, feel great about it and set a goal for the next week. If you set unattainable goals you are just going to reinforce that “I can’t” attitude as opposed to reprogramming your brain into an “I can” state of mind.

Amanda Simpson, January 2011
Taken on my first vacation to my new home, Rincon, January 2011

So why am I now, after two years on this journey, sharing my story with you guys? Well, I’m finally getting comfortable with my new self, and trust that I am not going to return to my old way of life. I mean, I spent nearly 30 years obese. I was really scared for a long time that I would be just another statistic and revert back to my old habits. After two years of building positive habits I no longer have that fear. I believe in myself and my ability to maintain control of my life and eating habits. But more importantly, food is what I love. It’s what I live for. Beyond that, it’s my livelihood. I run two websites dedicated to food and write cookbooks. I’ve always wanted to spend my life doing something to help others and right now, I feel like I have a great opportunity. I know that I have a low-cal cookbook in me that will show that getting healthy doesn’t mean you have to give up things like bacon or cheese or chocolate. It just means learning correct portion sizes, feeding your metabolism regularly and moving a little.

Amanda Simpson, September 2011
Less than a month ago – after we cristened our new-to-us Puerto Rico car with stickers. Dang it, Rincon! ;)

Yes, I will continue to post desserts and high calorie content foods on this site, because true to my life, I will continue to make and eat them. But I’ll do so along side of healthy, delicious recipes. I hope you guys will continue along this journey with me. I have about twenty more pounds until I reach my goal weight, and these last twenty are the hardest. Let’s all be accountabilibuddies, through the good, the bad, the mac & cheeses and the bean & corn salads. If anybody needs support, I’m here. If you’re just beginning your journey and need an ear or want to chat, not in a public forum feel free to email me rather than comment below. (My email is at the bottom of the about page!) Or, alternately, let’s start a community of support. We all need someone to give us a push when we aren’t feeling it, or uplift us when our inner dialogue is weighing us down!

Baked Tilapia, Black Bean and Corn Salad and Salsa Verde

Eating healthy can be EFFING delicious.

You know I couldn’t do this post without sharing a healthy recipe, right? The super flavorful baked spiced tilapia filets with black bean and corn salad & tangy fresh tomatillo salsa verde below serves four and rings in at 373 calories per serving! So good it’ll make you wanna slap yo’ mama but so healthy that you won’t feel guilty about cleaning your plate. (Now you might feel guilty about slapping yo’ mama, but that’s a whole different story!) ;)

A Low Cal Recipe, by Amanda
Spicy Baked Tilapia with Black Bean and Corn Salad and Salsa Verde

For the Salsa Verde:
6 medium tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed and roughly chopped
1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled & roughly chopped
1/2 - 1 1/2 jalapenos, stem removed, roughly chopped (vary depending on how spicy you like it)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro
juice from 1/2 fresh lime
3 tbsp water
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus extra
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, plus extra

For the salad:
3 large ears sweet corn
1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1 large clove garlic, peeled & minced
1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled & chopped
1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 medium red bell pepper, stem & seeds removed, chopped
1/4 head red cabbage, core removed & finely shredded
juice from 1 lime
1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, plus extra
3/4 tsp kosher salt, plus extra

For the fish:
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 (4oz) tilapia filets
1 tsp canola oil

Make the salsa:
Place all ingredients for the salsa into a blender. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Refrigerate until ready to eat, up to 72 hours.

Make the salad:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil corn for 3 minutes. Remove from water and run under water until luke warm. Cut kernels off cobs and place in a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients for the salad into the mixing bowl with the corn kernels. Stir until ingredients are evening dispersed. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired with more kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to marry. Before serving, toss to coat with juices and taste once more. Adjust seasonings as desired.

Make the fish:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix together first six ingredients for the fish in a small bowl. Place tilapia on a sheet pan and drizzle filets with oil. Toss to coat evenly with oil. Season each filet evenly with 1/4 of the spice mix. Bake at 450 degrees until fish is just cooked through, about 7 to 9 minutes.

To plate:
Spoon 1/4 of salad onto a plate. Place a fish filet on top of the salad then spoon salsa over the fish and around the plate. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Servings: 4
Calories per serving: 373
Total cooking time: about 1 hour

130 comments so far:

  1. Genie says:

    This post? Made me all teary-eyed. I’m *so* proud of you for all you’ve accomplished, and so inspired by you, too. Here’s to the inevitable cookbook deal, because your supportive, thoughtful approach to all this NEEDS to be published. Plus, I want to try those recipes. :-)

  2. Kelly Orange says:

    You are an EFFING inspiration. ;)

  3. You are amazing and inspirational xoxo

  4. You’re an inspiring, beautiful amazing woman. Can’t wait till your next cook book. Watch out, I know it’s gonna be fierce. :)

  5. mick says:

    Well done – hugs and warm feelings your way!

  6. Alice Robertson says:

    You are so inspiring, Amanda! You are a beautiful person at any weight – always were & always will be, but I am so happy & proud for you that you were able to achieve your goals! Can’t wait for our next Kebab Shop lunch! :)

  7. Bron says:

    Absolutely agree with what Alice said above… you always been a beautiful girl. I’m so happy you are happy and achieving your goals, hell I’m just so HAPPY to know you! Much much love xoxoxo

  8. Stephen says:

    Congratulations, you look amazing!

  9. Tari Pie says:

    Dammit, Amanda! You made me cry at my desk at work :-( Seriously, I didn’t know you could make me adore you more. You are an inspiration. I actually have about 30 pounds to reach my ideal weight. I would love to battle it out together!

  10. Phillip says:

    Yay, Amanda!

    I know how hard this must have been to publish. It’s all downhill from here! Nice work. :-)

  11. My goodness, what a beautiful post! Like any woman, I worry about my weight and recently saw a number on the scale that scared me to death. (And yes, a few recent photos too.) And so, I’ve taken up the habit of running 4 miles 3x a week, which is helping. I’ve also been using the Lose It! iPhone app which is great.

    Thanks for the pep talk. I’ve bookmarked this post so I can return for more inspiration. Sending you lots of low-calorie sister love.

  12. Ellie says:

    I’ve never been in good shape. I’ve been trying to talk myself into the Couch to 5k plan for over a year now. I even have a friend who made mp3s with fun music and prompts telling you when to walk and when to run, but I just couldn’t talk myself into doing it.

    I only found your blog about a week ago. When I added it into my RSS feeds (mostly because of that sinful sundried tomato, 3 cheese and bacon macaroni, oh my) I shook my head and said “Well there’s another 5 pounds I’m going to gain”. And then you posted this. Now, I’m finally downloading those mp3s.

  13. I’m so glad I got to meet you and share some of the things you wrote today, in person, before reading this post. I can relate to you in so many ways, and I’m really glad we’re both at similar points in our journey now so we can reinforce / encourage / celebrate together! :)

  14. Nicole says:

    And to think, you’re the one who said you’d never be able to jog and flat out refused to try the C25K at first. Now you run circles around me :-)

    So glad you finally published this post. I still have 20-30 pounds to lose myself (I’ll let my body decide the exact number) and I’m once again going to start jogging and going to the gym. I need my accountabilibuddy!

  15. Amy says:

    You are amazing! Thank you for sharing. I need to get my rump in gear.

  16. Karina says:

    Inspiring- and dang you look gorgeous- I mean- healthy. Strong. Sassy. Go!

  17. Sarah says:

    I don’t know you and have never read your blog. But wow, am I glad that I stumbled upon it today. Your writing is so honest, so plainly written, so clearly not about getting yourself off but really about sharing your experiences with others. This touched me deeply. Mazel tov on your weight loss, your lovely blog and-from what i can gather-being a really intelligent and kind person. I’m a new reader for SURE!

  18. Rachel says:

    Oh my goodness. Your before and after pictures gave me chills. You look gorgeous! Rock on with your bad self.

  19. Kalyn says:

    Amanda, what an inspiring post and a fantastic looking recipe!

  20. I absolutely loved this post. And, the food looks amazing!

  21. Holy effing inspirational post Batman.

    I know exactly what you mean when you say it’s almost as hard to admit how much weight you have to lose as it is to lose it. I’m still struggling with that part right now :\

  22. Austinmamadrama says:

    You are wonderful! Congrats and keep it up. Love the fish recipe.

  23. paula costa says:

    Very proud of you! I would love to be in a group with you! How cool is this blog,as I sit here wishing I could do what you have done!…oh wait a sec.,I can!!! Well done!! : )

  24. You are beautiful.
    You are inspirational.
    You are EFFING awesome.

    I love that you shared your story. I always want to write about this shit, but it’s just so much to bare. I’m so SO happy you have been successful in your journey. I’m one of those who has been there and back and there and back and need to get there again. You really can do this sort of thing while writing a cookbook??? HOW??

    Love ya, my friend :)

  25. fantastic post and fantastic inspiration, you have just remotivated me – 25 1/2 lbs down on the journey so far! You look amazing!

  26. You completely inspire me. What a fantastic post and you look so amazingly happy. The joy is emitted through your eyes – so I bet it’s hard for anyone to not look into them now. Fantastic and thank you for sharing!!

    Heather

  27. Darlene says:

    Thank you, Amanda for your honest and inspiring post!

  28. What a amazing, personal story you shared. A big congratulations on all your success.

  29. Jay says:

    Accountabilibuddy…..perfect. As is this post. I’m all teary-eyed as I confront beginning my own journey down this road, knowing that it’s been done, and documented, by someone else who’s lived to tell the tale. Thank you so for sharing your experience. I am inspired and am taking the first steps today. Thank you. Really.

  30. Lan says:

    Seriously inspiring!!!

  31. Lia Moran says:

    I hope the name of your upcoming book is “Effing Delicious”.

    Congratulations on all the hard work! You are stunning! And you can cook, to boot!

  32. Cookie Rodriguez says:

    You look amazing and will only get better, not to mention a nice lady Jenny and I are happy to have met. Looking fwd to getting together.

  33. kellypea says:

    Good timing on this one — I just sat down after a long walk — the first I’ve gotten off my butt to do in a very long time. I can hear your conviction loud and clear, Amanda, AND I believe this is the best way to lose weight. No gimmicks, no nonsense. Knowing what to eat, how much, and best — how to prepare it. I love your spirit and would love even more to see your cookbook :) My butt thanks you ahead of time.

  34. Fabiola says:

    OMGoodness!
    YOU are EFFING AWESOME!
    seriously.

  35. lainie says:

    thank you for sharing this. . .it was posted by someone I follow on twitter. I am a pastry chef who has struggled for years with obesity and have been on a year-plus long journey to lose over 150 lbs. . .I sometimes think it will be impossible but seeing this makes me realize that even though food is my life, I can lose weight and still love food and myself at the same time. THANK YOU for your courage to post this and share your experience. I am 85 lbs. down so far and this post just made me realize I can do this.

  36. Can I just say, you are such a beautiful person for sharing this. And you look amazing! You were pretty before, but the difference in your before and after pics is an obvious change in your confidence! And hello! I wish I had your gorgeous curly hair! Mine is merely wavy/frizzy. *sigh*

    I recognize the change because I went through it too. I recently had my own 70lb weight loss journey that I got through the same way you did – a change in habits for diet and exercise. And I arrived at the same conclusion! Cutting out carbs or wiring my jaw shut for a week isn’t going to make me happy with my body. It was all about teaching myself how to live the right way. It was a long journey, but now I exercise everyday and I cook and bake as much of my own foods as I can. I am mindful of the foods I eat and the enjoyment I get from them.

    And in a lot of ways I eat more decadently than I ever did before! Like you say, I just learned the right way to eat it. I used to never eat dessert…except when I’d eat a slice of motherload cake at Claim Jumper (that thing is OVER 2000 calories!!!). Now I eat dessert every day. Always something home made. Always just a little. People ask how I can eat so much dessert and still look good. I say, first off, I eat really healthy so I can make room in my diet for dessert, and second, I exercise more so I can eat more! If I didn’t eat dessert, I could cut a mile off my morning run. But I don’t mind the running, and I love chocolate! That’s just what works for me.

    And really what made the difference was cooking at home! I can control the ingredients in my food. Instead of butter and cream and lard I can make foods taste good with chiles (LOTS of chiles!), beer, wine, herbs, spices. And you can even taste foods better without all the fat to mute them. But like you say, I still eat bacon. Heck, I just made mac & cheese last night with chicken fat. But also mixed in roasted chicken and sweet potatoes, so it was a little more balanced. Then I took a very small portion, and served it over a heaping mound of roasted broccoli. Because I’m pretty sure the secret to healthy eating is roasted broccoli. I eat it like candy.

    I LOVE your idea for your cookbook! I am a firm believer that foods shouldn’t be classed as healthy or unhealthy, but rather we should take stock of how balanced our daily food/meals are and eat accordingly. I am a fountain of ideas and I could talk food with anyone all the live-long day! I hope you’ll shoot me an email if you ever need a sounding board. :)

  37. Barbara says:

    You GO girl!!! I did not know this aspect about your life, but I am so glad you shared it. I know how hard it must have been to do so, but I bet you are happy now that you did it! You are a fun foodie, and it is nice to hear that great food can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle. CONGRATS Amanda…….

  38. PS: As someone who’s tried to collapse a few years worth of weight-loss/healthy living strategy into blog posts before, can I just say yours was refreshingly succinct! I have a hard time boiling it down (as you can see from my novel above). There’s just so much to say on the subject! Your story is one that I think a lot of people share. I appreciate you telling it so well. :)

  39. Tickled Red says:

    You are awesome, inspirational and down right rock!
    I love that you shared your story with us and I can’t wait for your cookbook, so hurry on that would ya :) PS: I’m stinkin’ jealous that you live in PR but the next time we’re down there on a surf trip I’m giving you a shout.

  40. Amazing work. You look healthy and gorgeous. I lost 100 lbs this year as well, but in quite a different manner. So glad to have found your site. :)

  41. Liz Vadset-Olver says:

    You are beautiful now and you were beautiful before your weight loss. People suck sometimes, especially when they are horrible and call us those names without realizing how much they hurt. I’ve lost 120 lbs in the past 12 yrs, 60 of those in the past 6 months. I want to lose 50 more. It’s very hard to do, as hard as beating booze or crack. Maybe even harder because we all have to eat! :) Best of everything to you, much aloha.

  42. pam anderson says:

    Hey sister,

    Didn’t realize you hadn’t written about your weight loss journey until now. I’m glad you’ve gotten clarity about it.

    It’s a gift to us all–because we’re all on the journey. Some of us need encouragement. Some of us just need a reminder. Either way it’s powerful stuff we all identify with.

    Loved the pictures because I’ve only known the last-year you. (Has it really only been a year?) I feel like I know you more fully now and that’s good.

    I look forward to hearing more of your story and eying and eating more of your good food.

    Big, big sister hugs, Pam

  43. peabody says:

    I agree with Bron and Alison…you are a lovely person at any weight. I am one that truly believes that.
    But if you are happier at the weight you are now and you are still eating things you love than that is more than fantastic!!!

  44. oh woman i just love you even more.
    very proud of you darling.
    can’t wait to come see you and tish.
    love love love!

  45. Caron Golden says:

    Amanda, you’re doing what I’m still toying with. You’ve written a brave and bold — not to mention inspiring — piece about what it’s like to be obese and the joy in finding a way out of it. You look beautiful and seem so happy. I’m about halfway through my journey and so much has changed for me already. It’s a story all of us who have been moving to healthy need to share. Good for you!!!

    XO,Caron

  46. Yuri - Chef Pandita says:

    Wow you are an inspiration! I had a chubby phase during my teenage years and I refuse to talk about it… Threw away most of the pics from that time of my life. So brave of you to talk about this :) can’t wait for your book!

  47. Sarah Pace Altizer says:

    Amanda! I’m so amazed with your story! You look absolutely amazing and I’m so proud to know you! God has given you a gift of writing and having compassion for others. You are truly inspirational. And some of the stuff people said are so shocking. I’m sorry you had to go through all of that. But its incredible when the Lord can use our long time hardships and turn them into help and compassion for others. You are awesome! Love ya girl! Stay strong!!

  48. ani says:

    I’m a total stranger just wanna say: you rock.

  49. My old friend, Caron, recommended your post on Facebook, and I’m so glad I read it. Your experiences are profound and inspiring. What a lot of people don’t think about is that an addict or an alcoholic can just STOP using drugs or alcohol (easier said than done, but possible). However, an obese person still has to eat! The fact that food is your passion and your profession must make it even more challenging. Congratulations on everything you have accomplished!!

  50. What a wonderful and inspiring story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  51. leena! says:

    1. thanks for being brave and sharing your story with us. I know it could not have been easy, but I’m proud to think of how many people you words will help.

    2. I am so sorry that you’ve had to deal with insensitive people over the years making rude ass comments about your weight. It broke my heart, and at the same time, reminded me of my own life. I know what its like to have random strangers make bitchy remarks about who you are (mine were more of the dot-head joke variety, but it stung just the same). Why people assume they have a right to put another person down about their life evades me, and makes me want to find all those people and punch them in the face.

    3. When I first met you in Chicago in 2009, I honestly saw a kick-ass person, inside and out. I am so proud of your weight loss, but to me, as long as you are happy and healthy, it doesn’t matter what size you are.

    4. Can we talk about how hot you are? Because seriously, hot damn, girl. HOT DAMN.

    5. I’m just starting to work on the last of my baby weight (20 pounds to go, baby!), so I seriously appreciate the mix of healthy recipes (while still rocking the fatty stuff too). I’ll be working out with you, and I can’t wait for your next lo-cal cookbook!

    6.The summary of this post, to me, is that you are one tenacious bitch. Love you, lady.

  52. Jaime says:

    Leena – than you SO much for sharing this story on Facebook.

    Amanda – I do not know you, but I know you are awesome! Congrats on your accomplishment and thank you for inspiring others (me) through your journey!

  53. NettieMoore says:

    Your story is unbelievably wonderful. Thank you for having the courage to tell it and be such an inspiration! I am so proud of you. Can’t wait to see your next recipes. I am a new food blogger and I am learning so much everyday. Come by and visit when you get a chance!

    Moore or Less Cooking

    http://cookingwithnettie.blogspot.com

    Nettie

  54. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for sharing! I too have been practicing the art of weight loss for almost 31 years. My daughter will be 31 in November. I set a goal on no particular day this past May to lose 100 pounds by my 50th birthday which is April 2012. I weighed 250 in May. I’m 5’3.5. I was wearing size 22. In almost 5 months I’ve lost 46 pounds…I swear by myfitnesspal.com. I haven’t missed a day in 131 days. I started exercising 6 weeks ago and am about to run my 3rd 5k. I don’t run the whole thing but I complete it. I also made a page on my FB for my FFF support group. (Fat Free by Fifty). I have made my self accountable to some family, close friends and co-workers. This has helped me so much.
    I love reading similar stories like mine! Again, thank you for sharing and I wish you continued success!!!

  55. Lori says:

    I am just starting on my weight loss journey and appreciate you sharing your story. Thanks!

  56. Kasey Bowles St.Clair says:

    Amanda,
    Suzanne Barnes directed me to your blog! I love it!! You look so amazing and I am so happy for you!! I am also excited to try your recipes!!! thanks for sharing your story!! congrats!!

  57. Mollie says:

    You are an inspiration — thank you!

  58. Jamie says:

    Thanks for sharing and congrats on your success! I’m weighing in at 233 or so these days and feel the same way about seeing myself in photos and video. I’m curious how you managed the couch to 5k program. I tried it a month or so ago and had crazy shin pain and leg stiffnessthat led me to quit after three attempts. Did you experience any of that? How did you get past it? Sheer will power? A magic cocktail of ice packs, hot soaks and ibuprofen?

  59. Amanda says:

    i’m going to reply to everyone tomorrow, but really quickly! jamie – i would guess that you are trying to run too quickly! when i started by walking pace was 3 miles an hour and my jogging pace was 4 mph. if that still proves too much then slow it down even further! also, make sure you warm up, stretch and cool down then stretch again! i did have a little bit of shin pain in the beginning but then i realized i was trying to run too fast and slowed it down. (think the first week i tried to do like 4.5mph for my run.) it doesn’t get you anywhere to injure yourself or over train! slow and steady wins the race! :)

  60. Barbara says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I could relate totally to a lot of what you said. I just recently started a beginner’s running program and it’s helping me with my own weight loss journey. I have had a bad week and you’re post has helped me get my mind and motivation back on track. Thank you, thank you, and thank YOU!

  61. Dodi says:

    Wow! I love reading your story–very inspirational. I have lost 60 pounds in the last year, and need to lose about 7more. It’s coming off really slowly now. I sorta did Couch to 5K. I just read a book, Run Your Butt Off, which is the same concept. I think it’s more gradual and helpful overall. You can see it at the Runner’s World website. This recipe looks delicious & I can’t wait to try it!

  62. Diana says:

    You’re an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story. I’m working on losing my post-baby weight, and have been feeling stagnant…Not anymore! Thank you, thank you!

  63. Laura says:

    I came here through Nicole, and I wanted to let you know that you look amazing! Your smile is worth thousand words. Congratulations for this amazing new you! Now I go to read more of your posts.

  64. Jennifer says:

    You’re so inspiring. Really. I have been overweight almost my whole life, and seeing the kind of change you made, it’s just made me want that too.

  65. Lauren Keister Surface says:

    Hi Amanda! Saw where other friends posted about your blog on facebook. Very inspiring!! I started Weight Watchers back in May and have lost 26 pounds and feel wonderful but still have more I’d like to lose. The last few pounds are the hardest. I needed to read this inspiring story to help me get to my goal. Thanks so much for posting this, and keep up the good work. Can’t wait to try your recipes!!

  66. First of all, find a publisher for your cookbook already so we can all buy it!

    Second of all, this post has me simultaneously in tears and beaming from ear to ear. How candid, brave, and generous of you to share your story, and to inspire other people not just to go from couch to 5k (awesome, by the way!), but also just to learn to love themselves, and to see that becoming healthy doesn’t mean giving up “fun” or eating rabbit food for the rest of your days.

    It means embracing life and taking it in your hands, rather than letting it push you around and batter you day in and day out.

    You have a beautiful spirit (it shines through in all your posts), a wonderful way with words, and a megawatt smile to match. Congratulations on all your success so far, and seriously — let us all know about that cook book!!

  67. Wenderly says:

    AMEN sister. Beautifully written. So poignant. I’ve been working out again since BSP2 (after seeing the pics of myself). Last years stresses had definitely caught up with me. The weight is slowly falling off and I feel great. I love your honesty…anything worth working for has to begin with honesty doesn’t it? It is the foundation for all change. Cheers to staring “I can’t” in the face with “I CAN”!

    So excited for the new cookbook love!

  68. Jenny Flake says:

    What?! I had no idea girl, you are so gorgeous inside and out. What an amazing story. Thanks for sharing. xoxoxox

  69. Wow. I’ve read your post twice and I was just as blown away the second time as I was the first.

    I cannot count the number of times I’ve started – and stopped – the C-2-5K program in the last 5 years. What I learned from your inspiring post is the reason I continued to stop is because my goals were unreasonable. At age 60, when I first started, I expected myself to be able to move from week to week easily, without repeating a week. That didn’t happen for me. It was during those weeks that I had to repeat that I quit because I was listening to the old scripts in my head – “You’re too old. You’ll never be able to do this. Why even try.”

    It’s time to try again, but this time knowing it’s going to take time and patience and persistence to succeed. Thank you so much.

  70. Cheila says:

    What a great post! I’ve also struggled with weight loss, who hasn’t!? I love it that you shared your story. I could identify with so many things you wrote and I love the community of support idea. It IS so hard to change your habits! thanks for the motivating post.

  71. Oh my- what a change in your posture/confidence and smile in the before and after pictures. Even though I’m a complete stranger- well done and I couldn’t smile any bigger right now.

  72. Fuji Mama says:

    This is inspiring on so many levels! Thank you for so candidly sharing your experience. May we all take a bit more responsibility for our own personal health. YOU GO GIRL!

  73. Melissa A. says:

    I could have written every word of this (not as well, but the emotion is something I’ve experienced a long, long time). I’ve got over 100 pounds to lose and I’m feeling so unmotivated. I’m still trying to shake my thyroidectomy funk, a whole year later, and I’m in a rut. Thanks for sharing your story, gives me hope.

  74. I just love you. No matter what size or shape, you are brilliant and funny and wonderful. And I’m way proud of you.

  75. Alyssa says:

    Thank you for the courage to share your inspiring story. I don’t think it is a life worth living if I have to completely banish certain “bad” foods from my diet (never mind that my pescetarian diet choice already does that…). I’ve been trying to lose the same 20 pounds for the last 8 years. I’ve decided that I can be satisfied with moderate portions of my favorite unhealthy foods and I am already seeing some progress with this decision.

  76. brainella says:

    Wow. To say I feel your pain is putting it mildy. I’ve been heavy since I was a kid. You inspire me.

  77. Sherri says:

    You are a rock star!
    Well done on all your determination and hard work. keep it up and I’m looking forward to following along.

  78. jeannette says:

    you are amazing. and i’m glad that i stopped by and read this. i think it’s giving me the kick in the pants that i need to get back on track. i’m battling (and have battled for most of my life) extra weight that i can’t find the strength to lose. but i think i’m ready. wish me luck!! thank you SO much for sharing. it’s nice to know that i’m not the only one who mentally beat themselves up, that we aren’t alone in our self-improvement battles, that there is help and there are resources and support, and most importantly that we can eat some cake and still lose weight… all in moderation :)

  79. Bianca says:

    Wow. I wanted to cry while reading this. I feel like our brains are somehow meshed together lol! It’s good to FEEL that I’m not alone, and good to SEE that my goals are not unattainable. I’ve been fighting the inner commentary for the past month. went from 222 to 206 in 2 months and stopped. I haven’t been able to get back on the horse since a vacation we took in september. I feel helpless, and counting calories/planning meals is just so time consuming! It’s like “now I have to fit MORE in my day??” All I have is a Betty Crocker Cook book, I WILL MOST DEFINATELY buy your low calorie cook book one day. All I can say to you, is Thank you. Thank you for being you and sharing you with people like me who need this

  80. NerdMom says:

    Your before and I look a lot alike! I am trying to start the journey you appear to be ending and you are an inspiration!!! I also have been heavy my whole life, some my fault and some not. I hope to overcome!

    I don’t believe in all the “diet” foods so it is nice to see someone who has actually done it with real food!!!

    I am a complete noob here and look forward to reading more and maybe meeting you at BlogHer next year!!!

  81. Carolyn says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your inspirational story. Congratulations on your success!

  82. Debbi says:

    I’m twice your age, and have been trying to lose weight all my life. I got to a reasonable weight 15 years ago and it’s been up, up, up ever since. I’ve never read your blog before, but will be adding you to my Reader to help cheer you on and to hopefully get a little support from you, as well. It’s so great to see someone so young tackle this issue and succeed as you have. I pray you don’t follow my example and play the lose/gain/lose/gain game until it’s too late.

    The thing is, I’ve never thought it was too late. I’m always trying something, nothing outlandish or faddish, but trying to find what works for me. Maybe this time will be the last time … for both of us!

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  83. Inspirational story! Way to go! You’re beautiful! xo

  84. goblinbox says:

    Overweight and obesity is not a mental problem, it’s a metabolic problem. Solving it with will-power is not necessary. People aren’t fat because they suffer from the sins of sloth and gluttony, they’re fat because the largest parts of their diet are refined carbohydrates, which metabolize into sugar and cause unsupportably high insulin spikes, which eventually cause metabolic disorder and then insulin resistance, and then a host of other diseases, like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. The overweight and obese are not inherently weak or slovenly, they’re simply more suseptible to these metabolic conditions and gain more weight faster. It’s metabolism, not a spiritual shortcoming. It’s important to realize that lean people aren’t lean because they exercise, they exercise because they’re lean: they are more apt to want to move to burn off excess blood sugar. Which they need to do, since studies show that the lean tend to eat more calories than the obese. To lose weight, one need not exercise and count calories, one need only to avoid the foods that cause metabolic chaos: white flour, sugar, white rice, potatoes, and high fructose corn sweetener. (Which is why your recipe is brilliant: it has protein and fresh veggies and utterly avoids refined carbohydrates!) When nutritionally useless foods are omitted from the diet, blood sugar spikes and insulin spikes are avoided, and, presupposing no serious underlying metabolic disorders, the body naturally burns off the excess adipose tissue on its own. In this way, one can lose weight without hunger, without calorie-counting, and without exercise (although exercise for its own sake is desired, of course, especially in women, for strong bones). I want so much for people suffering from overweight and obesity and heart-breaking feelings of laziness and gluttony to realize that there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with them; they’re not lazy and they’re not weak of spirit. The problem is understood scientifically and is simply a function of metabolism. People don’t need to struggle and suffer for weight loss, they just need to learn which foods to avoid to keep blood sugar level. Weight loss doesn’t have to be privation and discipline and an iron will; you can eat brie and drink wine! You just shouldn’t have bread or baked potatoes or gravy or ketchup, because those foods are the metabolic equivalent of candy. Congrats on your amazing transformation! You’re an inspiration!
    - Source: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/foods/grains/gigl.html

  85. Junebug says:

    Thanks for sharing! It is really hard but it is great to know it can be done. Great job!

  86. Susan says:

    You are such an inspiration. I am just beginning a journey to lose 60 pounds. At almost 53 years of age and feeling every bit of it, I know I need to really get on the band wagon and get the weight off. BUT, I LOVE food! I do not like to exercise but know that I somehow need to find it in me to get out of the house and do something. How nice would it be to have an email support group of like minded women who are starting, in the middle or near the end of their journey to encourage each other. You mentioned that your email address was listed, but I could not find it. Thanks for inspiring me tonight!

  87. Teary eyed after reading this post—congratulations on all you’ve done! I struggled with food in a different way for years (binge/purge stuff) and only stopped when I decided to eat real food until I was full—kind of crazily simplistic, but it broke the cycle. It’s so great to read your about your journey and how you accomplished it.

  88. Nice to see pic of my lovely home country, Puerto Rico, in the photos.

  89. Margaret says:

    Wow Amanda, I had no idea since we just met months ago. All I know is I liked you right away because of your spirit and energy. So brave of you to share your story and you’re truly an inspiration to many. xoxo

  90. Jen says:

    Thank you Amanda for writing about your journey. Such an inspirational story; I don’t think people realize how much overweight people are bullied and it’s just wrong and hurtful! Thanks for showing the light at the end of the tunnel.

  91. Love this. Thank you for sharing your story.

  92. Mel Tardy says:

    Holy cow, I am moved….I think you are somehow my twin, separated at birth, and are ahead of the game by 2 years!! Geesh, you have an amazing testimony and very inspiring. I am in the same boat (the being in love with all things food) (except fish and most veggies, that is…) but need to lose about 100 pounds and just can’t fathom never eating the yumminess that I create ever again. I’m so thankful that you shared your story, in total open-faced-ness. Thank you so much.

  93. Sarah says:

    I just wanted to say a very heartfelt thank you for sharing your story. I struggled with my weight for years as a kid and a teen and your experience and success is nothing short of extraordinary. Though I now have the opposite problem of being underweight thanks to illness, but in the back of my mind I’m still the fat kid who had to buy men’s pants and from the age of 5 was called “blubber butt” by the kids at school and “pudgy Sarah” by my own doctor! Thanks again for being so open and honest – I know it’s been a hard thing for you to do but if it helps even one other person with their struggle I hope you feel proud to have been that next stepping stone. Keep up the amazing blog, body and mind!

  94. bren says:

    Thanks for sharing your story and you do look so great! I would love some recipes that are good for me that also taste good. Keep up the good work and please keep encouraging us that we can do it also! It is so hard to be a foodie that enjoys cooking and not gain weight.

  95. Karen Hughan says:

    Hey Amanda, Well you sure are a HOTTIE now, so the often painful and emotional journey has paid off in spades. More critically, you are a generous, loving, and caring person. Because of that, you have many followers and many fans, and you have just touched us all deeply.

    Having just met you at BSP2, I had no idea that the confident, sexy woman I cooked and cleaned with was a reinvented human being who had just come down such a long and winding road.

    I am comment #94 and you only posted the story of your journey 6 days ago. This is a testimonial to how many people you have touched and inspired, and to how loved you are!

    Thanks for sharing your story. I MISS YOU!

  96. Great story! It’s wonderful that you have gotten healthier and happier while still finding a way to enjoy food as more than mere sustenance.

  97. Ann Favre Watkins says:

    you look fabulous…it’s ann from baton rouge. we chatted a little about your food porn daily site recently. keep up the good work and continue to be inspirational. you are a very talented individual and i admire you.

  98. CathyB says:

    I have followed your website as well as food porn for years. Just like the food pictures you are beautiful in every picture posted heavy or thin! I am on a journey myself currently at 33.5 lbs lost, overall goal is just a few more lbs to reach a good weight for me. Its all about balance isn’t it? Thanks for sharing, you are a stronga nd brave woman. Rock on!

  99. Joyce says:

    I don’t even know how I came to be at your blog, but wow, good for you girl. Stand tall, be proud ! And, good luck with the cookbook. The fish, salsa & salad recipe look delicious.

  100. stephanie says:

    So, Ive been doing the battle of trying to lose 30 stress lbs that Ive managed to collect over the past 2 years. I ran a half marathon 30 lbs ago and now one mile is excrutiating. Ive been newly motivated over the past month and this gave me so much hope because so many times ive been ready to fall into the ‘im 30 lbs overweight and will just have to get used to that’ lie. Weight loss SUCKS. But, tonight, i realized that i have been telling myself the lie that i can follow through with exercise but its the diet with which i will never succeed. Another lie. So, Amanda, you have spoken much needed truth to my heart tonight. I thank you and believe in my spirit that you will be an inspiration to so many. Not because you lost weight but because your spirit is so real and raw and approachable. You are a breath of fresh air. Thanks for your courage.

  101. Kim says:

    just like everyone else .. WOW!! You truly are an inspiration and the motivation that I have so desperately been searching for. I dont know you, but, am so proud of you! You go, girl! Cant wait for the new cookbook :)

  102. Michelle says:

    I’m ready to buy your cookbook! Get busy! :) You’re AMAZING!! I’ll definitely be your new blog-stalker!

  103. Amazing Amanda. Thanks for sharing with everyone.

  104. Nicole says:

    Hi Amanda,

    I have never read your blog before today. At this point, I forget how I got to this post… I was clickety-clicking around the Internet and some blog linked to this post, at least I think… It was hours ago that I found it and I only got to read it now. So I really have no clue!

    Anyway, I felt compelled to tell you that you have re-inspired me. I stopped writing in my blog earlier this year. I lost 75 pounds by counting calories and becoming more active (with Couch to 5K, coincidentally enough). I went from 298 to 223 and felt amazing. Somewhere along the way, the weight began to creep back on. Not all of it, thank God, but enough to embarrass me and take the joy out of blogging about my journey. I’m still as active as ever, but damn…I’m a wicked emotional eater. I tend to get discouraged when I think of my goal weight (185, which is a really comfortable weight for me). And also, I’m tough to motivate because, well…my weight has never kept me from doing things. I climb mountains. (Literally.) I kayak. I ski. I run. I lift weights. Over the summer, at my yearly physical, my doctor said, “You’re healthy as a horse! Just have to get that pesky number on the scale down a bit.” Yeah, yeah. Don’t I know it. ;)

    Anyway, I wanted to say THANK YOU. Thank you for writing this post so thoughtfully and thoroughly. You have inspired me to re-commit to my health and to document my progress in my blog, because I enjoy having a way to mark and remember the steps in my journey. I’m glad I came across your little corner of the Internet today. :) Thank you!

  105. Courtney says:

    Well, I officially have a new favorite tilapia recipe! That was so freaking delicious…the hubs even loved it. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe and more importantly, your story. You’re an inspiration!

  106. Rina says:

    I just happened on your website while I was searching for a low-cal thanksgiving recipe. I, too, was moved to tears after reading your story. You are so inspirational. I’m a lot older than you (63 – OMG!) and I’ve been battling my overweight for all of my life. I am under 5 feet tall (have shrunk within last 10 years) and weigh 220 lbs. I tell myself I CAN’T exercise because it hurts too much but you make a lot of sense when you say “it’s all in my brain.” Excuses, excuses, excuses. I will march in place starting for 60 seconds and increase it to 120 seconds next week and so on. Anyway, thanks for the encouragement. You are “effing” awesome!!!! Oh, and my sincerest congratulations to you!!!
    n

  107. Lorna says:

    Thank you so much for your article about your struggle (and victory) over obesity. I have recently started a weight loss program and have only 15 lbs. to go. Slow and steady! No need to deprive ourselves. Portion control is key. I still have to have my fruitcake during the holidays!! I know I only need 1000 calories a day to acheive my goal. Thanks again for your honesty….

  108. Heather says:

    So happy I stumbled upon your blog during my search for a truffle mac and cheese for our Thanksgiving holiday feast. Five years ago our family gave up a lot of our traditional Thanksgiving foods like: broccoli casseroles and anything with gluten, hydrogenated fats or high fructose corn syrup. However, we have found ways to still have our stuffing and other yummy treats. This year I will be making mac and cheese as our treat – but with rice pasta – so no gluten.

    Your story is very inspirational…and you now have yourself another follower!

    Congratulations on your wonderful

  109. lindsay says:

    love this! you look great.

  110. Keith says:

    Amanda:

    Alway thought you were cute but Holy Sh*t what a HOTTIE you have become. Hubby must be in 7th heaven.

    You are an inspiration. Have me looking in to the various links on this page.

    Way to go!

  111. melissa says:

    i love you. in case you didn’t know, i am here to tell you that you’re amazing!!

  112. Denise says:

    Woah – this just blew my mind. I absolutely love the Food Porn Daily website and had no idea that was also your site. Amazing and inspiring!

  113. Gina says:

    I am in the process of trying to make the same kind of change in my life (re-creating a healthy relationship with food and exercise), and I just wanted to tell you that I keep coming back to this post to inspire me to keep at it. I appreciate you sharing this story because I completely understand just how personal the struggle with weight is. Thank you.

  114. Susan says:

    you are inspiring and brave and wonderful. I wish I had your book in my hands right now to encourage and guide me.

  115. Tina says:

    Thank you for sharing so honestly, you look amazing and I truly can’t wait for all of those new recipes. I still think you should be a contestant on Chopped!

  116. kavitha says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  117. Brandy says:

    Congratulations on your phenomenal success! I found your story on your “what we’re eating” site. I was looking for a recipe to use summer sausage and found your jambalaya, then I noticed your blog. So glad I did, I will absolutely be looking into the couch to 5k program! I also LOVE that you make adjustments in your recipe for how spicy you like! I can’t handle spicy foods, but I am going to be checking out many, many more of your recipes!! I have been on a journey to learn to cook healthier and tastier! I do not know much about spices and other things to add flavor, so I am very much looking forward to perusing your site for recipes, and can’t wait for your new cookbook!

  118. LexingtonNC says:

    My wife and I have chosen to follow the vegan route. My problem (and it IS a vexing problem — to me) is in limiting my portions (count + size) and in being consistent with my exercise. When I do those two things the weight falls off with only minor effort. But life seems determined to prevent me from getting that exercise — plantar fascitis keeps me indoors too many days (and too close to the refrigerator) for my own good. Still, I’m determined to drop 70 pounds over the course of 2012. I think that I’ll check out the Couch to 5000 link you posted above and see if that’s something I might be able to do. Even 60 seconds in our hilly neighborhood beats 4 hours of surfing the internet.

  119. Thank you for sharing your story… You inspire me

  120. Dana says:

    THANK YOU Sooooo MUCH for sharing your story it is just the inspiration that I need to help keep me motivated!With all of my health issues it will take me awhile to lose the 70lbs that need to lose in order to live a healthier life.I am only 46 but need to use a cane due to a type of muscular dystrophy so running is not an option but walking is and like the Lexington post I have plantar fascists. I bought a pair of sneakers and some sandals from a company called FIT FLOP and I can now walk or be on my feet for 6 hours and my feet truly do not hurt they are amazing! I wish I got a commission from the company b/c almost everyone who has tried them have gone back and purchased more. If you are like me give them a try and see if they help.in the past I would only walk for 20 minutes and the foot pain would be so bad that I couldn’t walk for three days. Now with these shoes (even the flip flop style,which I could never wear before) I am able to go to the gym and use the machines and walk at the park for an hour everyday!!With no down time!Plus with 5 kids I’m on my feet all day and now my feet don’t hurt so no longer an excuse for not getting out there and moving.

  121. Susan Osborne Rogers says:

    I did a similar thing… spent 30 years being overweight, went from 194 to 110 in 10 months by changing diet a lot and doing some mild exercise. Biggest difference between us… I started after age 50. Now, at 53.5, I have kept all the weight off for over three years.

    “Hard” does not begin to describe what life was like before. Right? Feels really spectacular, though, to become your own hero. Keep focused and never go back. Helps me to keep my jeans on… always the tighest pair I can stand. Now, that’s a size 0 from a store that caters to teenagers!!!

    Wish I had made the change at your age. Good luck

  122. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  123. M says:

    I’m on this road right now. And you’re right. It is so very hard. I look forward to hearing more from you.

  124. Renee says:

    Thank you for sharing your inspirational story. And you look amazing. I so agree with your comment about weight loss surgery. I think most of the time it is really the mind-set that keeps a person over-weight. Then again, like you said it’s so hard to change a mind-set you’ve had for years. I agree it’s important to never give up and it’s ok to be imperfect once in a while. Keep up the positive attitude!

  125. sherryc says:

    I want to lose weight so much and I am going to try your method. I swim or dog paddle for an hour about 4 times a week. I need to have a foot operation and must lose weight. Thank you for having this site. I have 100 or more to lose.

  126. Jesse James says:

    You look great, Amanda. Good stuff. I’m happy for you. :)

    I’ve been reading your What We’re Eating blog for years.

  127. Teresa says:

    Amanda – would like to talk to you about your journey – am in the same thought and my biggest enemy is my own thoughts – Please reach out to me (who is you two years ago) I would appreciate it.

  128. Twyla says:

    Just LOOK at You!!! Now your beautiful inside matches your beautiful outside …God bless you.

  129. Nara Meyer says:

    You are really beautiful. Thank you.

  130. Chelsea says:

    Thanks for sharing this story! You have a lot of courage, lady! And WELL DONE !! You’re awesome!! I’ve always loved your attitude and I’m so thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know you here in PR. Hopefully our connection will remain no matter where we are!

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