Weight Loss Success Story

Fit Bride, Amber // Seeing My Family for the First Time After 40 lbs Lost

AmberProfile
AmberProfile

I had been trying to keep my weight loss a secret from those closest to me. Most have known (hello world!) but some did not. I had tried to stay away from posting pictures of myself on social media as a way for no one to find out! My coworkers definitely know as they have seen me shrink little by little since the beginning of the year and while it is nice to have strangers come up to me and say “you look good!” I have been overweight for most of my life and my family of all people will be prouder of me then any stranger because they know it is something I have struggled with FOREVER. Well just last weekend I saw my ENTIRE family at a wedding in Orlando. It was so rewarding being around family and their gushing over my weight loss was just the icing on the cake! I had bought a new dress (nothing fits!!) for the wedding and it definitely showed off my weight loss!

Amber
Amber

Sometimes it’s easy to see how far you have to go instead of seeing how far you have come so it was really nice to have people who haven’t seen me daily see how much progress I have made! I am down over 40 pounds now and while I can tell a difference in my stomach, arms and legs, the MAIN place you can see my weight loss is in my face. My face looks completely different! I have even heard that I look younger! That will never get old!!

>>>See more progress photos!<<<

It’s pure and utter motivation for me to keep going, too. Every time I think about pizza I just think that I am actually losing weight, no food will ever be more important then that!

All of my life I get on the scale and it stays the same, may go up, but never goes down pounds, but with this diet and me being so focused I am actually dropping the pounds. I saw the scale go up back in January when I was still an infant in weight loss but now that I have learned my trouble areas and am in the greatest shape of my life due to my workouts, NOTHING seems worth messing that up!

I have also mentioned that my self esteem was very low when I was heavier (just take a look back at my first few posts). I also mentioned a few weeks ago that my self esteem hasn’t changed much as I focus on the negative wayyyy to easily (anyone else with me??), but being around my family and experiencing their love and support not only renewed me to focus on dropping more weight, but also renewed me in terms of what matters. I need to go back there daily and remember that no matter what happens in my day, I have love and support around me and THAT is what I need to focus on. Joel Osteen summed it up perfectly….

”If you are always looking at your problems, meditating on them, feeling sorry for yourself, telling everybody about them; you will become consumed by them. But when you look up, your life will start to move up.”

Its time to start looking up more often, and being lighter should make that easier! ☺

JUST JOINING US?

AMBER IS MY SISTER-IN-LAW AND BLOGGING HER WAY TO THE WEDDING. CHECK OUT HER INTRODUCTION, CHECK OUT HER COLUMN, AND FOLLOW HER ON INSTAGRAM

AmberSignature
AmberSignature

Then and Now

Then-Now.png

Hey guys! Happy Tuesday! I thought it would be fun to do a then and now post to take a little trip down memory lane, whaddya say? I did a similar post for Weddingbee a few years back!

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IMG_2857

Then: Dipping my little sister's toes in the ocean in Florida! She was so tiny back then! 

Now: Brooke's in High School and this year she went to Homecoming! She's so beautiful and so grown up! Proud moment!

Brookes Homecoming
Brookes Homecoming

Then:Not that long ago I was addicted to Venti iced americanos with a pump of vanilla and splash of half-and-half!

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2014-10-09 15.11.33

Now:I'm onto a much healthier option: the venti iced unsweetened ice tea! :)

Whole30 Starbucks
Whole30 Starbucks

Then: In 2011, I used to go running every weekend around the tidal basin in DC!

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IMAG1610

Now: I go to CrossFit every weekend and I don't miss running at all! I love my new workout routine. It's a lot of fun and I'm so that happy it's something I can share with Aaron as well.

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2014-08-30 08.57.53

Then: Wearing braces - yikes! I remember the day I got them; it was awful, but I smiled and sent this pic to my mom and dad, brother and grandmother.

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2013-10-28 12.19.39

Now: I'm so much more confident in my smile - yay! The six months I wore braces went by really fast and it was definitely worth it!

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2014-11-04 17.24.42

Then: This photo was taken over a year ago when I was making enormous salads for lunch everyday with Salad Club.

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IMG_6468

Now: Not much has changed! I'm still eating huge salads for lunch, styling them, and taking pics! My archive of these kinds of photos is ridiculous!

Whole30 Week 2 Recap
Whole30 Week 2 Recap

Then: This was back in 2002, I think. I was goofing around with my best friend, Ghadeer at my mom's house in Shenandoah.

Ghadeer_Country
Ghadeer_Country

Now: Ghadeer and me are still BFFs, we hang out all the time, and still goof around quite a bit! :)

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

Then: A real throwback!! I was a huge Lady Vols fan as a kid. My dad and grandmother are die-hard Tennessee fans and obviously, Tennessee costumes were totally appropriate around Christmas!

Christmas
Christmas

Now: Not much has changed - I'm still a big Tennessee fan and rep the orange and white whenever I can!

Do you ever look back at old photos or think back to how things used to be?

What are some things that have changed for you? What's stayed the same? 

#TransformationTuesday

Before_After
Before_After

You might have seen this transformation photo already because I posted it to Instagram a few weeks ago. There's really only one word to describe this change: CrossFit.

I've never seen my body change the way it has since I started CrossFit. I've never had a bicep (hello - check out that first photo!) and I've never felt so strong. We lift heavy weights at CrossFit. A lot. And for me at least, it's beginning to pay off!

See other before and after bicep photos herehere, and here.

Read more about my CrossFit journey by clicking any of the links below:

CrossFit Elements: 

CrossFit Milestones: 

The CrossFit Open 2013:

CrossFit & Marriage:

Workout Recaps:

To be honest, I'd love to blog a lot more about CrossFit!

What kinds of post would you be interested in? 

Workout recaps? How-to posts? About weight lifting? 

Frequently Asked Questions - My Weight Loss Story

And some never-before-seen engagement photos! Recently I received some questions about my weight loss story. I wish I would have blogged about weight loss prior to our wedding - when I first started losing weight! - but I was a bride back then so blogging was usually more focused on invitation meltdowns, bridesmaid drama, florals... you know, the usual! :)

Losing weight has been a journey for me anyway, though. It never started or ended with the wedding; I've dealt with it my whole life. I think something finally did click before our wedding, but even since then, my weight has fluctuated. I'm a work in progress! Here's a little more background that I hope will paint a broader picture.

How long was your engagement? It was a year and a half. I got engaged in October 2009 and was married in April 2011.

How much did you weigh before you got married? I weighed in around 165 when I first started working with a personal trainer. I didn't consider myself big because I was closer to 180 just a few years prior, but I did know I wanted to shed a few pounds. The photos in this post were taken in November 2009, just a month or so after Aaron proposed.

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2014-07-10_0001

How much do you weigh when you got married? By the time I got married I was close to 145 lbs.

How much do you weigh now? I fluctuate but nowadays I tend to hover around 155; this is after the initial post-wedding gain of about 15 lbs. YES! You read that right - I gained back a lot of the weight I lost prior to the wedding, but I think that's pretty normal.

Are you still trying to lose weight? I do want to lose a few pounds but I'm not nearly as obsessed with the scale as I used to be. CrossFit has really changed my perspective of my body. I try to focus on celebrating non-scale victories, like overcoming the fear of doing handstands, or getting stronger. I've also seen my body change in ways that don't translate over to weighing less, like seeing my bicep develop and my traps rise. All of this has helped me realize the scale isn't nearly as important as how I feel.

What did you eat in the months leading up to your wedding? My trainer put me on a pretty basic meal plan that included a lot of chicken, sweet potatoes, fish, and vegetables. It wasn't very exciting but I tried to stick to it. Of course I had slip-ups... I mean, I was engaged well over a year, but it was also during my engagement that I began eating clean on a more consistent basis.

What motivated you? I really loved Oxygen magazine at the time! I loved the recipes they featured. I discovered the egg white casserole from them, and tried almond butter for the first time after seeing a mention of it in Oxygen. It's a great resource for clean eating.

I also had a very tight-knit workout group. I went to the gym 2-3 times a week with two ladies that I worked with. The three of us pitched in and got a personal trainer, which was a lot more affordable than hiring a personal trainer for one-on-one sessions, which I would not have been able to afford. The trainer and my gym buddies kept me accountable! Sometimes I didn't feel like going to the gym but knowing all of us were schlepping there together was a huge motivator.

The wedding probably had something to do with it too. :)

How did you stick to your diet? At the time I was living by myself so I had full control over the food that was within reach and I was adamant not to have anything nearby that would sabotage my progress. I vividly remember my brother coming to stay for a few nights and bringing his own food - I inspected his bags and made him throw out some hershey's chocolate syrup! He thought I was crazy!

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2014-07-10_0002

What were your workout prior to the wedding? Like I mentioned I worked out with a personal trainer 2-3 times per week. She put a lot of emphasis on weight training, which to be honest, I mostly hated! She also had us do some body weight stuff like push-ups and assisted pull-ups, but it was up to us to do our own cardio. (Except on occasion when she'd make us run the stairs!) Prior to getting with her I had started running for the first time in my life. I ran a 5k, then a 10k, then two 10 milers. By the time I started working out with her running was a part of my routine so I usually opted to do that for cardio, or get on the elliptical (on occasion).

What was your post-wedding plan? I didn't have one which was probably a big part of my problem! I moved in with my fiancé and started eating gobs of ice cream after dinner! Lol! (You know, the love chub set in!) I realized pretty quickly that I was reverting back to some old habits but luckily, I still had my gym buddies and still enjoyed running. I set the goal to run a marathon that year and - believe it or not! - I did it! In November 2011, I ran the Philadelphia marathon in about 5 hours and 30 minutes. I certainly wasn't fast, but I was resilient! To this day I am very proud of that accomplishment.

Running was definitely very good for me post-wedding. It takes a lot to push yourself to run those long miles but it didn't do much for me in terms of weight loss or strength gain. I actually gained weight during training because I got into carb loading and rewarding myself with whatever my heart desired after long weekend runs! (Hey, I deserved it right?) It wasn't until I joined CrossFit in June 2013 that I started to see real change in my body -- this time, for good!

Did you gain weight after the wedding? Like I mentioned above, I did but I think that's pretty normal and certainly nothing to be ashamed about. I would like to blog more about my experience and have some thoughtful discussion here about why that happens; I think part of it is having too much emphasis on just one day and losing the bigger perspective. What I didn't do after the wedding was give up working out or learning to eat better, all of which I think has helped me keep the weight off.

What's your goals right now? My goal at this point is to get better at CrossFit. I can't do a strict pull-up or a handstand push-up, and I'm not comfortable with rope climbs or toes-to-bar. There's so much room for improvement! I also want to continue to refine my diet and if I can, lose some belly fat. I'm actually really happy with my body but I still struggle with the appearance of my stomach. Is it crazy to want CrossFit abs?? Cause I want 'em. :)

I'm fortunate in that my husband has gotten into fitness now as well (via CrossFit). I never imagined we'd both be fitness enthusiasts but we are and it's really working to our advantage. We've been meal planning and prepping together, tracking our macros (protein, carb, and fat intake via MyFitnessPal) and just generally being more conciseness about the food we eat. It's AWESOME to have a partner in this and I'm so blessed to have that. It's also shaping my goals somewhat because if he wants to eat better than automatically, I eat better! It's kind of awesome! (Oh, and in case you're wondering... he wants a six pack, too but I'm hoping to beat him too it!)

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2014-07-10_0004

What's your advice for brides? Obviously I have a lot of advice for brides which is why I run a bridal-fitness blog! But, if I had to boil it down I'd suggest finding a partner in this. Whether it's your fiancé, a coworker, or friend from afar, having accountability and support is so, so important. If you're looking to lose weight I'd also stress that you pay close attention to your diet. At least in my experience it's held that it's 30 percent gym and 70 percent diet.

Now tell me about your weight loss story!

Have you always been on a weight loss journey?

Did you weight fluctuate around major life events, like your wedding or engagement? 

These photos are from Kelly Mihalcoe. We had two sets of engagement photos because I didn't love the first set. These photos are actually from our second session but they've never been shared publicly because I decided to use the photos from the initial one.  You can see those on Weddingbee.  

Weight Loss Success // Fit Mom, Sarah

Hey guys! Happy Tuesday! I hope you Nor'easters enjoyed the snow yesterday! I did! Today I wanted to share a very inspiring story with you about my friend and fellow Weddingbee blogger, Sarah, aka Mrs. Locket, which ties right in with our newfit mom blogging series

Fit Mom_Sarah
Fit Mom_Sarah
Meet-Sarah
Meet-Sarah

Sarah is fiercely tackling her weight loss goals and going about it in a multi-facet way, from running to yoga to PX90, and of course, clean eating! Like many of us, Sarah has battled her weight before, pre-and-post wedding and pre-baby! She's been down this road before, but never as determined and as focused as she is today!  

Sarah is also committed to inspiring others along her way through Instagram and her blog, Slow Mo Runner, which I love to see! Her before and after pictures are truly inspiring, and the photos (you'll see below) of her son and husband joining in on the fitness action are adorable! I'm really happy to share Sarah's journey with you, and think it's the perfect tie into our fit mom blogging series by Karlye! (Look out for Karlye's weekly check-in at noon today!) Now, Sarah's story! 

Tell us your story. When did the weight loss begin?  

I think I have always been a health-conscious individual, but my execution was lacking or misguided.  I would always get into these healthy kicks, but would find excuses or reasons to eventually stray. In college I spent most of my time being active and participated on the women's rowing team.  I also became a pescitarian (vegetarian that eats fish) for a good two years and did my best to eat a healthy, mindful diet.

Unfortunately, the stresses of working crazy hours and going to school full-time caught up to me in my senior year and I put on weight again.  A year later, I refocused and through diet and exercise was able to get to a healthier weight, but then came the "happy weight gain."  I became comfortable while living with my then boyfriend (now husband) and found it all to easy to indulge in the foods that he enjoyed.

In 2009, we moved into our second apartment together, and it wasn't until I saw photos from that move that I realized I had put on so much weight (again).  A month later we were engaged, and like many brides, I didn't want to lose weight for the big day!  So, I refocused yet again and was able to lose 20 lbs for our September 2010 wedding... I used blogging as a way to hold me accountable and it was a great motivator.  My husband and I even held weekly weigh-in competitions.

After the wedding, the happy weight came back and I gained a large portion of what I had lost back.  It wasn't until early 2011 that we decided to get back at it again.  This time around we chose to use the Beach Body Fitness Program, P90X. The infomercials really inspired us both and we liked that we could do the workouts from home (we could no longer afford our $120/mo gym membership).  Motivated to fit into a bridesmaid dress, I followed the program strictly for 1 month and I lost the 15 lbs I had put on.  It didn't last though, I became pregnant in May of 2013 and immediately packed on 10 lbs.

Do you feel like you've always been overweight?  

I've always been overweight by BMI standards.  My lowest weight in college was 160lbs and at 5'5" that put me into the overweight category.  My weight has always been a struggle for me, I've always been a heavier girl, but I typically carried my weight well.  I have an athletic build and put on muscle quite easily, unfortunately I also hold onto fat.  Soon after graduating from college I managed to get down to 155 and for once, I began to feel skinny.  My size 10 jeans were falling off of me and most of clothes became baggy.  People began to compliment me on my weight loss and recognized the change.  I enjoyed the skinny feeling, but it took a toll on my physical health.  I had lost the weight unintentionally because I was working too many hours, not getting enough sleep, and forgetting to eat throughout the day.  Because I wasn't exercising or fueling my body properly, I noticed a huge decrease in my muscle mass... I was skinny fat.  I also became severely anemic and needed to be put on supplements and monitored for quite some time.  This period of being "skinny" lead me to a period of feeling the need to stuff my face to makeup for the deficiencies.  I couldn't seem to find the right balance.  Finding the right balance is still something I struggle with, but I am getting less concerned with the number on the scale and paying more attention to how I feel.

Are you trying to lose weight now? How much? 

Yes, I am currently trying to lose weight, but am trying really hard to ignore the numbers on the scale.  I'd like to lose another 23-33 lbs to reach my initial goals.  To reach a healthy BMI (not overweight) I would still need to lose 39 lbs.

What method are you using to lose weight? 

Since March of 2013 I've lost 30 lbs through running, P90X, and by cleaning up my diet.

Are you following a special diet? Counting calories? 

After a month-long hiatus I just got back into calorie counting.  I decided to focus on clean eating for the month of October and quite honestly needed a break from the routine.  I tried to do the Whole30 Challenge for the month, but it was hard to stick with on my own.  I was able to last a couple of weeks and would love to try it again. I don't think I planned things out thoroughly enough to execute it for the entire month.

Fit Mom_Sarah
Fit Mom_Sarah

What are your favorite healthy snacks – for yourself and for your little one?  

My favorite healthy snacks are edamame, green or red fresh peppers or cucumbers with a little soy sauce, and veggies with hummus.  I also love portable fruit options like apples or bananas.  My son's favorite healthy snacks are yogurt, raisins or craisins (I call them candy), strawberries, bananas, apples, and cheese sticks.

If you're comfortable sharing the figures publicly, please tell me your starting weight, current weight, and goal weight.  

Absolutely, they are just numbers and don't define me!  When I started my weight loss journey in March I was 218 lbs, currently 188 and working towards 165-155.  It would be amazing to get past those goals too, but I'll set new ones when I reach my current goals.

How often do you workout? 

I workout once a day 6 days a week.  I was doubling up workouts in the beginning, but cut back as my marathon training mileage increased.  I usually work on core exercises and yoga or stretching in the evenings when I get home.

Fit Mom_Sarah Yoga
Fit Mom_Sarah Yoga

What’s your favorite type of workout?  

I really enjoy weight training and have also come to crave running.

Do you lift weights?

Yes! I really love working on my arms, specifically my biceps and shoulders.  I think a lot of the love comes from that post lift "swole" and feeling the difference in composition.  I'm also a flex junky and love seeing the definition grow.

Fit Mom_Sarah
Fit Mom_Sarah

Do you have a workout buddy? 

Not at the moment.  Does Instagram count?  I have a lot of people I follow and few of them are doing the same programs as I am!

You recently completed a full marathon! Your first! Congratulations! When we sat down to talk, you told me about the half marathon you completed. What was that like? 

It was AWESOME!  The race took place in Syracuse, NY and the course ran through a familiar path, the Onondaga Lake Park, home to my first 5K race.  As I pressed through the park passing mile 3 I had such a sense of euphoria and accomplishment.  Just 3 years prior I ran that same path full of jitters and a similar eagerness, but with no sense that I would be capable of conquering any distance greater than that.  And yet there I was, I was in it with 10 miles left to go and I felt great!

Fit Mom_Sarah
Fit Mom_Sarah

I pushed myself through the entire race and was able to finish in my fastest time for that distance 2:34:42.  I typically run a 13 min mile for my longer training runs so getting a sub 12 min pace was pretty amazing.

>> To read about when Sarah went on to complete the Walt Disney World Marathon (read: 26.2 miles!!), check out the post on her blog here.<<<

How do you stay consistent with working out?  

I bring my gym bag with me to work everyday and share my routine on IG.  I also have the GymPact app for my phone and have it set to 5 workouts per week.  If I miss my goals I get fined $10 for every day I miss on my pact.  It's really helped hold me accountable because I hate losing money.  I also earn a little money every week from it, which is a bonus.  I also find that the fact that I am training for something helps keep me on track.  I don't want to miss out on any running days because it could derail all of the hard work I've already put in.

How do you find the time? Does your son go to day care at the gym, or does your spouse help?  

On days that I miss a lunch workout or need to workout from home I try and wait until my son is asleep.  The great thing about P90X is that it can be done from the convenience of my own living room.  We also own a treadmill and I have the option of running at home.  On the weekends when I do my long runs I do my best to get them out of the way early in the day.  I want to be able to have the time to spend with my family and it's a great feeling to have my long run finished before either of them are out of bed.

Does your husband support your strive to be healthier?

Absolutely, he is constantly reminding me of how proud he is of me and compliments me on my progress on a daily basis. He has also gotten me gifts here and there to help me along with my journey.  My favorite and most used item thus far are my wireless headphones.  They are a godsend for those long runs!

Has your strive to be healthier influenced him at all? 

In the beginning we were both doing the P90x workouts together and he was able to lose 25 lbs.  After a while he cut back on the at home workouts, but stayed focused on cutting out a lot of the processed and fasts foods and has since been able to maintain the loss.  He is hoping to get back into the workout routine, but can't stand to do them at home anymore.  He works from home and needs an escape every now and then.

Fit Mom_Sarah
Fit Mom_Sarah

Where do you get your inspiration? 

On occasion pop on over to That Wife Blog because I've been participating in the That Weight Loss Challenge (TWLC) that she holds.  But I'm more inspired by the Facebook and Instagram accounts I follow.  It's easy to see the quick stories and progress photos and they are easily accessed from my phone.

A few that come across my feed on Facebook are:  Brandee Eagles - My Imperfect Journey to Find My Face, Ripped Goddess, Flex It Pink, and That Wife Blog. For Instagram I follow too many people to share all of them, but a few of my favorites are @adry_bella and her sister @brownnie77, @fatgirl_meets_fitworld, @estellearcher, @blondemis_fit, @IGfitmoms

What things have changed about you since having your child? Is losing weight harder or easier than it used to be?  

The thing that's changed the most is my mid-section.  Pregnancy did a number on my belly and I was left with stretch marks and a lot of loose skin.  I also lost nearly every ounce of core strength.  In the beginning of my journey, the core workouts were the hardest for me.  I would wipe out within the first 30 seconds of any ab work.  I think it's a lot harder to lose the weight.  I don't know if it's because my body composition has changed so much or because I started weaning my son in June, but my body isn't as responsive to changes as it once was.

Fit Mom_Sarah
Fit Mom_Sarah

Do you think being a mom has influenced you to want to be healthier?

It has been my biggest motivator!  By my son's first birthday he was well adjusted to walking (he started at 8.5 months) and had nearly mastered running.  I remember chasing him down our hallway (our very short hallway) and getting winded.  It scared me.  I had the realization that some day soon my son would be fast enough to get away from me.  What would I do if I couldn’t catch him?  What if he wriggled away and ran in front of a car because I couldn't react quickly enough because I was too out of shape?  I needed to do something so that I could commit to being the best mom I could be.

Why is being a fit mom important to you?

I need to be the healthy mom.  I want to be the healthy mom.  I want to get my life back (I felt so trapped being overweight).  I also don't want to plan on a second child until I drop the extra weight.  I’ve read too many articles about how moms who don’t lose the baby weight within the first 6 months are more likely to not lose it and to continue to gain with each subsequent pregnancy...  I cannot fathom being any bigger than I was and I don't want to become a statistic.  I want to prove to myself that I can do it for myself and for my family.  I also want to be sure I set proper groundwork for my son to be as happy and healthy as he can be.

Lastly, what advice do you give other moms who want to get healthier, starting working out, or lose weight?

My biggest piece of advice is to go at your own pace, but push yourself while your doing it.  Think about why you want to quit a workout or a diet plan and then think about what it will get you.  Setting goals is the most important part of a healthy lifestyle. The goals can be small because many small changes can lead to big results.

Another huge factor for me was creating a network of people through IG, FB, friends and family to act as a support/accountability group.  Having other people with similar goals, triumphs and obstacles has really kept me on track.

Most importantly, it's good to remember that results take time.  If you're too focused on immediate results you may give up too soon.  If you hang in there long enough and keep pushing you will see progress.

Fit Mom_Sarah
Fit Mom_Sarah

Wow! I love that advice, Sara! Hell yes! I couldn't agree more! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story. Best of luck continuing to tackle those goals! You're doing amazing and I know there's no stopping you! I'll be following along! :) And, guys, you should too! If you have a chance, please "Like" Sarah on Facebook or check out her Beach Body page! Thanks again Sarah! 

Weight Loss Success: Amy aka NiftyFoodie Down 70lbs (& Counting)

Over the last several months I have watched (and been inspired by!) this lady's weight loss journey. Week after week, on MyFitnessPal, I see her steadily and consistently lose the pounds. On Facebook and Instagram, I see the photos-- she's literally shrinking!-- and I'm honored to bring her story to the blog!  Please welcome Amy, author of the popular food blog, the Nifty Foodie-- she's lost a whopping 70lbs! 

Nifty-Foodie-Pic
Nifty-Foodie-Pic

My Q&A with Amy:

Has your weight always been an issue for you? Since what age? 

I've been a bigger girl as long as I can remember. Definitely since elementary school.

What factors contributed to your being overweight growing up?

I'm not really sure. Perhaps portion sizes? As a background, I was very active as a kid (preferred to be outside rather than inside), and never had a problem eating fruits/veggies. I would think my only downfall is how much I ate when it came to family meals.

What kind of household did you grow up in? Were you taught healthy eating principles?

My mom made sure we had a home cooked meal most nights, and I'm very thankful for that. She also made sure we ate healthy... we never really got snacks in our house (very rare that a kid wanted to trade lunch items with me in the cafeteria haha!)

When did you decide to make a change? Were you engaged at the time?

I actually lost some weight while wedding planning, but packed it right back on after (and 60 more lbs.). I decided to make a change, because the scale was at 298.5. I was a meal away from seeing 300 lbs. on the scale! I had to do something.

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 10.29.04 PM
Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 10.29.04 PM

Has your decision to get healthy been on-again off-again, or did something just click?

I've always attempted diets...every Monday seemed like a new week. I think the big clicker was ignoring the scale for a long time, and finally seeing that number. I got out of control.

What was your starting weight? 298.5

*To show off Amy's amazing progress, I put together this timeline:

Timeline-Photos
Timeline-Photos

Did you use a particular program to help you lose weight? What program?

Calorie counting, via MyFitnessPal.

Has anyone been doing this with you?

My husband. He's lost 115 lbs.!! It's great to have that support at home.

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Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 10.30.40 PM

When did you start to see the number on the scale go down?

Within the first month, I lost 10 lbs. The results were awesome!

What's been the best part about getting healthier/losing weight?

Fitting in regular sized clothes again. It's still SO crazy after shopping in plus sized stores for over 10 years.

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 10.07.21 PM
Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 10.07.21 PM

What's been the hardest part?

Resisting the binges. It took me a while to face the fact that I had/have a binge eating problem. It's a daily struggle.

Have you reached your goal yet?

No. I'm about 50-60 lbs. away from my goal.

When you started, did you lose weight immediately or has it been a gradual loss?

The weight loss was fast in the beginning (I was SO spoiled by it, too haha!), but after 17 months of doing this, my weight loss is a steady 0.5-2 lbs./week.

What are some of your staple foods and favorite recipes?

Greek yogurt, fresh/frozen fruit and hummus with veggies are my favorite snacks to have on hand. I love making fruit "ice cream" (food processing frozen banana with a few berries until it's like soft serve...like the Yonana machine). I also enjoy tortilla pizza, which is basically adding marinara, mozzarella cheese, and turkey pepperoni on top of a whole wheat tortilla and baking for 10-12 minutes at 350. I also love a simple banana protein smoothie (1 scoop of vanilla protein powder, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup ice, 1 RIPE frozen banana and blend until smooth)...it tastes like a milkshake!!

Do you workout a lot? How often?

I try to aim for 4-5x/week with workouts. 2-3 times/week with cardio, 2 times/week with weights

Do you workout at home or do you belong to a gym?

We belong to a gym, but for running, I prefer to run in our neighborhood. I mainly go to the gym for weight lifting, and if the weather is terrible, I'll go there for cardio.

What are your favorite exercises? Do you lift weights?

I'm a big fan of running and strength training.

*Read about Amy's experience doing the Color Run 5k on her blog here.

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Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 10.05.42 PM

 *Also pictured is Amy's sister who has recently lost 40 lbs!*

Do you have a favorite body part you like to work? (Such as quads or delts?)

My shoulders. I was using 10 lbs. on the machine when I started out in January, and now I'm up to 40 lbs. I finally saw a little crease in my shoulders a couple of weeks ago. It's very cool to see my body changing!

Where do you find your motivation? Other blogs? Magazines? Which ones?

I like to read blogs for motivation. My top 3 favorites are: Can You Stay for Dinner, Runs for Cookies & Prior Fat Girl.

Are your family and friends aware of these changes in your life? Are they supportive?

Absolutely! My family/friends are very supportive, and are always throwing compliments when they notice my weight loss. :-)

What does your husband think of these changes?

He's very supportive. He's on a weight loss journey himself. :-)

Finally, do you have any advice for other women who are trying to be healthier and/or lose weight?

Take baby steps, and recognize that you're only human. Weight loss (for me) wasn't a flip of the switch. As in, it wasn't like I was one day eating terribly...living a sedentary lifestyle...the next, I was eating 1200 calories/day and running 5Ks. NOPE! That's not how it happened! I started at 1800ish calories/day, and then gradually went down. I slowly added activity into my day...started doing Couch to 5K, and really just started doing weights in January.

I also don't beat myself up if I go overboard for a meal. I know I won't gain back these 70 lbs. by eating an extra slice of pizza. I just adjust for the next meal. There are days where I go over in my calories, but I treat this journey like this will be my life forever (if that makes any sense?). There's no way I'm going to be perfect everyday...I'm only human.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and sharing all these inspiring photos, Amy! Even though you didn't mention it, I have to share your rewards list, which I think is really cool! Check it out:  

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Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 11.39.19 PM

I also have to brag on Amy's success with Dietbet (I learned of Dietbet through her, and blogged about here). She's participated in three games and if I'm not mistaken, won them all! (Impressive!)

And (you may already know this but) Amy's a beast in the kitchen! I love that she's started incorporating healthy recipes in with all those delicious baked goods on the Nifty Foodie! Check out this Banana Biscoff Protein Shake Recipe:

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8513661513_c498eda4e9

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If you want to continue reading about Amy's journey, which I highly recommend, visit her life blog, Nifty Foodie Life!

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Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 11.36.38 PM

Thank you again, Amy!!