November 18, 2009

My Weight Loss Story { Before & After Photos }

Some of you have noticed (and thank you so much for your sweet comments! :)) that Kevin and I have lost some weight recently…

I have been putting off writing this post because I don’t want to seem like I’m bragging or fishing for compliments… But I wanted to share my story, because before all this, I really wanted to lose weight and I just didn’t think I could do it. But now that I know I can and know how to do it, if sharing how I did it helps just one person, it’ll totally make it worth putting it all out there! :)

I had been wanting to lose some weight recently- these past couple of years I put on a few “happily married” pounds! :) But I just honestly had no clue how to really lose weight.

I had always heard platitudes of simply “Diet and exercise!” – but it just seemed so overwhelming without the details, especially since I’d never done it before!

See, I tried dieting, but I really wasn’t good at anything too restrictive. I hated feeling like I was depriving myself. I knew I wouldn’t stick with something like that. Two years ago, I really got serious. I did the Couch to 5K program. I went from completely sedentary to walking and then eventually running a 5K 3-4 days a week. I cut back my calories (although apparently not enough, because I didn’t really know how much to cut) and cut back on sweets, too. I was really, really good for the full program- 8 weeks.

And I didn’t lose a single pound.

I didn’t lose any inches either, for what it’s worth.

After that, I pretty much gave up. I figured if I couldn’t lose weight by “diet and exercise!” – then I felt like I just couldn’t do it on my own!

Recently I was talking with a couple of my friends and they were having success with Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig type diets- the kind where they send you the food. Both of them saw results on the scale the very first week! And I would read updates on their blogs and they were consistently losing weight every week.

After my previous experience of trying it on my own and not losing a single pound- even after 8 weeks, I really thought the only way I could lose weight was through a program that sent you food.

I wasn’t quite ready to do something like that though. Mostly because they were so expensive! I didn’t want to spend that kind of money. But also because I had Kevin to think about- I didn’t want to leave him to fend for himself while I was dieting, but I also didn’t want to cook dinner for him and not be able to eat it either! :) And also I was a little worried about the taste- and could I really eat boxed food only for that long?? And how would I survive in the “real world” with real food? Would I really learn anything?

Then someone said something about the Nutrisystem diet that really stuck with me.

She said the Nutrisystem diet was a “1200 calories per day diet. Nothing more to see here.Nothing more to see here – that really stuck with me. I don’t know, did I really think the boxed diet foods they sent you were super specially formulated to help you lose weight?? :laugh: Or something?? lol. I’m not sure. :)

About this time the new Healthy Choice commercials (with Julia Louis Dreyfus) were airing *all the time*. So I thought, hey, if I really wanted to give one of these type diets a try, I could do it myself with Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine foods, etc. Just to see if it would really work. This is something I can do- I could try it for one week. I can keep track of my calories. I didn’t know if I had the discipline to count/track my calories, but having the frozen meals would help and it would only be for a week. I can do this. It will be worth it if actually works!

So the first week, here’s what I did…

Breakfast – 200 calories – I had my regular cereal that I always ate for breakfast, Oat Cluster Cheerios Crunch. (Won’t be giving that up any time soon! ;)) But this time I used a measuring scoop for the cereal and milk (3/4 cup of cereal and 3/4 cup 2% milk) so I knew exactly how many calories I was getting.

Lunch – 300-400 calories – For lunch I would have a frozen “diet” meal, like Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, or Smart Ones. There were a ton of Smart Ones meals that I really liked! :) I also really like the Lean Cuisine Pepperoni Pizza. Or sometimes I would just have another bowl of cereal and a piece of fruit. If it was one of those days. ;)

Dinner – 400-600 calories – Dinner would be harder, I thought. I still wanted to be able to cook dinner for us at night- but what a PAIN it would be to figure out the calories in every single ingredient I used, add them all up, divide it by the number of servings the dish made, BLAH! I would never have the patience to do all that!! But then I found a tool called Recipe Analysis at CalorieCount.com. All I had to do was copy and paste my recipe into the site, put in the number of servings it makes and it calculates everything! It told me exactly how many calories were in a serving- and having to put in the number of servings helped me know how much to put on my plate!

Dessert/Snacks – 200 calories – I often had extra calories left over for dessert or an afternoon snack. There are a whole range of *delicious* single-serving sized desserts and treats out there that I had *no* clue about!! :) I hate to even call these desserts “low calorie” or “diet” because they do *not* taste that way. At all. They are delicious. My absolutely favorite? Weight Watcher’s Fudge Brownie Ice Cream. Oh my- It comes in a single serving 6oz cup- and it is *extremely* decadent and filling. And guess what. Only 140 calories. Oh yeah. Other favorites are Skinny Cow Ice Cream sandwiches (BIG sandwich for only 140 calories), Weight Watcher’s Giant Latte Bars (huge ice cream bar, tastes better than anything at Starbucks, and only 90 calories), and Weight Watcher’s Giant Cookies & Cream Bar (kinda like a Nestle Crunch Bar, 140 calories). And best of all, I could find it all at my regular grocery store (Kroger or Publix).

So now I could pretty easily figure out exactly how many calories I was eating for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts/snacks.

For a week I stuck to the whole 1200 calories a day thing. I tracked my calories on SparkPeople.net so I wouldn’t lose count during the day.

At the end of the first week I had lost 2.2 lbs.

I had *never* seen results like that before with anything else I’d tried. Seeing those results on the scale at the end of the week was enough encouragement for me to stick with it!

After 11 weeks, I had lost 20 lbs. And to date, I have lost a total 30 pounds.

I went from a size 10/12 to a size 4/6.

It’s been about 5.5 months since I started- Kevin joined in about 9 weeks ago and eats 1500-1600 calories a day. He’s lost 23 lbs so far! :) It’s really nice to have a calorie counting partner, and I’m so proud of the healthy choices he’s making- he’s started running at the gym at work during his lunch hour and ordering vegetables as side items instead of fries when he eats lunch at the cafeteria.

Some other things I did that I think helped make a difference?

The first, and probably most important thing- I switched to drinking only water. Since June 1st, I have had nothing to drink but water. Honestly, this was probably the hardest thing I did. I mean really, does anyone really ENJOY drinking tons of water?? I know I didn’t. It took probably 6-8 weeks before I didn’t reach over for my glass of water and wish it was something else! But now I can honestly say that I don’t miss it at all- and I actually crave water now! I feel healthier now that I’m drinking more water, and I have gotten several compliments on my skin lately- I didn’t really put two and two together until someone mentioned that it might be because of all the water I’m drinking now. But maybe so!

Another thing- and I don’t think this has anything to do with my weight loss, but it certainly has made me feel tons better- I started taking a multi-vitamin. Now I absolutely hate, hate, hate taking pills. Especially those giant horse pills they call multi-vitamins. And especially every day! Won’t do it. So what’s a girl to do? I found One-A-Day Vita Craves! :) They’re like fruit snacks!! Now the name is deceiving because you actually get to eat 2 of them a day (yes, I said *get* :)). And I have to say… They’re delicious! :blush: They taste like the sweet, chewy fruit snacks of my youth. :) My favorite is the sour gummies. I just keep the bottle on the table and take them after dinner so I don’t forget. But I wouldn’t forget because I actually really look forward to taking them every day! lol! It’s like a little sour fruit snack! lol! And I can definitely tell- they have made a huge difference. Everyone has noticed how much more *energy* I have now!

And one other thing I changed- and this one my doctor got on me about doing- I started eating *more* during the day and *less* at night. I used to be really bad about getting busy during the day and forgetting to eat- and then eating all my calories at night. “Running on empty all day, then filling the tank up before putting it in the garage at night” as my doctor put it. It was hard at first because I am usually not hungry *at all* first thing in the morning. But now I try to balance my calories throughout the day and not eat anything within 4 hours of going to bed- and I’ve noticed that now I am hungry first thing in the morning and it’s easier to get more calories in during the day now! :)

What’s been so great about doing it this way is that it’s something I can do myself- and anyone can do it. And it’s FREE! :) It doesn’t cost a thing. And I still get to eat all the foods I enjoy. We spent a week at the beach this summer and I ate what I wanted. It was indulgent and delicious, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The difference this time was that the “free for all” eating ended when I got home- and the next day I was right back on track. I am counting calories, but I’m still happy and able to enjoy myself without feeling deprived. I give myself one “cheat” meal a week- if Kevin and I want to go out to a new restaurant, or have dinner with friends, or have company over and make all those ridiculously sinful desserts you’ve been seeing me post about… :) It’s okay- I don’t stress out about it, or worry about the calories. All those things I’ve posted, I’ve been able have! It’s definitely not an every day or even an every week thing- but after counting calories and not cheating all week, it’s okay (and even good!) to give yourself a little reward. ;)

Now here are the obligatory before & after pics. ;)

30-pounds-weightloss-before-and-after

25 lbs weight loss before and after pictures

 

30 lb weight loss Before and After pics - Face

If you have any questions about what I did, please don’t hesitate to ask- I’d love to help in any way I can. :)

Edited to Add: Check out comments #23 and #117 for some of my answers to your questions! :)

Thanks so much for looking!



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See More Posts About: My Weight Loss Story

416 Comments






101
Christina Beach November 18, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Congratulations, Amanda!! You look amazing! I switched from processed foods to eating clean and it has made me feel beautiful inside and out. I’m a much happier and healthier person. My skin looks great. I tried it to lose a few pounds. I have lost the pounds but have gained so much more out of the whole lifestyle change! Congrats again!! Keep up the great work!!

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102
Charlene November 18, 2009 at 9:56 pm

That is so wonderful. I am truly happy for you!! You worked hard and it paid off cuz you look fabulous! :)

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103
HeatherB November 18, 2009 at 10:01 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. And your before and after pics – you look amazing! Good for you! :)

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104
Jaime November 18, 2009 at 10:04 pm

You have NO idea what you just did for me by posting this! Maybe sounds stupid, but you are an answer to my prayers! I have done the “work my A-off” and haven’t lost anything either! It is incredibly difficult when that happens. I have felt at a dead end, don’t know where to turn spot for a long time. Having 4 kids and battling depression for 6 years has really, really packed on the pounds and created really bad habits! When I was reading this I was thinking “duh!! why didn’t I think of this??” I’ve tried those Smart Choice meals and they aren’t too bad. I never thought of doing a “program” with it. Thanks for all the wonderful links you added too. I didn’t know such things existed!! Thank you thank you for posting this. You really have no idea what you have done!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!! Jaime:)

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105
Jaime November 18, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Oh, and also, you look INCREDIBLE!!! You really do. You have completely inspired me!

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106
Mandy November 18, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Congrats! That is an amazing accomplishment. Thanks for posting your story. :)

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107
Jaime November 18, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Oh also, maybe I missed it while reading, but what have you been doing for exercise????

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108
Collette November 18, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Thanks so much for sharing your story! You made it seem very easy to do. I love that you said it did not cost anything, because I have tried gyms, weight watchers, and all the other weight loss places that cost a fortune!
Your pictures are great! Congratulations and thanks for the encouragement! I can do it!

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109
Andrea November 18, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this, you have no idea how much it inspires me to start. I also have put on about 20 pounds since I got married and I feel it every day. I can’t wait to start this and really see how it goes. I should take a before picture and after like you did to really see the difference. :) Thanks again!

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110
Heather November 18, 2009 at 10:34 pm

This is only my second time to your blog and this post was EXACTLY what I needed today. I’ve never been a “skinny” girl but after being put on bedrest with my son, I gained several extra pounds. He is now 10 months old, and I have been wanting to lose this extra weight. I decided today that I wanted to take control and get back to my “normal” weight, but I didn’t want to have to do something that I knew I couldn’t stick with. THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this! You have just given me the motivation I need to get on the right track. Maybe I WILL get to wear that bikini next summer when I go to California. lol

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111
candace November 18, 2009 at 10:37 pm

Amanda,
I ran across your blog by a google search for scrappy blogs and i am SO glad I did. This post is amazing and inspiring. YOUR HOUSE, OH EMM GEE. you have inspired me in more than weightloss! may God continue to bless you and keep bloggin’ WE LOVE IT!

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112
Tamara November 18, 2009 at 10:52 pm

you look great! I had noticed over the last couple of weeks that you had shed some pounds…CONGRATS! It’s always so hard especially when all we see are “fad” diets and we don’t ever get told the information that makes them work. I had the same “duh” moment with a friend, she just counts calories and it really does work. I’ve used a site called Calorie King and it can help you out a lot! Thanks for sharing your story, it’s definately inspirational and encouraging!

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113
Ashley November 18, 2009 at 11:38 pm

I had wondered if you had been losing weight. You look great girl! I started Weight Watchers about 12 weeks ago and have lost about 13 pounds so far…I’ve decided that most “diet” programs don’t work. It all basically comes down to eating right and exercise. You gotta burn more calories than you consume. So excited for you and hope I can join you in “30 pound” loss!

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114
Monica November 18, 2009 at 11:59 pm

Awesome job — especially to do it on your own. That takes serious commitment. And, yes, you do look great.

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115
Veronica November 19, 2009 at 12:01 am

Wow Amanda, what an inspiration you are!!

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116
Heather November 19, 2009 at 12:03 am

Wow! I had noticed that you looked great in your recent pictures, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Thanks for the inspirational post!

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117
Amanda November 19, 2009 at 12:26 am

Hey Andrea! I drink just plain water, but Kevin prefers the 0 calorie flavored waters. :) He likes Aquafina and Fruit 2-0 the best (he doesn’t like the taste of the Dasani flavored waters because of the Splenda I think).

——————————

Heather, here is a good tool to use to calculate the number of calories you should be eating per day:

Calorie Target Calculator

When it asks though, I would choose “sedentary”- even if you fall under one of the other categories. :)

——————————

Elizabeth, I didn’t really come up with any new, “healthy” recipes… Just used portion control on all the favorite dishes I already knew and loved! :) I cut back on the oil and butter when I could, and tried using fat free and lower fat ingredients when I could. I wouldn’t sacrifice taste for lower calories, but like fat free cream cheese and sour cream work great, can’t tell the difference at all. Love the 2% shredded cheeses too. And I have mentioned these before in my recipe blog too, but I really like the Perfect Portions chicken- individually wrapped, 130 calorie chicken breasts. The only thing I normally don’t like to substitute is heavy cream with something like half and half or (shudder) milk (lol)- just gotta count the calories on that one. :) I’m also a big fan of soups- they are *very* filling and usually low calorie- here are my two top favs right now:

Cheeseburger Soup
Cheddar Chicken Chowder

And like here’s how I would “modify” one of my existing recipes, like Red Beans and Rice

First- skip the olive oil- just skip it all. :) Throw the sausage into a cold pan, then heat it up over medium heat- that’ll render plenty of fat from the sausage to use in place of the oil. It definitely won’t stick to the pan either. You can even drain off all the fat it renders to cut down even more, but I don’t. If you make the dish using 1 lb of sausage and 1 can of red beans, and divide that into 4 servings and serve each plate with 1/2 cup of cooked rice, (you can also skip the butter in the rice- I do) it’s about 575 calories. (Did ya get all that? lol). Not too bad- but you can also modify it- only use 1/2 lb of sausage and double the beans- use two cans. When split into 4 servings and served with 1/2 cup rice, it’s only about 475 calories. Even better! But! If you use 1/2 lb sausage and 1 can of beans, divide it into 4 servings and serve with 1/2 cup of rice… It’s only about 385 calories per serving! And very filling too.

I used the Recipe Analysis tool at the CalorieCount.com site to figure all that up and play around with the numbers.

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118
crystal m. November 19, 2009 at 12:37 am

wow…congrats you look great!

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119
Liza G November 19, 2009 at 1:37 am

Hi Amanda! Well, I’ve been following your blog for over 6 years now and it’s funny – I never noticed your weight gain, but I recently started noticing how much weight you’ve lost! You look fantastic. I just started down my path to a healthier diet this week. My two older kids are getting married next year and I want to look good for the wedding. Not to mention all the cute clothes I can buy once I’ve lost the weight. I have 40 pounds to lose so wish me luck! Thanks for all the tips. Oh and in case you haven’t tried them yet – Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches are the best!!

Cheers!

Liza

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120
Úrsula November 19, 2009 at 1:38 am

Congratulations Amanda! I also have been losting weight for the last year, but not too much, because the only thing I did was being carefully with sweets, butter and very fat or heavy dishes. The truth is that I didn’t count calories, but now I’m not loosing more weight so I think I’m going to start counting calories too. I also like doing “Pilates” I don’t know if it’s the american name for this sport. But If you know what I mean I recommend it to everybody because it’s not a hard sport, it’s so funny and very good for your back and neck. If you lost weight and if you have some more vitamines you will fell better, It’s true!! Anyway I’m very surprising, your husband has a gym at work!! Oh my god, here in Spain it seems imposible!! All the best for you Amanda.

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121
Lauren November 19, 2009 at 2:08 am

Congrats Amanda! You look great. This is a really inspiring story just for me to get healthier in general. Thanks!

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122
Luciana November 19, 2009 at 3:48 am

Congratulations Amanda!

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123
Ana November 19, 2009 at 4:21 am

Thank you so much, this has been sooooo inspirational. You have done really well and are looking ace.
Thanks again for all your tips.

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124
Joni S. November 19, 2009 at 4:56 am

YAY Amanda!!! You Go Girl!!!

Your Weight loss is absolutely wonderful!! I am so thrilled that you are so thrilled! I’ve fortunately never had a weight problem, except I can’t keep weight ON me…but many, many friends have had weight problems and I know how you feel. There is nothing worse than wanting so badly to change and not knowing how or it just not working out. That part is horrible BUT it sounds like you’re a pretty Sharp Cookie!! (Good thing you didn’t leave Kevin behind!!) I’m sure you feel loads better and Kevin too.

You should take great pride in your accomplishments. It does NOT sound line bragging at all. You very well stated the facts and explained things so that anyone desiring to lose weight could read, take tips from and achieve themselves.

Kudos to you!! YAY Amanda!! YAY Kevin!!

(Your Cheering Crowd Here!!)

Hugs!

Joni

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125
audrey crisp November 19, 2009 at 5:23 am

GREAT JOB!!!

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126
Alison November 19, 2009 at 6:20 am

Thanks for sharing Amanda, I thought you’d lost weight when I saw the pictures of you with your new car. You look so healthy and happy. I’ve been looking for a website like Sparkpeople for ages, so I’m very grateful to you for showing the way. Losing weight isn’t rocket science, but getting motivated and focussed is very hard without the right tools. I’m also a great believer in eating moderately at home, and darn well enjoying yourself when you go out, but this only works if you don’t go out all the time LOL! Thanks also for all the other great things in your blog, I’ve been following for some time, just haven’t commented before now.

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127
Wendi November 19, 2009 at 6:32 am

Awesome!! I appreciate your post–it has definitely motivated me to get off my ever-increasing tail and do something! Every Christmas at our big family get together, I tell myself that I’m going to be skinnier next year, but it never happens. Maybe if I start NOW I can be skinnier this Christmas!!
THANKS!

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128
Angel Johns November 19, 2009 at 6:58 am

Amanda- I just have to say that I am so inspired by your story and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I have been struggling with my weight for about 5 years now. I was a size 4 about 7 years ago and I am not pushing a size 14. I am so miserable with it and unable to get into all those *smaller* size clothes that are just staring me in the face when I walk into my closet. I am definitely going to try your method and see how it works for me. I don’t like going on **diets** either because depriving myself doesn’t work for me. I will definitely have to get back into Jillian’s 30 day shred because I felt so good when I did it. She is a maniac but she is good. I appreciate you sharing your success with me. I only hope that I can stick with and see good results.

Angel

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129
Kim Bell November 19, 2009 at 7:32 am

Way to go!! I did this myself about 4 years ago, lost 30 lbs., and the weight has stayed off. The water was the key for me! Congratulations!!

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130
Niki November 19, 2009 at 7:56 am

I had to have a full hysterectomy at 30 and gained 30 pounds with in the 3 months following and have been slowly gaining more ever since. I’ve not been able to shed it, even after doing weight watchers for a full year (along with my husband, who lost 62 lbs!). I went into another well known weight loss center and they basically laughed in my face. Just because I’m not obese doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be allowed to try to lose weight. I’m only 5ft tall so 30 lbs sits heavier on me than on taller women. I went from a size 2 to a size 8/10. Everyone says I’m still slender – they think an 8/10 is still okay, but that’s a big jump for my frame and I feel very uncomfortable and unwell. I admit was a bit skinny to start with, so I’d be happy loosing just 15 lbs. I gave up sodas and juices a couple of years ago, gave up bread for the most part, and gave up sweets entirely. I drink only water and milk. I am required to drink a lot of milk because of early onset menopause (osteoperosis), and I *forced* myself to change to skim (yuck). Still, I am slowly gaining and not losing. My admittedly unsteady attempts at exercise (difficult schedule)hasn’t helped either. I just asked Santa for a Wii Fit and a stationary bike last night (wink,wink). Thanks for the websites and other suggestions. I am going to check into them!! I hope I can be just as successful as you!

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131
christy November 19, 2009 at 7:59 am

I just have to add in that I am always so inspired by your newsletters. It’s so funny that just after I decided to try changing my food habits, you posted this email with more tips! Thanks so much! You’re an inspiration to all of us. :)

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132
sambeaux November 19, 2009 at 8:06 am

Since i have been battling weight issues a good friend told me about your success. My hats off to you for getting your mind in gear and how you stuck to it and lost weight.. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 2 months ago and had to start watching what i eat and drink. Soft drinks was the hardest switching to diet instead of the real thing. Just doing that i did lose 10# however i seem to be at a plateau at 308.. Seriously, the only water i get right now is if i drink tea…. I am going to try to “just” drink water and i have to start walking of which its just hard to get motivated after work even though we have a treadmill sitting by the tv. Anyway, keep up the good work, your story has sparked inspiration for me…. May you have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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133
Jennifer Hendricks November 19, 2009 at 8:10 am

You do look fantastic Amanda! Congratulations on your weight loss…and you will inspire so many people to take the next step!

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134
Ali November 19, 2009 at 8:18 am

What an inspiration girl! And thanks for the interesting info and facts too! I myself have put on a “couple” of happily-married/had a baby pounds so it is always encouraging when someone else succeeds losing those pounds – thanks for the jumpstart!

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135
Missy J November 19, 2009 at 8:18 am

You go girl!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your story. You look awesome.

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136
Denise November 19, 2009 at 8:19 am

Congrats! SparkPeople is a great site, eh? You look very fit–especially in your new clothes! I suppose it’s time for me to get serious. Being conscious of intake seems to be a big key–hundreds of calories sneak in without even noticing. Think of it this way–if your exercise level stays the same and you have an extra 200 calorie snack above and beyond what you need to maintain your weight, you’d put on about an extra 20 pounds a year. EEK!!!

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137
CHELSEY November 19, 2009 at 8:31 am

{WOW} YOU LOOK AMAZING! WHAT A GREAT SUCCESS STORY. I KNOW THE WHOLE DIET AND EXERCISE THING ALL TOO WELL. AND NEVER DO I LOOSE ENOUGH POUNDS TO EVEN NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE! I’M GOING TO TRY THIS WHOLE 1200 CALORIE INTAKE, AND HOPEFULLY MAKE IT WORK FOR ME. THANKS FOR POSTING YOUR SUCCESS AND THE PICTURES DIFFENTILY MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND MAKE ME WANT TO DO IT! {WAHOO} FOR YOUR 30 POUNDS!

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138
Kathy November 19, 2009 at 8:44 am

You look AMAZING!!!!!! Congratulations on sticking to it!

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139
Liz November 19, 2009 at 9:05 am

THANK YOU THANK YOU!! I love this post. I was worried when I started reading it was just going to be another boxed food ad. I am just starting the C25k program so I was a little sad to hear you didn’t see anything from that. But then I read you are on SparkPeople! I found the site last year and I love it. I watched what I ate and did exerice for 3 months last year and lost almost 15 lbs and then I fell back into my out routine (my best friend moved and she was my greatest motivator.) Just about a month ago I found my way back to the site and I’m already seeing results. I have a 1,300-1,700 range a day and while I use an elliptical I needed to mix it up so I started C25k this week.

I keep saying I don’t want a diet, I want a lifestyle change. I need something I can use for the rest of my life. Just learning the calories of things or having general ideas will help me forever – I’ve learned what a real portion looks like. I can have a piece of cake and not feel like I’m cheating.

Thank you SOOO much for the encouragement and great motivation. This post is great!!

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140
Laura November 19, 2009 at 9:06 am

Amanda-
Congrats, you look great! Thanks for stopping by yesterday and leaving a comment, you made my day!

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141
Becca November 19, 2009 at 9:18 am

Hey Amanda! You look fabulous! I totally noticed your weight loss over the past few months (from pictures that you’ve posted on facebook). Congrats on sticking with it, you’ve totally motivated me! I even sent this link to my mom and she loved it as well!

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142
Kymberly (aka Writermom1 @2peas) November 19, 2009 at 9:27 am

Glad I could help! It was my son (12) winning a two-month supply of Nutrasystem foods at a charity auction that led to my realization after years of wondering that there was “nothing to see here.”

I’m so glad I could inspire you – and myself! (Down 23 pound so far – you blow me away!)

I needed to see a doctor (you know that part we almost ALL gloss over in the “getting ready to lose weight” articles? Yeah, don’t do that. Go See Your Doctor!)

I also needed to

a) Eat Less
b) Move more

I know right? Who knew!

I’m so glad you have had such lovely results. I’m still a work in progress and your sharing your success is inspiring!

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143
Jacque Foster November 19, 2009 at 9:57 am

I have been thinking to myself that you and Kevin did look like you were smaller :)—- thanks for sharing the easy no big $$$$$ plan-
mamajax

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144
Alish November 19, 2009 at 10:35 am

Good For you! And thanks for sharing. It is always inspiring to see that someone lost weight in a healthy practical way.

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145
Molly November 19, 2009 at 11:01 am

oh and I forgot to ask – do you drink milk at any meals? or are you strictly only drinking water?

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146
Nancy November 19, 2009 at 11:22 am

You are absolutely beautiful – inside and out!!! Thanks for taking the time to tell us your weight loss story!!

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147
macy November 19, 2009 at 1:08 pm

You look absolutely BEAUTIFUL Amanda!!! Great job on sticking to your plan!! You look really awesome & keep it up :)

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Megan November 19, 2009 at 1:34 pm

I’ve been thinking about doing something too. I wanted to lose weight before I got pregnant and then especially now! I have cut back on the amount of soda I drink and am trying on other things – however, it is hard! I might try this and see what I can do. I just saw a recent pic of me and it upsets me to see me that way. So thanks for posting!!! And you look GREAT!

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sarah goodwin November 19, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Congrats! Losing weight is challenging-both mentally and physically but it can be done – so thanks for sharing your story to inspire others! I have a similar story- I lost over 50 lbs and have kept it off for 5 years now, expect this past year I gained 10 back that I am trying to lose and it’s much harder than the first time! I created my own plan too. I ate between 1200-1400 calories (no less than 1200 because that is super dangerous and also it made me feel terrible, headaches,no energy, etc if I ate less). 5 meals a day, three meals between 300-400 calories and 2 snacks around 100 in between meals so that I was eating every few hours. I did eat frozen meals but some had way too much sodium for me so I started eating lots of lean protein (veggie burgers & hotdogs, chicken, tuna, turkey burger) and unlimited fruits/veggies. I exercised 5-6 days weekly, cardio and strength training (yoga, running, pilates, taebo, jillian michaels shred, p90x, chalean extreme – I mix it up so I dont get bored). Lots of water and coffee :) and multivitamin. I had a cheat day or two a week so I didn’t feel deprived or left out when I went out to dinner with friends-but never overindulged and got back on track for the next week. Since losing the weight and because I am much more active I eat 1400-1600 calories daily. My recent weight gain of almost 10 lbs came from this summer when i was in study abroad program in the Caribbean where I was unable to exercise daily and ate everything they handed me! It was hard to keep good habits,but I will go back on the 1200-1400 calorie plan and increase my workouts to drop the extra lbs.
Thanks again for sharing your story Amanda! I think it’s very important for people to know that they can lose weight and don’t have to have any fancy equipment or expensive diets.

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Collette November 19, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Amanda, Thanks so very much for posting your weight loss tips….and how you did it!! I’ve only been a subscriber for a few weeks, so I didn’t notice the weight loss, but I can say when I looked at your photos from your hike I noticed how much your skin glowed. Thanks again…………you’re an inspiration!!!!

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Amy November 19, 2009 at 1:54 pm

You are an inspiration! The one thing that keeps me from losing weight is my belief that I can’t do it. I love reading about your approach and your success… congratulations!

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Kristen November 19, 2009 at 2:28 pm

You look amazing Amanda. I’ve been a regular reader of your blog for several years now and have loved reading about all of your adventures. I too have tried countless times to lose weight but have had no success. I considered the NutriSystem and Jenni Craig programs, but like you, was unable to see the need. I’m not obese, but could definitely stand to lose a few pounds (I’m hoping around 20lbs). I’m so inspired by your story. You’ve given me hope that I CAN do it on my own with a few simple, but crucial changes. Thank you for the inspiration!

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Teresa November 19, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Amanda!
First of all “thank you” for this detailed post! As soon as I began reading I popped up and got my notebook and pen to jot down all that you did!
I think it’s fabulous that you put forth the effort to figure it all out on your own…and doesn’t it feel great to wake up each day and know that it’s in your control to maintain your fabulous new look!
I don’t even know you and I kept thinking she looks so good…like you were refreshed and energetic! So I did see the difference!
I know what you mean about the ‘marriage’ weight gain. Greg and I do love to eat together! This summer I spent at my parents farm…swimming…walking…everything…and watching what I ate big time! Felt like dynamite at the end of the summer! Then I get back to Seattle with Greg and begin eating all of these fabulous foods…now my tummy is bulging over my pants! Yuk!
Thanks for the inspiration!
I am a fitness finatic! Walk…run…lift weights! But I need to get my act together when it comes to my eating. And I adore the way you rewarded yourself with the one meal spluge a week! Yeah!
Did you journal your daily food?
What about salt?
And how much exercize did you do weekly?
Yep! Love those sour gummie daily vitamens…I have the Flintstones!
Thanks for the detailed plan Amanda!
Sounds great for the holidays!
Teresa

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Teresa November 19, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Oh…and again I will tell you!
I think everything you do is fabulous!
Kevin is a LUCKY man!
I added several of your buttons to my sidebar!
XXOOXX

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Ashley November 19, 2009 at 2:43 pm

That is so awesome! Anyone who has success with weight loss is awesome. I have been trying to lose 30 pounds for the last 8 months…but nothing has worked. I exercise at least 30 minutes (sometimes more) each day at the gym.

Congrats!!

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Alisha November 19, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Thanks for the pep-talk, Amanda! You’re an inspiration and I love how ‘real’ you are with your blog followers :)

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Brooke November 19, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Amanda…you look great!! Such an accomplishment! My mom just recently lost 100 pounds simply counting calories. It works! Thanks for sharing!

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Kelly November 19, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Lookin’ good! The last few pics I’ve seen, I’ve thought to myself that you were looking slimmer (I’m jealous! ;)). I’ve recently been noticing just how much “happily married fluff” I’ve put on since we were married in 2006 and I was just thinking today that I’ve got to do something but got overwhelmed when I started reading online. You could not have posted this at a better time. I feel more motivated now to actually start doing what my body and life deserves. Thanks for the tips and I hope I have some success. You really helped put it all in perspective for me. Thank you!

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Lauren Elizabeth November 19, 2009 at 7:26 pm

Hi again! I’ve got another thing…
I’m a vegetarian, and as far as I know… There are very few things like that, that I would be able to eat. :(
Your plan sounds wonderful, but… I don’t know how I would modify it. :(

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Susie S. November 19, 2009 at 10:13 pm

When I saw the picture of you with the new car, I thought you looked tiny! Good work and thanks for the motivation!

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Christy November 20, 2009 at 7:13 am

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This came at just the right time! I have been trying to lose weight and getting nothing out of it but frustration. So I think that I am going to try it the “Amanda” way and maybe I will have “before and after” photos to share myself!!!!! ((I have quite the way to go though…..70lbs :( ))
Thanks again!

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Sarah November 20, 2009 at 11:12 am

That’s so cool, Amanda! :) Good for you – - I just had our first baby…and wow, did that help “pack on the pounds!” :( I was always average and fit – and when I got married – THEN had a baby, EVERYTHING changed. Oiy…and I have NO idea how to diet, either! So, The Hubs and I are starting an excercise program together (TTapp) and making healthier food choices! :) We’ll see what happens…only 10 days into the workout and I’ve already lost 1.5 inches around the middle! Phew!

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Melissa November 20, 2009 at 11:17 am

Hey, Amanda!
Wow, you look so great! I know you have seen my blog before (b/c you’ve helped me with the header!), but did you know i have a weight loss blog, too? It’s http://www.melissavenableweightloss.blogspot.com. It is SO hard & i have about 100+ to lose! :( I use sparkpeople also & it’s great! Both Sparkpeople & Calorie Count recommend between 1700 & 2100 calories for me, though (b/c of my weight) so i try to stick to 1800/1900 b/c i figure that’s a happy medium. However, i average about 1700 a day. Maybe this is too much?? B/c you’re doing 1200 & losing a lot more. (I’ve only lost 8 pounds & i’ve been doing this awhile now!) I’m sure 1200 is not enough for me simply b/c of my weight, but maybe they are wrong in recommending me that many? oh, i don’t know! what do you think?

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Jess November 20, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Great work Amanda! I’ve been discovering very similar things lately. When it comes down to how to lose weight effectively, it really is soooo simplistic! I used sparkpeople too, and it was great! I also took up yoga, which was more just for lengthening and strengthening then weight loss, but it makes me feel great! I was told by a personal trainer once that your body can only handle a few hundred calories at a time, and the rest gets stored as fat. That really stuck with me. I used to be really bad about only eating lunch (only because I was too busy, not because I was trying to lose weight), but that lunch was a 1000+ calorie meal. I couldn’t understand why I was overweight. Then after having it explained to me in such a simple way, it made sense and it’s a very easy thing to understand and to follow in your daily life!

One of my friends, who is somewhat of a “debbie downer” scoffed at me when I told her I was counting calories. She said I couldn’t just count calories forever. I nicely agreed with her, and said, “Yes, you’re right, but when you do it religiously at first, you educate yourself as to what’s okay to eat and what’s not, and just how much of it you should have, and you train your body to recognize when you’ve had enough”!

Also, another small change I made, was that I used to always “save the best for last”. Such as, on chicken pot pie, the crust is my fave, so I would eat all the other stuff first, and then eat the crust and end up STUFFED! Uncomfortably stuffed! It’s made a difference. Now I eat the best parts first, so I don’t feel like I *have to* continue eating when I’m really not hungry anymore.

All those little changes have made a big difference in my life! I’ve lost all but the last few 3-5 lbs that I’m working on, and that part is the toughest, but I know I’m doing the right things.

Thanks for sharing your story! You look great!

Jess — Jax, FL

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Ashley November 20, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Wow! So amazing! & Congratulations!
You have no idea how happy I am that you posted this. About three years ago I started drinking just water, and I have had people tell me that I have lost a ton of weight, BUT recently I have noticed that I have gained weight. I’m not happy with it. I just don’t feel as good as I use too. I do have to say that I think most of it is because I quit exercising,(I finally did my first cardio/aerobics workout today since August! ahh!) and I have noticed that during the day, just as you said, I become to busy and eat like crazy at night! Thank you so much for this! I’m going to put it into practice! Hopefully in a few months I’ll have my before and after pics up!

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shanda November 20, 2009 at 4:31 pm

You inspire me. I think I might try. I am looking to loose 20lbs.

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Cara November 20, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Wow, your story is so inspiring! I’ve been racking my brain, trying to figure out how I can lose the weight I’ve gained since high school, but there really aren’t any detailed plans out there that seem doable. Sharing your story was definitely worth it because it’s given me hope! Thank you so much, Amanda! You really have no idea how great it was to read about your weight-loss success & know that I can do it too. You should be very proud. :)

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Suzie November 20, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Hey girl!! Great job! I’m on the weight loss trek myself, haven’t said much to anyone either for fear of failure. It’s easier to not say anything than to risk everyone knowing nothing has changed.

My regimen is a bit different. I’ve tried the WW thing several times and did well with it… but I just love food to much to write down everything all the time. I can’t stick with it.

This time I’ve started with exercise three days a week while my little guys at preschool, lots of water, and chocolate. Yep, chocolate!

I’ll explain… there’s a new healthy chocolate on the market now that is great. Chocolate itself is an appetite suppressant, but the way America prepares it it is fat laden and unhealthy for you, even most of what’s in the grocery store. Not only that, it offers amazing health benefits… see my blog for my mom’s story at PoweredByCocoa.blogspot.com

Anyway… I’m feeling better, more energized and loving my new routines, and I get to eat a piece of chocolate 3 times a day. I’ve lost about 10 lbs in 8-9 weeks, but am gaining muscle (doing weight machines at the gym) and feeling more tone while I eat what I want.

Hubby and I almost complained recently when we went to a buffet style meal because neither of us could eat what we’re used to … and I’m actually feeling like popcorn for dinner tonight, not really hungry- which is not the old me!

Feel free to shoot me any questions if you want to know more… it’s great!

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Kristin November 20, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Amanda, I felt like I was reading my own story when I was reading yours. I was a size 10/12 and now I am a 4/6. I did it with portion control and exercise. A good tip is to eat on a smaller plate, it tricks your mind to think you are eating more than you actually are. Another thing that really helped me was Dr. Oz’s YOU ON A DIET. It is not your typical “diet” book. This book tells you how your body uses the food you eat, it helps you re-think your body and what you put in it.

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Tina Cockburn November 20, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Wow. You look so amazing, and your story is so inspiring. I have at least 30lbs to lose and I love how easy this weight loss has been for you. Congrats to you both, and thank you for sharing this info with the rest of us!

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Suzanne November 21, 2009 at 9:39 am

I really appreciate that the before pic is just as nice a pic as the after pic. I mean, all those weight loss pill commercials make the person look manic depressive on the before pic and then all beautiful and well-dressed in the after!

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Jennie Larrsen November 21, 2009 at 9:51 am

YOU ROCK GIRL! great after photo! way to go!!! YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION, AND i love that you did it all on your own! I feel so much inspiration from you. I am going to drink water all day NO’ Pepsi One!

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Jennie Larsen November 21, 2009 at 9:52 am

Sorry I had my last name spelled wrong ;)

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Jennie Larsen November 21, 2009 at 9:55 am

Last thing… COME BY MY BLOG.. I am having a great “Coach” purse wristlet giveaway

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Rita November 21, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Congratulations, you look absolutely beautiful! I have always that those frozen dinners would be an excellent way to lose weight and your proved my point.

I need to do something and I might try this out. I don’t need to lose much weight, but I am so flabby compared to how I was in my 20′s… So thanks for the amazing tips!

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Jenni K November 21, 2009 at 2:20 pm

I thought you looked SUPER skinny in those pictures you posted about your new car. Congratulations! You look fabulous. This was a good reminder to me to be keeping track of what I eat.

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Audrey Campbell November 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm

Wow! You have definitely inspired me. I have packed on roughly 30 pounds since DH & I got engaged 6 years ago. I used to be a size 4 and am now a 10. I never thought it would be possible to wear such a small size again, but you have motivated me to try! Thanks for your story and your tips!

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Brook F November 21, 2009 at 11:16 pm

The difference is amazing! Your skin does look better, and you look younger too! Not saying that you looked old before, you just look fresher and full of energy! This blog post was really helpful to me and I plan to start using your tips! Thanks for sharing!!

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Emily November 22, 2009 at 12:53 am

I found your blog through Crystal’s blog (she’s an old friend of mine), and I have to tell you that you have inspired me to finally get going. I have been married for 8 years and have put on about 10 “happily married” pounds…. per year. Yuck. It’s easy to be discouraged and feel helpless, but your straightforward system was just what I needed to see. So thanks for putting it out there!

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Stephanie November 22, 2009 at 6:48 am

Thank you for sharing your story!! I am having a hard time losing the weight I have put on since having kids. I was always slim and now I am overweight and it is so depressing. I used to love clothes, but now I dread getting dressed! You’ve really inspired me. The key to weight loss is simple and no frills!!! You look wonderful! Congratulations on your hard work! And thanks for your super cool fonts and backgrounds! Happy Thanksgiving!

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Ria C November 22, 2009 at 7:31 am

Wow, you’re amazing! I am so happy to see and read successful stories of people who lost weight and stuck to the practice. I wish I can do that too but we don’t have any Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem here in Dubai.

Congratulations on your new and healthier self! Way to go!

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Hannah November 22, 2009 at 3:31 pm

You look great! =)

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Hannah November 22, 2009 at 3:35 pm

I gave up pop about two months ago (I mean, who wants the empty calories) and it’s been great! The first few weeks were hard (i. e., want a rootbeer float?) but since then, it’s been really awesome to have someone offer me soad, and I’ll say. “That’s okay, I don’t drink it.” ^^

–Hannah

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Beverly crockett November 22, 2009 at 8:26 pm

What an inspiration! I really only have about 10 lbs to lose but I can certainly feel it! I have the desire until it comes time to do something. I really need to keep reminding myself how good you look! You should be so proud – you look wonderful!

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Lorie November 22, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Before and after pictures are always so inspirational. You looked great before, but I agree that you do look amazing now! And you look so healthy and fit. And like you are really enjoying the change!

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Jenny November 23, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Congratulations Amanda! Seriously – wow. Thank you so very much for detailed post and links. I’ve always wanted sometime like the recipe analyst at calorie count, but had no idea it actually existed. I’m a 10/12 now and I’ve been trying {I say that loosely} to lose this added marriage/baby weight for the past two year.

Thank you for being such a wonderful inspiration. My healthier eating starts today!

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Jenny November 23, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Congratulations Amanda! Seriously – wow. Thank you so very much for detailed post and links. I’ve always wanted something like the recipe analyst at calorie count, but had no idea it actually existed. I’m a 10/12 now and I’ve been trying {I say that loosely} to lose this added marriage/baby weight for the past two year.

Thank you for being such a wonderful inspiration. My healthier eating starts today!

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Tina November 23, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Stupdendous JOB!! Amazing, I love coming to your site to your cheery posts and reading great entries like this one :) I, too am an avid water drinker…I haven’t had a soda in about 8 years! I added coffee in the morning, but other than that, I drink only water. I need to do better about keeping meals in me during the day and I’ve thought about the couch to 5K program, but haven’t done it just yet :) Thanks for the inspiration, you look fabulous!

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Debi Kelley November 23, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Wow, how awesome….and you do look terrific…. Think I may just have to try that. Thanks for sharing… I’m so glad I found this wedsite. It’s so interesting and fun.
Thanks for all the work you do on it..
Debi

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Joan November 23, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Awesome! I’m inspired now…well, maybe after the holidays.

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Lynsey November 23, 2009 at 3:24 pm

I read this the other day but didn’t have time to comment! I have been thinking about rejoining Weight Watchers but don’t want to part with the $40/mo. Your plan sounds really similar–and FREE–so I am going to start that. You know, the day after Thanksgiving. :)

Thank you!

And you look great!

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Lindsey November 23, 2009 at 3:30 pm

i am so glad you posted this! i have a medical condition that makes me gain weight very fast and it happens randomly. My last gain was 55 lbs in 6 weeks. Your post made everything seem so simple! I have been reading and attempting diets a lot lately but I end up just getting frustrated. I’ve already started trying things your way. Thanks for the tips! And you look great!

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Gina November 23, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Wow! That is so awesome. I knew you were looking skinnier. All I can think of now is 20 lbs in 11 weeks! If I went from my current size 12 to a 4/6 I’d think I died and gone to heaven. Just recently I managed to lose 10 lbs by only tracking my calories using a cool app that I got for my IPOD, I think it’s called Lose It. Unfortunately I stopped tracking and gained it all back in 3 months. You’ve inspired me. I’m going to go for it again.

Thanks for sharing your story.

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Cuchi November 23, 2009 at 7:53 pm

My Sister is fan of your Website and she email me your Loss Weight Story. Thank you very much for sharing it with all of us, I start the Nutrisystem Diet a week ago and i really hope to loss weight I only asking to lose 10 Lbs and i’ll be very happy, I hope i can get to my goal soon i will keep your ideas to inspire me.
Thank you again. I hope to write you back soon letting you know that I lost 10 lbs.
Thank you Nene for sending me this story.

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Laina November 23, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Very inspirational, thank you for that. I have stuggles with weight gain ever since having kids and my youngest is now 7 almost 8! I have never done any real dieting, as I don’t really believe in them as I know what I put in my mouth needs to be more about a life plan. I have recently started to do exactly what you are doing. (just keeping my calories in check!) and going for walks and doing sit ups. Things are going well and I have lot 10 pounds. I was curious, just how long has it taken you to lose the 30? I feel too that I’m very much like you same, build with the same amount to lose. Just seeing how awesome you look with 30 less pounds, proves to me even more that the payoff is going to look great!:)

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Ginny November 23, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Well congrats to you! I know you don’t want to hear that, but what an accomplishment.

My main reason for commenting though, thanks for all the info. You gave a ton of great tips & it is really encouraging to read. Thanks again for the post!

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Tawnya November 24, 2009 at 11:57 am

I needed this post! I try to make it difficult by keeping track of to much information. I think I will give it a go of counting calories. I am not by a computer all day so I have a hard time tracking on the computer, did you find any good printable food diaries?

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Andrea November 25, 2009 at 11:15 am

You look awesome. I love that you did this without subscribing to expensive weight loss programs. My husband and I are fed up with our weight and ready to do something about it. I’m going to use your photos as inspiration. While in the process, I know it will seem like I’ll never get there, but you did and I can too. Thanks for sharing!

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Anna November 25, 2009 at 11:15 pm

I am starting Monday! This is just what I was looking for.

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Cheri Peoples November 26, 2009 at 6:49 am

Thanks for sharing-I’m working at getting the baby pounds off.

I will be following your blog and hope you will come by for a visit.

Cheri

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