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 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 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. ;)


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


Rhonda August 8, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I’ve been checking out your website for some time now and this is the first time I’ve read about your weight loss! I’ve recently lost weight, too and it’s been the same way you have. 1200 calories a day….exercise….and journaling everything. It works. I also decided to eat whatever I want. I just use portion control and my kitchen scale is a huge key to my success. :) I feel better than I have in a long time. I enjoy eating and I look forward to it each and every day. I think it helps when you are eating what you want & feel like you have no restrictions.
Congrats to you, Amanda! You are such a talented person and I love your creativity and ideas!!!!
Thanks a million!


Rebekah August 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I found your site searching for DSLR tips and stumbled across your weight loss journey. I’m sold! Started today! Thanks for the great resources.


Donna August 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Your story has really inspired me. Being disabled, it’s very difficult to do the “diet and exercising” in a normal manner. I also have many allergies to preservatives, but with a calculating program, I think I can do this! Both for myself and my husband. For sure it doesn’t come off just thinking about it!

One big thing we will need to do, too, is stop parking that car in the garage at night when it’s full!! Great analogy!



Jeff Blackwell September 14, 2011 at 11:18 am

Would you happen to have any before & after pictures of your husband? Not that I’m interested in him. Show me that and I’m sold and will give your program a try. I am about 50 pounds overweight and so are 60 million other americans. And you look great top to bottom!


Jaimie September 14, 2011 at 9:13 pm

I’m so sorry if someone already asked this – there are over 300 comments so I couldn’t read through them all, but I only have 1 question – how were you not STARVING with only 1200 calories? That is my biggest obstacle with cutting calories – I feel so hungry. Did you experience this, and what did you do about it? I didn’t notice any snacks in your daily plan so I was just wondering. THANK YOU – because I am SO encouraged and inspired by your story!


lisa September 23, 2011 at 8:18 am

thanks for sharing- i have referred back to this post at least a dozen times in the last month. i lost 38 pounds about 5 years ago and have re-gained 14 since then. scary. so 3 weeks ago, i went back to the gym and back on restricted calories. and i’ve dropped 2 pounds. i’m on the right track now, and i appreciate the support this post has provided.


Alana October 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Amanda – Wow!! You are inspiring!! Way to go on losing weight on your own. I love that you did it your own way – you’ve motivated me to try it! You look fabulous!


Angela October 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm

So glad I stumbled upon this blog and this entry! I had my second son nearly 10 months ago and started planning to get the weight off almost immediately. Did a 5k at 5 months postpartum and to date have lost around 25 lbs. To reach my goal, I have 35 to go. I’ve been disciplined with exercise but had fallen off the wagon with my calorie counting and thus the weight loss stopped. Reading this blog entry has given me the motivation to jump back on the wagon and finish this thing! My goal is to reach my wedding weight. I want to have before and after photos like yours!


Kelli Goede November 7, 2011 at 11:57 am

I am so inspired and encouraged by your story! Did you exercise at all to lose the weight? I love to exercise and I was wondering if the 1200 calories took that into account, I was thinking of modifying it to 1400 a day to allow for the calories burned through exercise (usually running a few miles). You look awesome!


Kelly Vaught November 20, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I’m so motivated for the first time in life! Your story is EXACTLY everything I’ve thought and/or experienced! I’m 44, 5 ft. 5″ and weigh 158 (almost to the 160). My mother always said, if you get over 140 lbs. you better watch out, it will rise fast after that. She was right. About a year ago, I was wearing a size 8, had no cellulite and looked decent. Now, I’m a size 12. Never, did I think this would happen to me. Why, I don’t know. I’m not special or anything. lol. Something about getting over 40, having two children and never exercising will finally catch up with you. This will be an enormous challenge as I’m addicted to coffee in the am and sweet tea all day. I’ll have maybe one glass of water all day. Thank you so kindly for taking the time to help me and people like me. I’m pumped and ready to start this challenge. If only you could know how awesome you and your story is! Thank you immensely.


Danielle Lehman November 25, 2011 at 10:52 pm

I LOVE this advice/plan because I too, do not want to spend the money on any of those diet deals! Question though, what was your exercise routine like?


Savory Simple November 26, 2011 at 11:38 am

What an inspiring story. I am loving your website!


Vicki Patton November 27, 2011 at 11:38 am

You look great! I was reading through your weight loss details and something stuck with me and reminded me of what my doctor said… 1. never ever skip breakfast. Eat anything and everything you want. 2. walk 30 minutes a day. 3. never eat supper. 4. IF IT TASTES SWEET DONT DRINK IT! YOUR BODY STILL THINKS IT’S SWEET EVEN IF IT IS DIET. I haven’t been willing to give up my sweet tea yet. :-(


Christina Aronen November 27, 2011 at 2:58 pm

What a really great story!! Thanks for sharing. I did enjoy reading about all the things you tried before. We are always looking for a “quick fix” and your information is quicker than all the packaged ones. It is something all your readers can do today :)


Laurie Vorrath November 29, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Hi Amanda,
I was just checking out your Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie N Oreo Fudge Brownie Bar recipe and commenting to my husband at how skinny you are but yet you are always baking, eating, buying and photographing such sweet treats and I did not realize that you had a weight issue – good job on losing 30 pounds! How do you continue to keep the weight down??


Amy H. December 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Hi Amanda,
First off CONGRATULATIONS! I have lost 103 lbs and have managed to keeep it off for three years. Every pound lost is a struggle and a victory all at the same time!

I just wanted to share how funny I thought it was that I clicked on your before/after weightloss story that was right next to the recipe for Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie n’ Oreo Fudge Brownie Bar. The placement on the page struck me as amusing. The recipe loaded with sinful, fat inducing just-by-looking-at-it calories right next to the How I survived on 1200 calories a day and didn’t die link is humorous.

Keep up the good work!


Kim December 2, 2011 at 1:55 pm

You look great!!! I too started doing this at the advice of my aunt who has lost 40 lbs doing the exact same thing. I had a baby in October and have lost 29 lbs since my OB appointment right before I had her. This works great and I plan to stick to it!


Kristen December 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm

I didn’t know you had been on this weight loss journey, Amanda. Thanks for sharing your tips and success. I’m a size 12 currently and would love to get down 30 pounds! Great tips and congrats!


Amber December 16, 2011 at 10:38 am

You Look amazing!!!! It was great to hear your story and the hurdles you had to overcome. I am currently a size 6/8 and would love to drop a size for my wedding (in 6 months). I have felt the same way though, I suppose everyone’s metabolism is a little different in what they need to do to drop pounds. Good inspiration! Thanks.


Tiffany LaCourse December 17, 2011 at 10:54 pm

You are such an inspiration to me!! I am a size 14/15/16 right now (depends on the type of pants) and I am 5’6 weighing in at 181lbs. YIKES! I want to so bad lose about 30lbs and get to 155lbs. I did not know where to start —- that is until I found YOU!! I do have 1 question, did you do ANY exercises at all? Or just watched your calories? I am so proud of you! I am beginning my 30lbs weight loss January 1st! Wish me luck!


Kristina Hathcock December 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Can I just say I LOVE you!? I totally feel like it was me talking when you wrote this! I run in to the same problem with wanting to cook meals for my family but don’t want to spend a ton of time figuring out calorie amounts per serving and stuff… And I don’t want to eat gross Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers food… I am so exited that you posted this site about copying and pasting recipes into it and it figures it out for you!! How awesome! You have no idea how long I have searched for something that would do that!! Thanks so much! You are such a help and inspiration!!


Melissa December 28, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Thanks for sharing your story Amanda (both you and Kevin). It’s been inspirational and got me to realize I need to revamp my dieting and exercise because I have high blood pressure. I had been going pretty good but not seeing too much results but I realize now my evening and late night eating is probably what is doing it. Thanks to you I’m going to revamp it and get going for a healthier 2012. Look forward to more of your fantastic blog articles.

Melissa K.


Nickie December 31, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Amanda, you look AMAZING! Keep up the great work!! I have lost 29 lbs since March and a total overall weight loss of 34 lbs. in about the past 1 1/2 years. The pictures of you remind me of ME. I was also a size 10/12 and am now a size 4/6 too. I did most of my weight loss with the help of Jillian Michael’s DVD’s which were WONDERFUL and also diet. The results are incredible, my energy level is high again and I feel great!!! Keep up the great work. I’m looking forward to losing approx. another 6 lbs. before I’m at my “ideal” weight. That is my goal for 2012.


Samantha Harughty January 4, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Hi Amanda-
I have your blog saved as one of my favorites. After looking back on your breakfasty casserole I made this week, I stumbled upon your weight loss story, you have truly inspired me. I would love to know some more things that you loved to eat. The one thing I hate about the frozen meals is trying to find the one that I might like b/c I know you have to go through 5 that you don’t….. Any other sample meal plans you have that worked for you would be great. I started today even ate at chilis for lunch just planned it all out within 1200 calories. I also put the Lose It app on my phone and tablet. Thanks so much for sharing!! My email is samanthaharughty(at)yahoo(dot)com
Thanks again so much! You have no idea how much this means to me.


Loretta January 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Thank you for sharing your story.


LucyExpress January 7, 2012 at 10:33 pm

You look great! :] I like the multi vitamin ones that are like fruit snacks too. :] They taste good. xD


nika January 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm

hey! i am only 16 so i dont want to do anything of those food progrms but others say since im young i will be able to lose 30 pounds in two months with daily eexcercise and healthy eating habits i can do that but how do i keep myself motivated because after two weeks i start to give up and get impatient and will 30 pounds really make a big difference for me? i am 5’7 and weigh 165lbs. but i should be weighing 130lbs. and my bone structure is medium built so got any advie to stay motivated?


Renée January 8, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Thank you for sharing your weight loss story. I had the same problem exercising and running for several months with no results. As of January 1st I gave up soda and I have started to drink only water. I am going to try to be sure to eat throughout the day as well. I am also bad at not eating all day and then eating late right before bed. I hope I get as wonderful results as you do. Congratuations! If you wonder if you inspired anyone, you have inspired me. Thanks Amanda!


saram January 8, 2012 at 6:52 pm

What an inspiring story, thanks for sharing it! Could you post examples of some dinner menus? Thats where I always get stuck.

Love your blog for all you share, thank you!


Linda January 10, 2012 at 6:15 pm


I just read your weight lose story and love it! My sister and I started doing the 1200 calorie a day before Christmas 2011 and I had lost about 8 pounds, which was totally great with no working out. Now that the holidays are over and the new year has started I am trying to get back to that 1200 calorie a day. I need to do this because I would like to go from a size 22 to a size 8. I will try to keep you posted on my progress but knowing that you did it so can I. Thanks for the motivation!


Christy January 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Thanks for the inspiration! I am in a similar position as you WERE – about a size 8/10 and want to lose a bit of weight. I just signed up for sparkpeople and am checking out calorie count. I am curious, did you work out much? 1200 calories doesn’t seem like enough if you are moderately active. I try to work out three 1-hour workouts/week with weights and intense cardio. I agree about getting eating under control is crucial. Thanks again for the inspiration!


PS I am curious about your starting and ending weight if you don’t mind sharing. If you do, I totally understand!


Jenn January 15, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Thank you for your story and helpful tips. You remind me a little of me. Not super overweight, but could definitely drop a few pounds. I, too, have been trying out the Weight Watchers Smart Ones and love them. Delish and filling. I’m also signed up with SparkPeople and love their nutrition tracker. Just curious about what exercise you did along the way…how much time spent every day, what programs you used (ie did you get a dvd, go to the gym, go for a walk, etc)??? Again, thank you. I hope to follow in your footsteps. And congratulations!!!


Jennifer January 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm

So, I came over here because I am redoing my blog and needed a font…and now I am sitting here almost in tears and so unbelievably encouraged because of this. I just clicked on the little picture of this post on the sidebar because it caught my eye. I have gained almost 25 pounds in the last 8 months. I feel like a whale…and not like myself anymore. None of my clothes fit, I hate the new fat I have, and I especially don’t feel pretty anymore. It’s happy weight…I got married 8 months ago and hubby and I both have put on weight. I went from a 6/8…sometimes 10 to a 12 and now the 12 pants are starting to feel tight. I will not buy anymore “fat” clothes. I have been trying since the new year and feel so defeated. I am only going up and then I feel bad, give up, eat junk, and then try again. I just had to comment and tell you that you REALLY helped me today. This is just what I needed! I am bookmarking this page bc I might have to read it everyday for encouragement…but I know I can do this! Thank you!


Jess D. January 21, 2012 at 11:22 pm

I’m so glad that I stumbled upon this post! I feel like I’m much like you and always thought that I couldn’t do it. I’ve wanted to make some changes for at least a year, but it’d last only a day or so. For some reason, this post inspired me to quit making excuses and go for it! Your suggestions are so practical, and with so many apps and websites to help you out – there’s no excuse for anyone! I just wanted to write and say thanks for posting your story. I’ve been at it for exactly a week today and have lost 3.4 pounds. Yay! Thanks again from the bottom of my heart! Also – you and your hubby look great. Way to go :)


Esther January 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm

This is so great to know! Thanks a lot for posting. I never knew there was a recipe analyzer out there and all you have to do is copy and paste the recipe to know the calories per serving. It’s just amazing. I’m trying to lose weight too, and yes, counting calories is the only way to go. You look amazing, by the way: younger, happier, prettier. All I can say is, I want to be a size 6 too!


Heather January 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm

You inspire me. I lost all the baby weight after#2 then gained it back–ugh. Diet is your key. Thx for explaining–and what exercise are you doing now?


Paula January 26, 2012 at 11:53 am

Hi Amanda, did you enter any new recipes that i can look up and follow on


Jen February 3, 2012 at 6:24 am

This is SO inspirational. I found you on Pinterest by your cookie, oreo, brownie extravaganza and ran into this post. I am really glad you posted this. YOu never know who you are going to help! (like me!)
Keep up the good work!!!
PS I just noticed your copyright at the bottom of your page…Is your last name Bottoms??? My last name is Bottom!!! If so, crazy and cool! We should talk!


Jennifer February 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Hi Amanada,
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but what you’ve said here sounds like it came straight from my brain and out through your fingers! I’m just wondering what you did when you went out to eat. I find when I’m socializing it becomes the most difficult because so much is centered around food and drink. Do you think a night out at a restaurant could be corrected by exercise the next day? Any tips would be helpful! Thanks!


kathie webb February 10, 2012 at 9:39 pm

I loved reading your story! You have inspired me to try the 1200 and do it! I do have one question? Are you still doing 1200 per day, and are you still losing or has your body adjusted now?
I love your page, your recipes, especially CupCakes!


Tina February 10, 2012 at 10:17 pm

I just happened across this site while stumbling around on the net. This is also my first time ever posting on someones blog.
This is some really good advice. All it takes is you wanting to change things for yourself. Once you get past the “I can’t do it” to the “I want to do it” it is easier to make healthier lifestyle choices.
I had gallstones and had to go on a diet. Only greens, legumes, no fat, no spicy/acidic, only poultry/fish type of diet and I lost 20 lbs in 3 months. It’s amazing how fast the weight comes off when you give your body only what it needs. The walking helped too.
Thanks for sharing your story and helping to inspire and encourage others that it can be done. :)


Sam February 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm

You look wonderful! I’ve been trying to tell myself to get up and lose weight for a while, I’m only 21 and have a whole lot of life ahead of me but it won’t be worth it if I’m lazy and tired all the time. I’m going to go for it! Thanks for the inspiration and the links to the calorie counter site. According to the site, if I keep up with it I should be at my goal weight (-90lbs from what I am now) in a little over a year! Yay!


Abril February 21, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Congrats! You look amazing! And I love the outfit you are wearing in the after shot. All the best!


Kaity P February 24, 2012 at 9:02 am

Thank you so much for the tips! I will be trying this! I am having the same issues you had, so maybe this can help me like it did for you!


C February 27, 2012 at 11:39 am

After 2 babies and gaining so much weight I am feeling like I will never be at a healthy weight again. Your article makes it seem so easy. I have so much to lose but I feel like your ideas will get me started.


Joy March 1, 2012 at 9:39 am

Just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story, it has given me new confidence. I to have had trouble losing weight and considered using one of the many expensive boxed diets. If not for the cost I’m sure I would have. Congratulations to you and your husband on your success and thanks again for sharing. Can’t wait to try your technique.


Amelia March 8, 2012 at 11:56 am

Awesome! I bet you feel so much better and having your clothes fit like they should is such a bonus (or buying a new wardrobe is fun too!)
My boyfriend and I have also lost weight by joining boot camp in the park (the gym is just not for me) and eating less, especially in the evening. Just protein and salad (and maybe popcorn with a movie). I also found that my meal sizes were the same as my boyfriends, who is much bigger than I am, so cutting back to a regular size portion helped.
Good luck in your continued success!


boogie monster March 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm

U go girl! Raise the roof!


Heather March 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm

You might be saving me from diabetes! It runs in the family and I packed on a bunch of weight post-marriage+babies. Right before baby 2, I started 1200 calories and calorie counting and started losing but then found out I was pregnant. (Also began running, Couch Potato to 5K between babies which helped.)
I just re-read your blog/story about 6 weeks ago and have lost right around 20 pounds so far with about 10-ish more to go.
THANK YOU for sharing your journey and encouraging us/me to do the same.
One quick question… I’ve noticed LOTS or recipes for desserts or just rich recipes. Do you still calorie count or are those “free meal” options?
Your fan in Nor Cal


Stepfanie March 14, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Thanks for the shoutout for SparkPeople. Would you mind editing the link to be, not .net? Congrats on the weight loss!


Lisa March 18, 2012 at 5:44 am

THIS was just what I needed to continue on my own weight loss journey!
Recently diagnosed with Fibro and Arthritis at 46, I am limited on the exercise end of weight loss. I have incorporated some Zumba classes into my week. But the eating tips you gave ? I think it is exactly what I was missing !
Thank You !


Reena March 19, 2012 at 9:52 am

I have read your blog for awhile now but I just came across this post. It is very inspiring!! Thank you for sharing. I am going through my own weight loss journey. Thank you so much and I would love to read an update of how you are maintaining.


Donna Cohen March 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Thanks, Amanda.
Going through much of the same, we didn’t want to eat “out of a box” with our food allergies, it’s very limiting. (Egg yolk, molds, beef (and all beef product – except a limited amount of cheese) and msg) So, being a by scratch cook, these new programs out that have great recipe intake pages, I’ve been able to take all ingredients, add them to the data base, divide it by the number of servings – sticking to the number of servings!!! – and since the first of this year – less than three months – I’ve lost almost 10, my sweetie, almost 20 (yeah, I’m really happy for him – he he he) and we’re still eating my food. Just making better choices, being honest about what we’re actually eating. Next – giving up all tea (for me) and coffee (for him) – man, that’s going to be tough to do!!!

Thanks for showing us your story – makes it easier to share ours! You look fabulous by the way!!



The Better Baker March 25, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Congrats to both of you! You both look fabulous! I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to share this losing journey – a ‘win win’ journey. =) I can SO relate to many things you talked about…especially feeling like no matter what I eat, I CAN’T lose weight, but I have a vacation
coming up this summer and must do something to fit into my summer clothes. I bookmarked this page and will reread it often for motivation. Thanks for sharing all these great links too. Healthy Choice meals are on sale this week and I’m stocking up!!! Thanks and thanks again! I have always loved your website here.


Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet March 26, 2012 at 12:57 pm

This is a great post Amanda. I know it’s been a few years, but I’m currently in your old “boat”. Needing to drop 30 lbs and feeling a bit stranded on how and where to start. I like the calorie counting idea and should definitely get back to doing that. Thanks for the inspiration!!!


Shannon March 26, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Thanks for your tips. I need to try some calorie counting! My sweet tooth always gets in my way.


Felicia Stevens March 26, 2012 at 6:13 pm

You look sooo good! I meant to comment awhile ago but now that I am on a weight loss journey I had to share how motivating your photo is! xoxo


Raschell Celleste March 26, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Congratulations, you look beautiful.


Mallory Fraizer March 27, 2012 at 11:06 am

Good for you! I too have lost 25 lbs by eating right and upping my activity a bit. It is tough to begin with, but it sounds like you feel like I do – a whole new person! I have just started reading your blog, but I love it so far and am glad you shared this experience with everyone. One thing I have found helps is to eat off of a smaller plate at dinner time, that way I feel like I am eating as much as my hubby, even when I am eating about a third.


Lana March 30, 2012 at 4:10 am

You look SO amazing! Your lifestyle is quite similar like mine!!! I am (deaf) photographer and Boston terrier owner!

Here’s a little twilight zone story. I was smoker for 25 years and heavy soda (pop) drinker since I was teen. I decided to quit smoking because I want healthy, lose some weight and wanted to quit soda so bad… it was impossible! In a few months later, my taste had been changed on soda completely, I had no idea why and a friend of mine said “because you were smoking and soda like they were bestfriend.” Hilarious but true! I am so happy for making me give it up, it worked! My gawd! I remembered I was trying to get used to drink the water everyday as a good habit was hard. Now, I drink it every single day, even crave for it, too! *laugh* I am so happy because I am smoke-free and soda-free for 5 years (March 9th!) Now the weight loss process is slow. I don’t eat at night, too. Only morning to dinner, that’s it. I pay attention to what I eat. *laugh* The worse part is I do have sweet tooth… chocolate! I have to cut it down, too. I’m working on it. Congrats to your weight loss and stick to healthy eat and drinking water! GOOD for you! Oh and my Boston Terrier, “Bo” adores/paw-waves at your two beautiful Miley and Howie!

Have a gorgeous day!


pooja April 9, 2012 at 12:38 am

hii i am pooja from india. i read your article congrats you did’s very hard or sometimes it looks impossible.but who changes it into in possible they are look like real hero. my story is same as you. i am really fred up from all of things.but when i saread your article .you gave me a little spark of light.
please help!i never don,t know what should i eat or not? please contact me personally i need your help. plese contact me


Peggy Whisenhunt April 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm

thank you for your diet tips, I am starting tomorrow counting my calories because I cannot lose weight eating all those other plans. 5 years ago I was mis diagnosed as having diabetes and I ate a total diabetic count carb diet and lost 20 lbs in 3 month. Thank goodness after a second diagnosis, I did not have nor do I have it today.


Swanky Moms Club April 19, 2012 at 8:43 pm

You look great!!!!


danielle April 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Thanks, I needed to read this. Your story is basically mine! I did the whole exercise (cardio, weights, etc.) EVERY DAY for months and did not lose a single ounce or inch. Argh! It was only when I limited my caloric intake did I see a difference. I’ve fallen off the wagon, but after reading this, I’m more motivated to get back to what worked. Thanks!! And it makes me happy knowing that I’m not the only one out there where simple exercise doesn’t make a significant difference. (P.S. I’m not saying it’s not great for our bodies, but it doesn’t affect everyone’s ‘shape’ the same way!)


Colleen M. April 20, 2012 at 5:59 pm

First have I have to say THANK YOU for your blog in every way! I am starting to finally undertand my camera & how to take semi-pretty pictures & those fonts are all I use for EVERYTHING! Thank you for sharing your weight loss experiance with us. My husband and I have been on & off diets for 5 years now. We are starting Body For Life {again} but I am going to count calories as well & lets see just how far it gets me this time. I have a TON to loose, but my goal is just to be healthier. Have fun in Italy & can’t wait to see the pictures.


maryellen April 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Gosh, I’m so happy to have stumbled across this post (via pinterest via another blogger posting about one of your desserts). I am in the same boat, with friends doing Nutrisystem. I thought, there’s got to be a better way. I knew that counting calories was key, and I knew that buying Lean Cuisine and WeightWatchers frozen meals was too. Thanks so much for posting your research for counting calories. And I agree about drinking water. Everything you say is common sense and obvious, but it helps to hear it and know that someone who’s done it and had success. Thanks and congratulations.


Amber April 30, 2012 at 7:11 am

Fantastic weight loss!

I have just started the 1200 calorie diet about 5 weeks ago and am down 13 pounds! I am so happy with the results I have received through this diet so far and it’s great to see some great long-term results from this diet.

Thanks so much for posting this blog! :)


Wendy May 1, 2012 at 10:20 am

Amazing!! Great job. You look younger too. My husband and i did the couch to 5K and it has/is workinf for us. I’m glad you didn’t give though. I was a 10/12 and down to a 6/8 and hope to lose some more. I think the healthy choices in food helps SO much. We are trying to eat better. More salads, NO desserts except the once-a-month dinner on the grounds at church. But the less and less we eat sweets the less we really want them. It is easier to drink more water now. Sometimes if i’m having a particularly hard time drinking water, spicy gum (big red) helps the water go down. It gives the water flavor without the calories!!! Keep up the GREAT work!!!


nicci June 28, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Hi. i have been trying the same thing i just want to know did you loom at the cories and stopped when you reached yor daily limit or did you look at what yoh were eatkng. how havd you been doing since


Liz August 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Thanks for sharing your story, Amanda. You have inspired me to try again. I identify with your story because you really didn’t look overweight to begin with. I only want to lose about 10 pounds and I think I can follow your common-sense advice. Thanks for mentioning the “6-8 weeks before you started liking water” thing. I really don’t like drinking water, even though I know I should. And I think I would really like those vitamins too! Thanks again for putting yourself out there for others to learn from your experience!


disneypal August 27, 2012 at 6:30 pm


I was on pinterest and recognized your weightloss photos – I thought someone had posted a link to your blog but it wasn’t…it was a link to some weight loss product. They apparently stole your photo to use for their product. I thought you’d want to know.

Here are a couple of the links on pinterest


Sewfrench September 15, 2012 at 8:05 pm

So this on Pinterest is a lie???
It appears they are stealing everyones photos!


kathy September 30, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Amanda- I wanted to let you know that a company is using your before and after picture on pinterest to promote their weight loss products. I have reported them to pinterest for spamming. They use several links like Wdlia1.blogspot, but they all lead back to http://www.fatlossfactor (fat loss factor by Dr. Charles Livingston).


Julie October 3, 2012 at 9:46 am

Another posting of your weight loss photo on Pinterest


Paula October 29, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I think someone swipped your full body picture for some hokey weightloss site. I saw it on Pinterest. I can’t find the link now but will keep an eye out for it.


Melissa October 30, 2012 at 8:45 am

Hi Amanda,
Your story is so encouraging even now being 3 years later. I’m all in and going for this! Post #23 answered my exercise question but was just wondering about coffee? I’m a big coffee drinker. I do my own lattes at home and budgeted my milk calories as part of my breakfast and my sweetener is zero cal. do you think coffee will hurt me? other than that i usually drink water


Kellie November 5, 2012 at 9:25 am

Did you know someone is using your before and after pic to link to their weight loss site? I just ran across it on pinterest here If you gave them permission, never mind, but I thought it seemed odd!


Laura November 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I think your photos may have been stolen because you aren’t called Samantha and you aren’t divorced!

Not cool!


paula November 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm
pamitas November 19, 2012 at 9:59 am

Amanda, fantastic! Do you have any sample dinner menus/recipes you could share?


Grisel Blanco December 20, 2012 at 8:50 am

Wow, you have motivated me to try losing weight your way!!! What an inspiring story!!! I used to be a size 2/4 and then a 4/6, but now I’m a 10/12 (just like you were). Reading your story made me feel hopeful that I, too, can do this. One of my problems is the exercise piece. I wish I had a companion to at least go out on walks with me. I plan on giving up juice and sticking to only water until it turns into a habit… I want to be a 4/6 again. Thanks for the links. I’m about to check each one out. I’m not a pill taker either, but I’ll look into getting those gummy multi-vitamins–that just may be easier and more fun for me, too! (: Oh, and you look GREAT!!!!! Big props and a huge CONGRATS for achieving such a great goal by making wiser choices!!!! (:


Claire January 1, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I needed to find this today, happened upon your blog thanks to Jones Design Co., downloading fonts for my new laptop. Love your fonts but I needed to read this post! You reminded me that it doesn’t require any expensive meals and fancy equipment, just a little time and remembering to put yourself first.

Happy New Year. Thanks again!


France January 9, 2013 at 10:07 am

Congrats on your weight loss :) Me too I lost 34 pounds since August. But I’m using Visalus and counting calories. It helps a lot to count calories.


Savita Pillai February 5, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Good for you :) …
I just started off on my diet. So far so good. Lost 1.5 lbs last week.
Lets see how long I stick to it.

Weird that I got here looking for some travel related info – well … !


Sheree February 5, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Hi Amanda,

I’m not sure how I found your blog..but I’m glad I did! Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. My husband and I are starting something similar and this helps! Hope you are doing well and will check out some of your other stories. :)

Best Wishes,


Summer March 7, 2013 at 1:13 am

Amanda, I came to your site for blogging tips, but instead became totally inspired by your story. I have been struggling in this area and you have encouraged me. I feel like this is something I can do! I have tried so many things that require ridiculous diet regiments that I won’t even try to describe. Thank you so much for sharing. You are inspiring.


Debbie April 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Hi Amanda,
Thank you for your generous sharing. You are definitely an inspiration to me.
I’m 62 yrs old and just have been hoping to loose weight but not really doing anything different.
As if thinking about it would make the pounds melt away. :)
I am going to try the counting calorie route. You gave some wonderful links to help with that.
You look so healthy and the weight loss looks so great!
I’ll let you know how it goes with me.
Joyful day to you! Debbie


Daleena Barrera May 18, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Hello Amanda,

Browsing blogs on a gloomy Saturday afternoon and came across yours from Pinterest. One thing led to another and I read your weight loss story. My two take aways: How much you’ve lost and the Recipe Analysis from CalorieCount! I just tried it, threw in a few ingredients of things I mostly eat and it spit out not only a grade of each ingredient but an actual honest to goodness calorie count. I’ve always dreamt of a machine where you could just place your meal on it and it would give you a calorie count, then you could scrape off or add a little more based on a readout but don’t think that will happen in my lifetime. This is the next best thing. Thank you so much. All the best, Daleena.


Mollie July 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Thanks for this post!
Thank you for outlining the changes you made and for providing the resources. It’s a huge help!


Shirley August 1, 2013 at 9:46 am

Thank you for sharing your story. I have followed your blog for the last couple of years and had not ever seen this post. I was looking up doing the couch to 5K and saw this post. I belong to a fitness group and was beginning to feel discouraged because I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted, but had tried cutting back to 1200 calories for a couple of days and finally saw the scale move. Reading your story just reaffirmed what I saw for myself.


Tammy August 3, 2013 at 9:21 pm

very inspiring! Thank you for the post. I’m encouraged to try it. (I’ve copied your post for all the helpful hints with meals, etc.)


Karen August 10, 2013 at 7:21 am

I just recently discovered your blog, and this morning I read about your before/after weight loss. Just yesterday a friend and I were singing the ‘woe is me’ blues about our own weight gains. I just played around with the calorie counter site you referenced and I think it will be just what I need! The thought of counting calories was too frustrating to even think about for me – here’s to hoping that in a few months I can report my own success:)


Naw Su Myat Naing August 17, 2013 at 8:32 am

I’ve tried to reduce my weight thousand times.I failed and I feel depressed now.But now I feel encouraged again to reduce my weight again.I feel obesed since my childhood.Now my weight is 130pounds and my height is 4feet11. 5inches. So,I need to reduce my weight30pounds.I have a lot of encourage to reduce my weight by regular eating &exercises with healthy life style.Thank u.


Orla August 21, 2013 at 9:09 am

Hey Amanda, I’m a follower of your blog for the past year so only saw this post now! I always thought you looked fab and love your home, fashion and lifestyle posts. I’m only 21 but one of my biggest fears is getting overweight and being unable to do anything about it! Thanks so much for sharing this, it was such a great post!! I try drinking a lot of water, and some fruit juice! And try to run at least 4 times a week just to keep fit but I have a major sweet tooth so it’s a battle! ;) Anyways, I just wanted to say WELL DONE! And you look amazing now, four years later! :) x


Emily September 4, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Hi Amanda, I am a new follower and fellow foodie. I am working on losing some extra weight that was gained during my pregnancy. I’ve literally tried everything over the last 4 years to try and lose it. I was a 4/6 before it and have resulted in now being a 10/12. Not that I hate it, I feel me on the inside, but not so much on the outside. I have a few problem areas around my midsection that I’d like to try and work on. Luckily, I stumbled upon this post. I have tried it for most of the week now and feel so much better about what I’m putting into my body because I have to watch and use the calorie counter. I did the first day like a regular day and asked the hubby to write down everything we ate that day, and at the end we put it in and were surprised at the amount of calories we were eating. My point here is more of a thank you for having the courage to finally share your story about your own personal battle with your weight. I do have a question as well. What are your favorite foods to eat for your dinners that you find are fitting to the amount of calories you allow yourself during dinner time? Thanks :) -Emily


Judy November 29, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Did you have any kind of exercise routine that you did while sticking to the 1200 calories per day nutrition plan?


tchris February 8, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Hi there, just saw this post and I wanted to thank you for sharing your story. And most importantly, the recipe analysis!!! I can’t tell you how that is going to be so helpful. I, too, hate having to look up the calories for Every. Single. Item. In. A. Recipe. Ugh! Thanks to you, we don’t have to do that. =) Congrats on your success! I hope to be as successful. =)


Maureen February 8, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Oh good for you for persevering with your goals. It is hard to get into the mind set and rhythm of change required to to achieve success and you managed it. You look wonderful in your photos! Thank you for sharing.


Maria February 15, 2014 at 9:46 am

Just read your story and am wondering one thing: Is there a reason you tracked your calories on instead of on Was there an advantage of using one over the other?


Adella Gonzalez March 11, 2014 at 8:18 pm

You look fabulous Amanda! :) Congratulations on your successful weight loss! I have just begun my weight loss journey this year (or really last year). Reading your story is great inspiration. I would like to share with you how I am losing weight.

Last year I started by getting a recumbent stationary bike. I would ride my bike 3x a week. I stuck with it all of 2013 and I am very proud of that. Although, I didn’t get the results I was really hoping for. Fortunately, in November I discovered DDP Yoga.

I asked my boyfriend to get it for me for Xmas, and he did. I’ve been doing DDP Yoga for 2.5 months now and already lost a couple inches, I have no more back pains, I have more energy, and I can fit in my jeans again… (not my skinny jeans but that’s my next goal!) I actually look forward to working out…who knew that was possible?! Lol! :)

Thank you for sharing your story. Seeing your before and after makes me feel excited about my future results! <3


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