By Scott Thompson
THIS WOMAN was told she’d be pretty IF SHE WAS THIN but it wasn’t enough to stop her making SECRET TRIPS to fast food drive-throughs EVERY NIGHT and hiding the evidence from her husband – but now she’s lost over EIGHT STONE after realising that a thinner person was trapped inside.
Podcaster, Amanda Valentine (37) from Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, had been obese since she was six years old was already wearing adult size clothing from eating processed junk food.
Amanda didn’t try to diet until she was 20, but she went from diet to diet and gave up plenty of times in between.
Amanda would go between drive throughs on trips and binge on fast food, eating late into the night and hiding the packaging from her husband, under the sink.
Although Amanda was yo-yo-dieting, her weight still increased until December 2011 when she climbed onto the scales and they tipped at a hefty 18st 12lb and she was a UK size 28.
One day Amanda decided that the woman she saw in the mirror was not her anymore and committed to making real lasting changes for the new year.
First Amanda started slowly by replacing energy drinks with water and black coffee and removed fast food from her diet. She then started eating much healthier foods which she prepared at home like shakes, lean meats, lots of vegetables and fruit desserts.
She then started walking a lot using podcasts to keep her going and eventually included weight training at the gym four or five times a week.
By 2013 Amanda’s hard work had paid off and she’s brought her weight under control to a healthy 10st 7lb and a UK size 10.
“I’ve been obese since I was just six years old and even then I was already wearing adult size clothes from eating junk food,” Amanda said.
“Due to a lack of education on nutrition and not knowing how to handle my emotional eating, I just kept eating whatever I wanted and of course it was all mostly unhealthy foods. I didn’t even exercise either.
“As an adult I was heavier than I’d ever been. I would continue eating to the point of pain. For breakfast I’d eat Poptarts, for lunch mac and cheese and then fast food for dinner.
“I was binge eating almost secret every single night. I’d hit multiple drive through restaurants like McDonalds, Wendy’s or Taco Bell and I’d order two meals at a time. I’d eat anything on the menu, I was never picky, and I was washing it down with Red Bull. I was embarrassed about this and would hide the trash in a bag under the sink, so my husband didn’t know.
“People had insulted me about how I looked, saying I’d be so much prettier if I lost weight.
“I’d started dieting when I was 20. I was always yo-yoing from diet to diet and ‘breaks’ in-between. I’d lose 60lb here and there and then gain it all back again. At my personal bottom I had reached 18st 12lb and a I was a dress size 28. I was so ashamed of myself and what other people thought of me.
“I knew I had to make some changes. I knew this person wasn’t me. I knew there was a happier person trapped inside of me. Because it was almost a new year, I made a resolution to not diet anymore.
“I decided to simply make the best decisions possible in every moment. I would also no longer beat myself up for ‘cheating’ or ‘failing’. This started the real long-lasting changes in me.
“I started slowly by stopping drinking Red Bull and replacing it with black coffee and water. Next I slowly changed my diet to things like protein shakes, egg white and oatmeal pancakes, chicken fajitas and rice, chia puddings with side veggies, turkey quinoa stuffed peppers and berries for dessert. I’ve gone from about 5,000 calories a day to 1,800.
“Gradually I increased my physical activity. I started out with listening to podcasts while walking and recording it all on my Fitbit. Then I moved up to lifting weights in the gym. All this hard work helped me to shift 8st 5lb and drop from a 28 to a size 10.”
Although many people have been pleasantly surprised by Amanda’s transformation, she has lost a few friends because their goals were no longer compatible.
“I’ve lost a few friends during my journey. I guess we were just on different paths. I think because I was really focussed on sticking to my goals and changing my old habits, we just weren’t compatible anymore,” Amanda continued.
“Thankfully the majority of the comments have been very positive. People are surprised when they see my old pictures. People are often saying, ‘I would never have known that was you’.
“I feel really proud of myself. I’m more confident and more driven now. This journey has totally changed my present and future. I’m that person inside of me that I knew I could be. I feel like I’ve gained so much more than a new body, I have gained a new happier life!”
Amanda loves being able to share her journey and help others who might be struggling with weight as she once did.
“Honestly, the trick is to just get started. Make some small changes right now. Even if it’s just something like drinking one more glass of water or walking just that one extra block, or just eat one more vegetable,” Amanda advised.
“Keep on experimenting a lot and never give up, even when you fail. Keep starting and building new healthy habits that will last you a lifetime and always be patient.
“Please remember that if there is no struggle then there is no progress. Even though this is a tough road to take, you can make it and believe me when I say, it’s very much worth it.”
Follow Amanda on Instagram.