Name: Amanda Taylor
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Before: 380 lbs.
After: 206 lbs.
What was the “turning point” that prompted you to lose weight? There was never really an “Ah, ha!” moment which prompted me to begin my weight loss journey. When one weighs close to 400 pounds, losing weight is the ONLY option. I had been on so many failed “diets” I lost count. I had so much I wanted to do and goals I wanted to accomplish, but I felt SO held down by my size. I was trapped in my own body. My weight was crippling me. Feeling desperate, on August 2003, I had gastric bypass surgery.
When did you start trying to lose weight? Let me first tell you, I am not an “advocate” for gastric bypass surgery. It did its job and I lost over 100 pounds, but it was not the answer to weight loss. After awhile the smaller stomach can expand; in fact the smaller stomach pouch can expand back to its original size. You can gain ALL of the weight back after having gastric bypass surgery. And I did gain. After three years and two pregnancies, I gained back more than 60 pounds. I was determined to lose the weight I gained and this time I had the confidence that I COULD lose it on my own. I was also determined to do it the right way, so I joined a gym.
How did you get started? I’ve always been so afraid of exercise but I paid good money to join a gym, so I was determined to do it! It felt like torture at first and I was in some serious muscle pain, but I continued to force myself to go. After awhile, I started to see some results. I felt stronger with more energy. I also started to welcome exercise and it all began to click. I began eating healthier with foods that fueled my body instead of just tasting good. I began seeing results and I began to believe in myself SO much more! I could lose weight and I could do it the healthy way!
What was your biggest challenge? My biggest challenge is something I struggle with daily, it is making the right food choices. One way I avoid giving into “impulse eating” and “food cravings” is by not letting myself become too hungry.
Were there any times when you wanted to quit or give up? How did you stay motivated? There were many times I have wanted to give up. I did fall off the weight loss wagon, but I never stayed down — I can’t, I won’t! I know what awaits me if I do. Obesity is harsh and it will lead one to an early grave. Life motivates me. I want to be around for my kids; I want to grow old and gray and I want to enjoy all life has to offer. Being stuck in a 400-pound body is no life at all.
If you reached a weight loss plateau, how did you break out of the rut? I am a creature of nature, I can get stuck in the same exercise and food routine easily. This leads to many plateaus. So when I am stuck in that rut, switching up one of those two things usually gives me that boost to break through. It is important to be in tune with your body. There have been times when I was stuck in a plateau for weeks and realized I was not allowing myself enough calories per day. So, I boosted up my calorie intake and exercise routine and the pounds started coming off again!
What’s your current exercise routine? I use to go to the gym three times a week and do yoga twice a week. I had to adjust my schedule recently, since I don’t have as much free time as before. These days, I use breaks during work to walk and climb stairs. Stairs are an awesome calorie burner! At home, I work in fitness with family time. Walks to the park, bike rides. and a good ‘ole game of Just Dance can definitely work up a sweat — and get the kids excited about fitness as well!
What’s your daily diet look like? I try to stick to eating 5-6 small meals a day and avoid temptations. I have a small breakfast around 8:00am, which may include eggs with vegetables or oatmeal with fruit. At 11:00am, I have a snack, which might include a Greek yogurt or almonds, which is high in protein. I usually have lunch around 1:00pm, which could be anything from tuna fish to dinner leftovers. The key is to keep portion size small! I exercise after lunch or when I get home, and I have a protein shake soon after. Dinner is 5:30 or 6:00pm, and usually includes a small portioned meat with vegetables. My cravings for sweets really kick in during the evenings, so I usually have a small evening snack, such as fruit or a “skinny dessert.”
What’s your favorite healthy snack/meal? I like to transform recipes I enjoy into healthier versions, which I post on my blog, Survival Guide By the Working Mom. One of my recent favorites is my Healthy Chocolate Mug Cake with a Peanut Butter Filling. It is delicious!
Do you have specific suggestions for avoiding temptations? Keeping busy always helps me avoid temptations. Also, many of us mistake thirst for hunger, so make sure to keep hydrated! There will be temptations everywhere, there is no way to avoid them but always keep in mind your ultimate goal: YOUR HEALTH
What’s your life like after weight loss? It is very freeing to say the least. Before I lost the weight, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish. The things on my list did not include huge feats; they were little things that I wanted just to “fit in”. Some of the things included wearing jeans, walking up a flight of stairs without losing my breath, fitting into an airplane seat belt, and riding a roller coaster. There are so many things that an extremely obese person worries about on a daily basis things — things that most of us take for granted. I talk about this more in my blog post, “I Apologize if I Stare.”
If you have any suggestions to others what would they be? To never give up. I do not hold the “secret to weight loss” nor do I have some superwoman will power that makes me better than the rest. I am just like any other woman out there that is trying to balance family life, work and everything else that life throws in front of us. And believe me, there are days that I slip up and give into that Easter chocolate that keeps calling my name. But, I never give up because I know what awaits me if I do. The memory of being extremely obese haunts me daily — and I will never allow myself to become that again.