Making the Right Choice: Amy's 114-Pound Weight Loss

How one DietBet player went from hiding underneath baggy sweatshirts to running half marathons and inspiring others with her incredible journey.
weight loss transformation

“I needed to change the end of my story before it even started,” Amy explains. That story included senior family members with chronic health problems and a father with a heart transplant.

As an elementary school teacher with two children, Amy knew she needed to do something about her weight to help rewrite her own narrative. “I wanted get my life together for my kids. I need to be there when they get married,” she says. “My Dad was lucky. Heart transplants aren’t available to every person who needs one. I didn’t want to find myself in that position—I wanted to get better.”

Amy’s weight loss story is familiar to many. However, it’s her determination that’s set her aside. Her gumption and willingness to examine her life have enabled her to display the kind of strength that empowers others.

Covering It All Up

“At one time, I thought my weight was just the hand I’d been dealt,” Amy remembers. “I thought being overweight was in my genetic code. I was going to be a big person because everyone in my family was big. Those ideas led me to discover ways to deal with being big. I never wore dresses and I covered myself in dark and baggy clothes. I was trying to mask my own body.”

She adopted a tomboy persona, not because it appealed to her but because she didn’t think there was an alternative. “I wasn’t a tomboy at all, but being a tomboy made it easier to hide my body. In my head, I knew if I was going to be girly, I would have to wear dresses or start caring about clothes and go shopping,” she says. “You don’t want to go shopping when you’re chubby! I didn’t want to shop with friends because I couldn’t buy the same clothes. I had to go to specialty stores to find things that fit me. So, as a tomboy I could act like I wasn’t interested.”

It’s a lie perpetuated by nearly every person who’s dealt with being overweight: pretending indifference when the heart hurts and longs to be, just for once, like everyone else.

A Lifelong Struggle

Shame is often the biggest motivating factor for weight loss, and the full understanding of that concept usually creeps in around junior high. There’s nothing worse than the inexperienced, adolescent mental voice filling your head with discouragement.

“I started dieting in junior high.” Amy remembers. “I’d think, I‘ll eat less or do this and that and I’ll lose weight. At that age, I had no idea what I was doing! I’d end up not eating one day and chowing down the next.”

It would take years for Amy to learn about healthy eating and find the motivation to keep the weight off. Fortunately, she ended up marrying a man who would become her biggest ally.

The Tools for Success

“My husband was diligent about working out. We were so different!” she laughs. “He’d hit the gym and I’d take a nap! So when I got started, I told him he’d have to show me what to do. The first thing he had me do was run a mile. He told me to time myself. I think my mile was near twenty minutes in the beginning! He told me to be faster next time. Even if it was just a second faster. I kept to that rule every time.”

The running became Amy’s vehicle to weight loss. It took her three years, but that mile turned into a 5K, 7K, 10K and just a few weeks ago, a half marathon. Today, she runs at least twice a week and hits the gym two to three times a week for weight training or group classes.

While the exercise played a major role in her transformation, nutrition was her biggest challenge. “I just didn’t know anything about what I should be eating,” Amy confesses. “My issue has always been moderation. I couldn’t eat one or two slices of pizza. I ate the whole thing!”

She began counting calories. “When I really got honest about tracking my food, it was an eye opener. I couldn’t believe how many calories I was eating every day,” she says. “Once I got things in hand, I started trimming my calorie count down. I began eating healthier and with moderation. It was so hard to teach myself restraint after 30 years of eating whatever I wanted.”

Along with the support of her husband, Amy also used DietBet to keep her motivated throughout her journey. She’d heard about DietBet through a fellow teacher, and knew that the accountability of the games would be essential to keeping her on track when times got tough. “I feel like I had every excuse in the book to quit—two young children, a husband with odd hours, working full time,” Amy says, “but DietBet and the community remind me I’m not alone and I never will be in this.”

 

The Unexpected Side of Weight Loss

The challenges of exercise, moderation, and healthy eating were expected, but there were a few things Amy wasn’t prepared for. “My weight loss was so emotional. I didn’t realize it would be like this,” she says. “I didn’t know there would be people in my life who weren’t supportive. My husband and parents were awesome, but I had friends who I’d always had a certain camaraderie with. The dynamics of our relationships changed and it felt like I was doing something wrong or I shouldn’t be around them anymore.”

But the biggest switch happened inside. “It’s shocking. I’ve lost 114 pounds and I didn’t look like myself anymore. It’s like I didn’t know who I was. Before the weight loss, I was just going through the motions of life,” Amy says. “Now I’m taking the time to figure who I am in this body.”

Words of Wisdom

So what words of encouragement does Amy have to pass on?

“So many people think I’ve done something incredible,” Amy says. “But I realized they just think it’s incredible because they haven’t done it yet. They don’t think they’re able to do what I’ve done. They’re discouraged, but feeling dispirited happens to all of us. There’s no way to lose weight without having days when you feel a hopeless. People just need to know there is no quick fix here. It’s a permanent change. It’s not like taking an antibiotic and getting better in a few days. You have to stick to a routine of making healthy choices and staying active and, most importantly, not taking a break from it. It’s a decision you have to make every day for the rest of your life.”

“I think that’s the daunting part,” Amy clarifies. “You won’t make the right choice every day, but the next day, you need to get up and choose to do the right thing.”

You need to get up and choose you.

Individual results may vary from Success Stories.

Make it WayBetter

Self-described as "the laziest girl ever," Amy knew herself well and knew what would be most challenging. Take a cue from her and think about what will be hardest for you, then make a plan to get over those hurdles!