My Weight Loss Transformation

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Thanks for reading my weight loss story! I am grateful for the challenge it was and the things I learned along the way. My weight loss transformation happened in two steps (and probably will continue for many more pivots in the future!


Portion control and calorie counting weight loss success story

History of my weight struggle

I’ve struggled with weight for my entire life. It felt like if I wasn’t in active diet mode, I was gaining weight. I could never find the in between. I never got to my goal weight so I could move into maintenance. It was one extreme or the other. I felt out of control with food, or like I was white knuckling my way through the day to not eat all the food in my house. This is the story of those struggles and how they led me to my eventual weight loss transformation.

My childhood nickname: Thunder thighs

For as long as I can remember, I have been self-conscious about my weight.  The earliest memory I have of noticing I was heavier than my peers was at a pool party in the 7th grade. I didn’t feel too self conscious before the party.  But I remember the boys from my neighborhood gave me a nickname at that party. It was “thunder thighs.”  And the truth was, I had thick legs! They are strong, stocky, and bigger than most girls’.  Although this stung a little at the time, it didn’t stop me from trying out for cheerleader, or enjoying more pool parties.  But always in the back of my mind, I dreamed of being thinner.

From 7th grade to my senior year, I stayed heavier.  I loved to eat and bake cookies, but I also loved to exercise! I remember my parents paid for a gym membership right across the street from my high school that I was very excited about.  Because of that, I was pretty active. I would go to an aerobics class before school. I had a dance class for PE, and I had cheer practice after school.  Exercise has always been a way for me to manage stress and get lost in my own thoughts.  But despite being a consistent exerciser for literally 30 years, I still couldn’t achieve that weight loss transformation I was hoping for.

Gaining the freshman 30

As I transitioned to college, I became more and more interested in nutrition and dieting.   Which was ironic, because that’s when I gained the most weight. I loved reading books about health and understanding different philosophies about weight loss, but I moved into the dorms with unlimited cafeteria food, lots of studying, and terrible sleep habits. I also was hired by Denny’s as a hostess, and was thrilled about eating endless amounts of cheesy sandwiches and peanut butter pie!  To this day, I have no clue how high my weight got, but I would guess somewhere close to 150 or even 160 lbs.

While I was gaining weight, my brother got engaged.  I got fitted for my bride’s maid dress early in the year.  Of course, by the time the wedding was approaching, the dress no longer fit. Devastated and without enough awareness or time to lose weight, I pleaded with my friend to help me alter the dress to fit.  She scoured every fabric store in our city to find a fabric that was close enough to match, and sliced my dress open to insert an extra panel!

With my weight at an all–time high, I dove head first into all the dieting ideas and advice I could get my hands on. The first diet book I remember was all about low-fat. I was able to lose a modest amount of weight, enough to feel OK about my body, but never like I’d want to wear a bathing suit in front of people.  Measuring at only 5 feet 1 inches tall, I always felt like losing 10 more pounds would be ideal. 10 pounds on my small frame meant the difference in a size 12 pair of jeans, and a size 6!  So, for 20 years I slaved away at deprivation. All I wanted was a weight loss transformation. It just felt that was always frustratingly out of reach.

I kept quitting diets after 2 days of “no results”

Once I found a new style of eating, I’d spend all the money to buy all the food. I’d binge on information, recipes, and science about each protocol.  Generally I’d lose 2-3 pounds, even though I was working my tail off.  I’d get frustrated with the lack of progress, despite the intense effort, so I’d quickly be on the hunt for a new plan. I tried hiring coaches, buying online courses, counting calories, counting macros, downloading hypnosis tracks, vegetarian, vegan, fruitarian, Paleo, Weight Watchers, Gluten-free, low-fat, low-carb, training for marathons, Joel Fuhrman, Jillian Michaels, Bob Greene, Bob Harper, and so many more!  I was paying so much attention to my weight loss effort that it was becoming a full time job. It was exhausting!

I tried “30 days of no-sugar” and still gained weight!

The final diet I tried was no-sugar. It was a turning point in my journey as I managed to go a full 30 days without sugar and gain 5 lbs!  I even broke out in acne, even though the books I was reading promised “clear skin”. The experts said that if I would eliminate sugar, all my cravings to overeat would go away, because sugar was “as addictive as cocaine!”  For me however, I just overate ALL the other food I loved. I had more trail mix and crackers than my bowels could handle!  It was at that point I realized, weight loss had very little to do with the food I was eating. I didn’t need an appetite to eat, so to think that eliminating cravings would stop me from eating wasn’t true. I had to figure out why I was eating, and why I couldn’t stop.

The mental pivot to finally losing weight

In the last few years however, my mindset has changed toward this weight loss journey. My mindset was that my weight was unfair. I worked hard, and I deserved a break from exerting so much effort.

Then, I decided to truly EMBRACE THE JOURNEY, rather than hate it. (here’s some of the habits I chose to embrace) After all, if I was never going to get to my goal weight in the next 60 years, what was even the point? Did I really want to be a frail 90 year old woman, mad that I spent my life saying no to cookies? No, I wanted to enjoy the process of my weight loss transformation rather than just yearning for the weight to be gone.

That’s when I knew I had to decide that the journey of weight loss WAS the good part. The blessings of developing a fit body was part of the process. The joy is in DOING the work, not the destination!

Finding out why I ate so much!

That’s when I started paying attention to my behavior around eating so much food! As I began to pay attention, an interesting thing changed. I started realizing that I didn’t like some foods I thought I did. I started noticing that I wasn’t paying attention to how much I ate.  The more distracted I was while I ate, the MORE I ate! I could sit down for breakfast and scroll through social media or news articles. I could eat bowl after bowl after bowl of cereal, and not even notice how much I ate. Sometimes I think I would do it to delay starting my day. Sometimes, I was just so sucked in to what I was reading on my phone, that I shoveled food in without even tasting it. I had mindless habits. When we would make cookies, I’d walk by and eat one off the counter. Then another and another, without really tasting the first cookie.

I had stumbled into mindful eating!  I realized that eating my food with mindfulness, intention, and tracking what I ate, had to become the goal.

Switching my weight loss efforts to process goals and not results goals, made all the difference!

The process was clear, and I was ready to take part in the process for LIFE, not just till I saw results.

The strategies I embraced to finally lose 10 pounds were:

  1. Establishing three periods of time during the day for intentional, purposeful eating.  (read my 8 reasons three meals a day can help with weight loss here). No snacks! I literally didn’t eat snacks for the entire time, and it helped me to stay mindful!
  2. I limited meal time distractions. No phone, books, computer, magazine, TV, etc.
  3. I chewed slowly and experienced each bite.  Even with chewing slowly, my meals didn’t take any longer than when I scarfed it down.
  4. I tasted food!  The flavors, and texture of each bite! I was surprised to find healthy food delicious and junk food less appealing than I thought.
  5. Put my fork down between bites.  It goes without saying, shoveling more food into your mouth before you’ve finished the last bite is not being mindful.
  6. Checked in with my hunger mid-meal. I learned, I didn’t  have to finish my meal, ever.

I’ve been so energized and excited about my weight loss that I want to talk about it all the time! My weight loss transformation took a lot of time and effort to finally figure out, but I am glad I stuck with it. I also want to hear your story, work with you and hear about your success as well!

READ NEXT–>I wrote this article to get to my goal weight of around 115-120lbs. Then, I decided to enter a fitness competition. This is how I lost 10 more pounds in 6 months.

Weight Loss Transformation Story success

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36 Comments

  1. Hi Amy!
    I know you wrote this post several years ago so hopefully you will see this🙂 Im also 5’1” and have reached my highest weight of 150, which as you know is pretty heavy on a small frame.I see that you wrote that you started out with mindful eating, but At what point did you start tracking? i noticed in your part 2 you started out at 122..did you track to get to that point? Thank you for everything you share

    1. Hi Vanessa!
      It’s honestly hard to remember, because I feel like it was somewhat gradual. And I’ve honestly tracked not so carefully for most of my adult life (in the early days just in a notebook). However, I didn’t start tracking with the intention of being in a calorie deficit until my weight loss had stalled from just mindfully eating. But I can’t remember how long that was. A year maybe? I was definitely stuck at 122 lbs for what seemed like FOREVER.

  2. Macro ratios are confusing and all over the place. What macro ratios did you follow under your 1200 calorie plan?

  3. Thanks for pointing out that weight loss also has a psychological side to it. I will keep that in mind when looking for the weight loss therapy that would work for me. Being able to find the right professional to work with will be crucial in the long run.

  4. I love your blog Amy. I myself work in physical therapy and and quickly in the last weekelatebto your story. I was never heavy in my childhood and teenage years I was actually thin and fit from being an athlete all my life, but I always remember being overly body or image conscious. I also was an emotional and “mindless” eater. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted as long as I was compteting but look back now and realize I was bindging and then starving myself, and those bad habits caught up with me in my 20s. I would eat and drink my stress away and I was kidding myself that I wasn’t that big but at 5’9″ almost 300# at 30 years old, I could hide it more easily being taller but I felt terrible physically and just not confident at all. I recently lost over 85# in a little over a year. Its a hard road but so worth it. I feel so much better physically, emotionally, and even though having all the education and knowledge because obviously I know exactly what to do to lose weight I didn’t have the motivation or more the psychological tools to help control my bad habits I established in my younger years. Sooner or later you can’t exercise off the entire bag of chips or carton of ice cream you devoured without realizing it. I used Noom to kick start my weight loss and have been able to use some of those tools to maintain and keep losing but it takes consistency and I like you initially was like oh I didn’t lose weight in two days so this doesn’t work…I lost about 8 lbs. In the first 15 days I tried my diet and I was still going over my calorie budget everyday but it really puts into perspective how much you are really consuming without realizing it when you have to practice mindful eating. I stopped my mindful eating habits for several months after having surgery and I gained back over 20 lbs of the 85 that I lost and now I’m back on my path and have lost 4 lbs really quickly just with mindful eating, meal planning, and calorie counting. I hate these lose weight quick diets where people say you can lose weight doing nothing, it puts false perception on everybody thinking they don’t have to put in some work, that is not true!!! That’s why I love your blog even more because you seem really honest and straightforward with expectations. It is inspirational and now getting back on my path towards my goal weight finding this has given me a little boost of motivation, I will also be following your recipes! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Holly!Thank you so much for sharing your story!  I can absolutely relate!  Especially with: I was still going over my calorie budget everyday but it really puts into perspective how much you are really consuming without realizing it .That is 100% my experience.  If I can lose weight on 1500 calories, it’s obvious I have been eating a lot more than that, even though it “FEELS LIKE” I do’nt eat that much!  The little things at up , and it’s so easy to overdo calories with how easy it is to get and swallow food before you realize you ate something!My husband will sometimes get to the end of the day adn start complaining that “he hasn’t eaten anything all day,”.  I say, I saw you eat a sandwich, a piece of toast, an apple…etc. etc… and he says, “Oh yeah, I forgot about those things”. It’s just SO easy to forget if you don’t track!Anyway, rant over. Good luck to you. I’m excited for your journey and don’t hesitate to check in to let me know how it’s going.
      Amy

  5. I am so happy I stumbled upon your blog! I am 5’2″ and at my heaviest (while not pregnant) at 155! I had two major surgeries over the past 2.5 years and am SO TIRED of being unhappy! I used to be incredibly active, now the thought of doing what I used to do, makes me exhausted. Over the past year, I have spent an obscene amount of money on different coaches, plans, etc. the journey is not unfamiliar to me, but it has been totally overwhelming! My last coach did not want to ‘restrict’ my eating, however, also did not provide any parameters. Read: Total fail in the making.

    I am over it, over feeling yucky, tired, not fitting in my clothes (that I am currently SQUEEZING myself into!) I miss me 🙁

    1. Andi!I completely resonate with what you are going through.  (including spending ALL the money!).The bottom line for me, is it DID take a calorie deficit for an extended amount of time to get results.  And honestly, when I got there, despite eating less food, I had so  much m ore energy! I felt confident, happy, productive!  I wrote how great I felt down in a journal so I’d never forget.I KNOW when I overeat now I feel lethargic, unproductive, and self conscious.   It’s crazy that I even have days when I overeat, KNOWING how I’ll feel.  It’s definitely a life long process, but don’t forget to write down and remember how you feel now, vs how you feel when you get back to your old self again!
      Thanks so much for reaching out.
      Amy

      1. I am so happy I stumbled across your articles. I too am 5’ 1 and feel like crap. I’m my heaviest at 128 but people roll their eyes or think I’m nuts for feeling this way as a petite. Reading your articles made me feel validated and back on the “calorie deficit” train to get to my goal of 107. That is where I truly felt my healthiest. I’m the queen of the two day diet cycle….. so reading your article gives me hope. Thank you!

  6. What was your weight you started at orignially? How did you figure out how many calories you needed to lose weight? I have tried following weight loss challenges and they always start me at 1600 and reduce week by week… Im 5ft tall , 160 now.

    1. Hi Nancy!
      My weight loss story is 35 years long! But, in my early 20’s I was my heaviest (probably close to 160lbs and I’m 5 ft tall).
      However, I lost weight and stayed between 125-130 for most of the next 20 years, until the last few years, when I dropped 20 more lbs.

      I started at 1200 calories, and worked my way UP, rather than down. But that’s what worked for me! Now I’m at 1800 calories and still maintaining.

      Amy

  7. Hello. I suffer from a really bad compressed nerve. I’m 28. The entire left side of my body feels like it’s dying. I’m coming here in the hopes of losing weight for health. It’s very hard for me to function day to day. I just want to be better and feel better about myself. Sugar is my main addiction and I can’t seem to kick it. You don’t know how much comfort reading your experience with sugar has brought me. Thank you.

  8. I am utterly in shock! This could be my story. I am 44 years old ,5,1″ and my weight is at my all time highest of 198 lbs!!! I cannot seam to lose weight no matter what I do (Bloodwork and hormones etc are checked). At the moment I am working my *ss of with a personal trainer and a custom meal plan at 1100 calories a day. I have lost 2 pounds to this day (done it for 2 months now, and I am hungry all the time).
    I will read your whole journey and also I will let my PT read it. Maybe he can tweak my diet/exercise to how you did it. For now, Thank you for your story <3

  9. Hi Amy,
    I am 72 years old I weigh 209 lbs, after having metastic breast cancer, 22 months of chemo,
    radiation, and heart failure. I need to lose 60 lbs. I have so many restrictions. I am so happy about your weight loss. I am now going to start my journey, hopefully to be successful this time, You are an inspiration.

  10. Hi Amy, thank you for sharing your story. I can really relate to it. I have these dreadful 10 lbs to loose to be in a great shape but even though I have the knowledge and understanding I really struggle to implement. I totally get switching the mindset from focusing on the goal to enjoying the transformation journey and living a happier life. Your second point also resonates with me. The mindless eating is something like do all the time. I try to snack on healthy food like nuts and fruit. However it is still over eating. It’s a terrible habit that needs to be broken.
    Do you count calories? What is your daily calorie intake? Thank you 🙏

    1. I can’t believe it. I was called Thunder Thighs in front of everyone at our 5th grade pool party, and I’ve had a complex ever since. I just can’t believe what I’m reading, and just at the moment I need it. I’ll be 42 in June. I’ve been trying to lose the baby weight from my 4th baby since 2019. I work out and eat mostly healthy foods, but that excuse of “everyone else eats what they want” really resonated with me. Glad I stumbled upon your blog!

  11. Thanks for the inspiration content! Love your page and it’s been really helpful, I figured I had shared with everyone a product that’s helped me loss some weight as well, I hope it can help others!

  12. Amy I want to congratulate you for your accomplishment towards your weight lose journey. All my life I have been heavy and tried everything that is out there to lose weight. I have 30 more lbs to lose and feel like I have plateaued myself. I am very active in my walking but my problem is eating habit. I love food and I cannot control myself in eating but I came across your 1200 calories meal plan for 5 days which I will use to continue my journey of weight loss. Hoping that I succeed in losing these last 30 lbs and develop health eating habits for life long. I want to thank you for sharing your story and meal plan with high protein and low crab and low fat which would help me to control my cholesterol and sugar level to prevent myself becoming heavy diabetic. It’s the beginning of new year 2021 and I feel God blessed me to come across your article and weight lose journey of yours to motivate myself to accomplish my goals. Thanks Amy you are truly helping people like me who are wanting to lose weight and be on the ideal weight since their teenage years.

  13. I stumbled upon your website through Pinterest while looking for recipes and meal plans. I’ve been recently diagnosed with Osteoarthritis and waiting on test results for RA. I also have the dreaded Hashimoto’s thyroid disease that I was diagnosed with about 2 years ago. Can’t wait to try some of the recipes and use the meal plan.

  14. Your weight loss/fitness/healthy life journey is truly inspiring. Your story is very similar to my story, and that is why I started to pay attention to your blog. I don’t think I overeat but I drink more alcoholic beverage than I should. I am 5’2 and this morning weighed 132, 10-15 lbs more than I would like. I am between 127-133 for the most of last 20 years. I would like to tone up, with defined musculature and have more energy. I am 65 years old and have been healthy.
    Any advice?

    1. Hi Christine!
      Thank you so much for reaching out. I totally relate to where you are with your journey. If you haven’t tried counting calories, I would start there! Over consuming calories can be just as fatiguing as under consuming. For energy and toning up, have a good mix between carbs and protein, without going over. Get really familiar with myfitnesspal and weighing and measuring your food.
      Keep me updated on your progress for sure!

      Amy

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