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My wedding dress fits again! First time since 2001! 1/25/14

Before & After - A 100+ lbs success story!

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"My body is awesome, and every day, with everything I do, I will treat it as such!" --Molly Galbraith

Hi everyone! My name's Amanda and I'm a 35-year-old stay at home mom of three boys aged 14, 12, and 10. I have lost 100+ lbs and maintained that loss for over a year, so my focus now is not on losing more weight, but on learning to love my body and treat it well. I want to appreciate my body for the miracle it is, rather than disparage it for the perfection it isn't. I am strong, ...
"My body is awesome, and every day, with everything I do, I will treat it as such!" --Molly Galbraith

Hi everyone! My name's Amanda and I'm a 35-year-old stay at home mom of three boys aged 14, 12, and 10. I have lost 100+ lbs and maintained that loss for over a year, so my focus now is not on losing more weight, but on learning to love my body and treat it well. I want to appreciate my body for the miracle it is, rather than disparage it for the perfection it isn't. I am strong, fit, athletic, and healthy, and my goal is to stay that way for the rest of my life!

Note: From May to August 2014, my family transitioned from San Antonio, TX, to Newton, MA. I gained back roughly 15-20 lbs in that time. Now working on losing them again!

My weight loss journey was a bit unusual. I did not gain weight through overeating or sedentary lifestyle, but instead through illness and medication issues. I also didn't lose all this weight in order to be healthier or to look better, but instead to get away from a place of shame, depression, and self-consciousness. I simply wanted to look and feel like myself again!

The Journey Up:
Once upon a time, I was super thin and athletic. I weighed 125 lbs, ate fairly healthy foods (though never enough produce), and was reasonably comfortable with my body. Then, in August 1998, I had a procedure done on my teeth that led to 11 years of hidden infections. In that time, I had all sorts of seemingly-unrelated symptoms, including constant throat illness, hypoglycemia, allergic reactions to pollen I wasn't allergic to, and bipolar disorder symptoms. My weight also suffered, going on a bizarre roller coaster: holding steady for months at a time and then jumping up or down 20-30 lbs over the course of a few weeks (or even a few days), without any changes in my diet or exercise. My doctors gave me every test and medication imaginable - I used to call myself a walking pharmacy - but nothing helped.

The details on how those infections were found are far too long/complicated to post here. I will just say they involved a miracle-worker chiropractor, colloidal silver, a lot of record keeping, and a really fantastic endodontist. In September 2009, the last of the infections were cleaned out. Within weeks, the allergy symptoms, hypoglycemia, bipolar symptoms, and throat illness disappeared completely, never to return again. The only thing that didn't disappear, sadly, was the 130-lb net weight gain.

The Journey Down:
I began my weight loss journey at 255 lbs on November 27, 2009. In my first year, I really had no idea what I was doing. I managed to lose 20 lbs in 5 months, but then through a combination of laziness, depression, and lack of support, I stopped working hard. My weight held steady until Thanksgiving 2010 came around. By then, I was depressed and hopeless about ever being thin and fit again. The worst was the morning I woke from a dream that I was writing a memoir about the four things fat women canít do without being ridiculed: eat, exercise, think, or enjoy themselves. When I woke up, I knew I felt that same shame during my waking hours, and I regained 5 lbs through shame-eating over the next few weeks.

In 2011, I started over, after seriously considering (but ultimately ruling out) weight loss surgery. I began small: more sleep, more water, more fruits/veggies, regular exercise, and always paying attention to my hunger cues. I lost 12 more lbs before I discovered Sparkpeople at the end of Feb 2011, making my total pre-Spark loss 27 lbs. By the time I reached November 27, 2011 - two years after I'd begun my journey - I was down to 189 lbs, a total loss of 66 lbs and only 4 lbs from being overweight (instead of obese).

Right around that second anniversary, I hit a wall with my weight loss. I kept going, kept doing what I was supposed to do, but my body started holding onto everything it could, and I started having a lot of health problems (most notably SEVERE insomnia). Despite all the barriers put up in my way, I lost a further 29 lbs in the third year of my journey, taking me to 95 lbs lost total. In a year where weight loss was very difficult for me, I had some great NSVs: running a full 5K for the first time in my life; maintaining my weight during a 12-week exercise ban due to stress fracture; getting to where I regularly ate 5+ freggies a day (something I once thought was impossible for me). It was also in this year that I stopped feeling FAT and started to feel like ME again.

Three months after my third weight loss anniversary in November 2012, I reached my original goal of 155 lbs (100 lbs lost), and switched into maintenance mode for the rest of 2013. In January 2014, I underwent surgery to repair the muscles and skin damaged by my pregnancies in 2000-2004. I am currently healing from that surgery. My family also spent May-August 2014 moving cross-country to Boston, and through combined stress, depression, and lots of eating out, I gained back 15-20 lbs. Now that the move is over, my focus will be on continuing to heal and to lose back what I regained, plus I'd like to lose the last 15-20 lbs beyond that to get to my final goal.

Setting out to lose 100+ lbs can be daunting and feel impossible. I felt that way back in the beginning! But there are five things that I learned throughout my journey that became the pillars of my success, the things that helped me to lose 100+ lbs and keep them off, and I thought I'd share them for anyone who might be struggling with that same daunted, impossible feeling.

1. Slow = Permanent. At the very beginning of my journey, I made a decision to never eat at a severe calorie deficit. I do not have a fast metabolism, but I ate an average of 1700-2100 calories per day and still lost. Yes, it took longer to lose the weight that way, but it gave my body time to adjust and my lifestyle changes to become second-nature. It's easier to eat at a 250-500 calorie deficit than a 1000-calorie deficit, for sure, so it was much easier to stick with it and not give up (ie, I was not hungry all the time!). And, because I lost slowly, I do not gain back quickly, and maintenance has been a piece of cake! Totally worth the trade-off!

2. Determination, not Motivation. Motivation is fantastic! I used it every moment I could get my hands on it. But motivation never lasts very long, and I could not rely on it permanently. I had to draw on determination to succeed. A person does not need motivation to go to their job every day. They simply go, because they have to. I treated weight loss the same way. It was my job, something that had to be done even if I just didn't feel like it. I decided I was going to lose this weight, and nothing was going to stop me. Motivation = fickle and fleeting. Determination = control and empowerment!

3. Support support support! I can't say just how important this has been. My first year losing weight, I had no support system, and I failed. A HUGE part of my success in my second year and beyond has been thanks to my family and friends and Sparkfriends and Sparkteams. The more I put into building my support network, the more successful I - and others around me - have been.

4. Experimentation breeds Knowledge. Many times on my journey, things have started going wrong for me. I could have just kept doing what I was doing, hoping eventually things would go right again, but I didn't. Instead, I explored, questioned, and experimented. In doing so, I discovered new things about my body which enabled me to get past hurdles and move onto the next part of my journey. Just like I never let my body become sedentary, I never let my brain sink into torpor, either.

5. Never give up, no matter what! This should be obvious, but so many people let obstacles - big or small - derail them. I hit so many hurdles on my journey. Stress fracture, two-year plateau, eighteen months of severe insomnia, three car accidents in a year, surgeries, foot/ankle injuries...the list goes on and on. It didn't matter what life hit me with, though. I never gave up, no matter what. I kept going, and that has kept me on the path of success.

Best way to get to know me is through my blogs. Here are links to some of my favorites, including major accomplishments and milestones along the way:

Loose skin removal:

Life...with Vegetables!

Conquering a 13-year-old fear:

I'll know I'm done when...

Earning a Caribbean cruise:

I am overweight!

100 lbs lost forever!

Also: My success story was featured on the Sparkblog!
Read More About POOKASLUAGH (Updated October 18)

Current Status:
POOKASLUAGH is very happy with the overall results of this four-week experiment. Blog up!
set 3 days ago



My Ticker:

 current weight: 158.4 

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Recent Blogs:


Member Since: 2/25/2011

SparkPoints: 112,435

Fitness Minutes: 63,489

My Goals:
- lose 50 lbs in 2011 - 11/8/11
- lose 100 lbs - 2/21/13
- maintain for 1 yr - 2/21/14
- lose 120 lbs

255 - start - 11/27/09
240 - getting serious - 1/1/11
228 - joined Spark - 2/25/11
205 - 50 lbs gone - 7/16/11
199 - ONEderland! - 9/6/11
185 - no longer obese - 1/4/12
175 - pre-pregnancy - 5/24/12
155 - 100 lbs gone - 2/21/13
154 - healthy BMI - 3/18/13
140s - 10/13/13
135 final goal

NSV Goals:
- 25+ full pushups - 4/30/11
- fit into my wedding ring - 5/12/11
- 1 min jumping jacks - 5/26/11
- ride a bike again- 8/2/11
- RHR under 60 bpm - 10/4/11
- weigh less than my DH - 1/7/12
- run a full 5k - 3/25/12
- wear a normal swimsuit - 9/15/12
- run a full 10k - 1/12/13
- abdomen repaired - 1/13/14
- fit in my wedding dress -1/25/14
- 5+ pullups

My Program:
- listen to my hunger cues
- eat ~1700-2100 cals daily
- eat out only 1-2x per month
- healthy-but-reasonable diet
- drink 12+ glasses of water daily
- exercise 5-6 days/wk
- roughly 85% cardio 15% ST
- burn ~2500 cals/wk
- stay active outside of exercise
- 8 hrs of sleep per night
- check in on Spark regularly
- one day off goals weekly

Personal Information:
Married stay at home mom (for now). Writer and bookworm. Liberal agender bisexual agnostic human secularist. I'm always curious about a Sparker's height, so putting mine out there - I'm 5'6. My username is a mix of two fairies: pooka, a happy fairy, and sluagh, a sad fairy. A sort of bi-polar combination. :D

Other Information:
Fav Band: Stiffs Incorporated
Fav Book: Possession by AS Byatt
Fav Movie: The Hours

Other things I love: writing, reading, chocolate, fountain pens, men's formal hats, classic lit, gothic aesthetics, NCIS, b&w German Expressionist films like Metropolis, tarot cards, autumn, champagne, well-written fantasy novels, French language and culture, gingerbread houses, calligraphy, henna, piano, chiropractors, sunsets and harvest moons, snow, Harry Potter, sleep, and my whole big extended family.


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Member Comments:
10/18/2014 8:05:20 AM

Wow - I appreciate your thorough analysis of your Whole28 challenge and your courage in posting your "underwear" pix. Thanks also for the Molly Galbraith reference - I think I needed to see that today. It's been a rough week, body-image wise. Keep up the good work!

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10/13/2014 10:54:21 AM

Just stopping by to say emoticon I hope all is well. emoticon emoticon
emoticon Dee

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10/11/2014 4:43:44 PM

You rock! emoticon

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10/10/2014 2:24:59 AM

Just saying hi and letting you know I've been thinking about you.


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10/8/2014 2:38:54 PM

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Cooler weather, colorful leaves....the season is changing! Are you ready for a change, too?

You are cordially invited to join the San Antonio spark team in a three-week "Trick or Treat" challenge!

Details are on the team page - head on over today to sign up!

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