POOKASLUAGH   103,966
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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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Hi everyone! My name's Amanda and I'm a 35-year-old stay at home mom of three boys aged 13, 11, 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!

*****
My ...
Hi everyone! My name's Amanda and I'm a 35-year-old stay at home mom of three boys aged 13, 11, 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!

*****
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.

A few months after my third weight loss anniversary in November 2012, I reached my goal of 155 lbs (100 lbs lost), and switched into maintenance mode while I tried to determine what was causing my health problems. Eventually, I discovered that the problem was a gluten allergy, and on September 8, 2013, I switched to a gluten-free lifestyle. Since switching, many of my health problems - even ones I didn't know were related - have disappeared, and I've lost a few more pounds while continuing to eat at maintenance level.

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. Afterwards, my focus this year will be on increasing my strength and fitness levels, as well as keeping gluten out of my diet (a harder task than you'd think) and learning to really love my body. If I drop more pounds in the process, that's just icing on the cake! Ideally, I'd love to weigh 135-140 lbs one day, but honestly, I'm pretty happy with my current size, so I'm not too fussed about that. :)

*****
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:
http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public
_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5641097

Life...with Vegetables!
http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public
_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=4628907

Conquering a 13-year-old fear:
http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public
_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=4860680

I'll know I'm done when...
http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public
_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=4926241

Why I stopped eating gluten:
http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public
_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5483475

Earning a Caribbean cruise:
http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public
_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=4574227

I am overweight!
http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public
_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=4656277

100 lbs lost forever!
http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public
_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5258535
Read More About POOKASLUAGH (Updated April 13)


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POOKASLUAGH is not having a good morning. Hopefully a walk with friends will help!
set 1 day ago


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Member Since: 2/25/2011

SparkPoints: 103,966

Fitness Minutes: 60,146

My Goals:
Weight goals:
- lose 50 lbs in 2011 - 11/8/11
- lose 100 lbs - 2/21/13
- maintain for 6 months - 8/21/13
- maintain for 1 yr - 2/21/14
- maintain for 2 yrs (ongoing)

Milestones:
255 - start of journey - 11/27/09
240 - getting serious now - 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

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:
During weight loss, my program involved listening to my hunger cues, eating roughly 1700-2100 calories per day. I limited eating out to a few times per month, ate a healthy-but-reasonable diet, and drank 12+ glasses of water per day. I exercised 30-60 mins per day, 5-6 days/week (~2500 calories burned per week), roughly 85% cardio 15% ST. I also tried to get 8 hrs of sleep per night, and gave myself one day off my goals weekly (a built-in fail-safe).

Now, I'm doing pretty much the same thing to maintain, eating slightly more and exercising slightly less.

Personal Information:
Married, writer, stay at home mom, agnostic, and liberal. 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, fountain pens, men's formal hats, gothic aesthetics, classic literature, NCIS, drawing, b&w German Expressionist films like Metropolis, tarot cards, autumn, 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:
BBORDEN86
3/28/2014 8:58:55 AM

I haven't commited yet to doing whole30 but I like the idea of it... and then slowly adding things back in. I mean I'm on a budget so I wouldn't be able to commit to buying grassfed, organic, etc. all the time. That would get expensive, but I figure I could partially commit and just get store bought meat just make sure the fat is cut off. Which I do anyways, and make sure it's the leanest cuts possible. However, there is a lot that I do eat that isn't Whole30 approved, and it freaks me out. I don't have the hang of sticking to my calories, so how the heck would I stick to that?! I thought about being lax on condiments, and sticking mainly to just limiting the amount of dairy, sugar, and grains that I consume. I just don't know that I would get the full benefit of the program that way though... which is the whole point. Haha. I think I'm just going to postpone trying it for now. It's insane how much sugar is in everything we eat. :/



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CRABADA
3/25/2014 9:01:33 PM

Hi Pooks - Long time to chat. Just caught up on your surgery saga - so glad it turned out well and that you're feeling good physically and emotionally. You (and your belly) look fabulous! Let's chat soon.

xoxoxo
Courtney



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LITTLECYRENA
3/23/2014 10:30:59 PM

Thanks for your link to MJ-SHE BEAST'S blog...Wow, talk about a real wake up call. I was angsty and moody and sad, I'm so grateful that you were there to help cheer me up. *sparkhugs*



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TRACYNOTGIVINUP
3/22/2014 1:59:52 PM

I thought it sounded weird to put the oil in my coffee too. You have to blend it though in the blender, it comes out creamy and with a slight froth on top. I am really enjoying my coffee like I did pre Whole30 again. Have a great weekend!



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FRUM_SCRATCH
3/21/2014 12:28:57 PM

Thanks for your input on the color run! I'm walking it with a team and my husband is running with another team, we've for sure decided to try bandana masks for our nose/mouth in the color areas based on what you said. I didn't really think of that, I was just worried about getting it in my eyes!



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