Meet Amanda, a consultant and Whovian with a FANTASTIC success story.
Amanda’s transformation started like so many others:
- Amanda realized one day that she was unhappy with the way she looked and felt.
- She didn’t focus on the quality of the food she was eating.
- After work, Amanda would find herself napping on the couch instead of doing something productive.
- Amanda had self-image issues and needed to find a way out of the rut she was in.
Last year this all changed though.
She woke up one day and realized the person looking back at her in the mirror wasn’t someone she was happy with anymore.
Amanda then made a few habit and outlook changes that added up to an INCREDIBLE transformation.
So what happened?
Amanda is Unhappy
So last October Amanda faced a challenge all women seem to struggle with – finding a dress for a wedding.
“… I was shopping in Macy’s for a dress to wear to my friend’s wedding, and the only thing that even remotely fit me was a size 14. I had never been that big, and I was heart-broken.”
This is something that happens to so many people… the changes in their bodies are so subtle that it takes awhile to notice how far they have slipped. This is when Amanda reached out to me, downloaded the Top 7 Fitness Obstacles Newbies Face and started making positive changes in her life!
Amanda gets Healthy
After that sobering moment trying on dresses, Amanda made a number of changes.
“… I am a generally lazy person. I like naps a lot! So coming home from work, getting my workout clothes on and then hitting the gym instead of taking a nap is very difficult for me! … People say that it only takes two weeks for something to become a habit, but that wasn’t the case for me. It took me months to really nail down my routine and make it a habit.”
Amanda pushed herself though and started working out, finding “accountabilibuddies” and reforming her diet. She didn’t follow my advice blindly, like a good member of the Jerd Herd she fact checked me and verified things like exercise regimens and daily caloric intake with other fitness professionals.
She found that she really enjoyed running and made that a regular part of her regimen and made a serious effort to include a lot more fruits and vegetables into her diet too.
Every month (or whenever she needed some advice or encouragement) she would touch base with me about her diet or workout regimen and we would adjust her plan where necessary.
This led to her dropping 7 dress sizes and making vast improvements in the way she felt.
Today Amanda is a new woman.
She feels better about herself, has more energy and has managed to defeat her arch-nemesis “The Evil Couch“.
“I’m a lot happier with myself. I’m definitely more confident… I think I’m less judgmental about myself because I know that this hasn’t been easy and that it is a life-change, so I’m less hard on myself when I have a bad day.”
Amanda also knows this wasn’t a temporary fix; she is fully committed to transform herself into a real-life superhero!
She has pushed herself way outside of her comfort zone, trying everything from running 5ks, to checking out Cross-Fit, all the way to participating in some grueling fitness challenges like the Spartan and GoRuck races. She truly is a changed woman!
“… I first read about GoRuck and I thought it was cool but that I would never be able to do it; and now I have done 3 of them. It just absolutely blows my mind sometimes when I think about how unmotivated and lazy I used to be compared to now.”
Amanda is now a full-fledged Jerd in her own right. She’s not resting on her laurels though, she has set some new challenges to conquer on her epic journey to real-life superhero. She’s going to complete the Spartan Trifecta this year and push herself to her limits at the GoRuck ABSOC (All Branches of Special Operations Challenge) challenge this summer!
She is awesome!
Jeff: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to the readers about your heroic transformation, I’m SUPER proud of you and really looking forward to talking to you about your accomplishments! But before we get to that, let’s get to know you a little bit.
Amanda: Well, let’s see… I’m 29 years old and I came to Washington, D.C. about five years ago from Michigan, where nobody exercises it seems, and I kind of got the bug here.
Jeff: And what do you do for a living?
Amanda: I am a consultant.
Jeff: (laughs) Define consultant for those who do not live in the D.C. area.
Amanda: Well right now I work for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) for their design and dissemination division.
Jeff: Sounds super secret!
Amanda: That’s exactly it.
Jeff: Well before we dive into your story, I want to get a few important things out of the way.
Jeff: Star Trek or Star Wars?
Amanda: Star Trek.
Jeff: Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter?
Amanda: Harry Potter.
Jeff: Favorite superhero?
Amanda: Dammit… um… Rogue!
Jeff: Really?!? Nice, that’s not one you hear very often. I dig it.
Jeff: Alright, now that we have that out of the way let’s talk about your dramatic life change. What was the catalyst? What happened that made you realize you wanted a change?
Amanda: It was in October, and I was shopping in Macy’s for a dress to wear to my friend’s wedding, and the only thing that even remotely fit me was a size 14. I had never been that big, and I was heart-broken. So that’s when I got in contact with you and said “I need help.”
Jeff: So between then and now, what have you accomplished? How have you transformed yourself?
Amanda: Well, I have gone down to a size 4-6… so I have lost 6 or 7 dress sizes. Lost 25 pounds overall, but I put on a lot of muscle too in the process. I’ve started running a lot, doing things like the GoRuck, Tough Mudder and the Spartan races. I went from not even being able to run for a minute to running 5ks and 10ks regularly, and now I am training for a half marathon. Oh, and I finally stopped looking at the number on the scale and am paying more attention to how I feel and how my clothes are fitting!
Jeff: It wasn’t a smooth transition though was it?
Amanda: Absolutely not.
Jeff: (laughs) So what did we butt heads over in the beginning?
Amanda: Definitely my weight. I know in the beginning I was concentrating on pounds and calories, and you were trying to get me to take a more holistic approach. I was just counting calories but still eating what I wanted, not paying attention to the quality of the food I was eating, and you kept telling me to eat more fruits and vegetables. It took a little time, but I finally refocused and changed my food priorities.
Jeff: And if I recall, there was a time where you were severely restricting your calories and taking in much less calories than you should have been.
Amanda: Right. Well, that’s been a struggle the whole time. There’s just so many variables out there. Some people will tell me that I should be eating no more than 1200 but others, such as yourself and another personal trainer I know, are saying no less than 1500. So I have been trying to find that balance, but I was definitely not eating enough.
Jeff: Well other than the calories, what was the toughest change for you to make?
Amanda: (laughs) Well, I am a generally lazy person. I like naps a lot! So coming home from work, getting my workout clothes on and then hitting the gym instead of taking a nap is very difficult for me! So motivation really. People say that it only takes two weeks for something to become a habit, but that wasn’t the case for me. It took me months to really nail down my routine and make it a habit.
Jeff: So what do you do to muster the motivation? How do you avoid the comfort of your couch after a long day’s work?
Amanda: I make it a point to meet up with people. If I have plans to meet up with someone for a bike ride or a run then I can’t just skip out on them. So I have to do it.
Jeff: So for you, the support system is what makes it work?
Amanda: Yeah, definitely.
Jeff: So how did you go about finding these workout buddies? Are they work friends? People you met through the gym?
Amanda: It’s actually people I met through the races… these are mostly GoRuck people I met. Those are the people I workout with the most now.
Jeff: For people who aren’t familiar with that, can you explain?
Amanda: GoRuck is special forces style challenge that was created by a backpack company. So this guy, Jason McCarthy, designed this special backpack because he wasn’t happy with what was on the market; he wanted something that could hold anything and endure anything so he created this GoRuck bag and decided to test it. So he and some of his other military friends came up with these GoRuck races where you put bricks in the backpack and you do these training exercises. You do PT, you do “rucking”, you do team building exercises… it just gives you a taste of the sort of things they go through in their special forces training.
Jeff: That sounds pretty cool… and intense. How often do you do that?
Amanda: This summer I am going to be doing one every month… but they are anywhere from 5 to 24 hours, so it’s not just a normal 5k! It’s definitely a weekend commitment.
Jeff: That’s awesome! It sounds like it is also a social activity?
Amanda: Oh, absolutely! You have an absolute blast… you meet so many great people and you really do develop lasting friendships.
Jeff: (laughs) Lasting friendships forged in agony?
Amanda: (laughs) Basically!
Jeff: So if you had to pick one thing, what do you think was the most important change that you made to get you to where you are now?
Amanda: My food habits.
Jeff: So let’s talk about that for a second… what were those changes like?
Amanda: I stopped focusing so much on calories and more on eating clean. I cut out a lot of processed foods, cut down on the alcohol… and it just makes everything easier. Makes waking up easier, makes going to the gym easier, makes the workouts themselves easier… I can always tell how I’ve been eating during a workout based on how I am doing.
Jeff: Well, you’re about to inspire a crap-ton of people here. So what would you tell someone who is in the same situation you were when you started out? What is your advice?
Amanda: Well, we have a saying in GoRuck which is “Embrace the suck,” and that’s what I started doing. You have to realize that not every day is going to be a good day, not every day is going to feel like a victory. Sometimes you are going to fall down and fail and you just have to get back up and say “Alright, I messed up” and move on!
Jeff: Well said. So I want to follow-up on that; you’ve taken on all these new activities. You’re running, finding yourself in the gym, you’re doing these GoRuck challenges, you’re embracing the suck as you put it… do you feel that your life has changed so drastically that you’re not able to enjoy all the other things, geeky or not, that you used to? I mean you still go out with your friends, play games, watch Dr Who and all that other stuff too, right?
Amanda: Oh absolutely!
Jeff: So would it be correct to say you just re-prioritized things?
Amanda: Yeah, although to be fair it’s not as if all the time I wasn’t in the gym was spent reading or watching Dr Who. I was probably out drinking or sleeping. (laughs) But seriously, I don’t think any of that has suffered; I still have plenty of time to do all the things I want. And I tend to workout with people who like the same things, so when we are working out we are also talking about the latest Dr Who episode or how excited we are to see the new X-Men movie.
Jeff: Nice. Well other than your physical appearance has anything else changed about you?
Amanda: I’m a lot happier with myself. I’m definitely more confident… I think I’m less judgmental about myself because I know that this hasn’t been easy and that it is a life-change, so I’m less hard on myself when I have a bad day. On the other hand though, I’m much harder on myself when I feel like I’m phoning it in on a workout because I know what I am capable of!
Jeff: Do you have anything else you are planning on getting involved in?
Amanda: Well I’m bumping up the cycling this summer. I’m looking get some good mileage in because I just moved to Virginia and I am looking forward to all the hills… D.C. is pretty flat. I’m also working o the Spartan Trifecta this year – the Spartan Sprint, the Super Spartan and the Spartan Beast. I’ve already done the Super Spartan, I’m doing the Sprint in July and the Beast in August up in Vermont, so I will get a special medal for completing that.
Amanda: The thing I am most excited for is the GoRuck ABSOC this July in Virginia Beach. So each GoRuck has a cadre leader who is active military, but at the ABSOC will have all four branches of the military there helping with each event, so it will definitely test my limits, that’s for sure.
Jeff: So I am hearing you talk about all these things you are doing now… if we step in our TARDIS and travel back in time to October, would that version of you have envisioned you doing any of these things?
Amanda: Absolutely not. It was right about then that I first read about GoRuck and I thought it was cool but that I would never be able to do it; and now I have done 3 of them. It just absolutely blows my mind sometimes when I think about how unmotivated and lazy I used to be compared to now.
Jeff: Love it. Well thank you so much for taking the time to talk to all the other loyal readers out there. I really appreciate it!
Amanda: Anytime! And thanks for inspiring me!
Become the next success story!
This is why I do this. This is what The Jerd is all about! Helping my fellow geeks take control of their health and their lives.
It doesn’t matter where you are coming from, what your hobbies are or who your favorite superhero is… at the end of the day we all are striving to embody Rule #8 of the Jerd Herd:
“We strive to be better every day!”
Work, family and stress can all beat us down from time to time, but the key that Amanda (and so many other readers) have come to realize is that there is always a way to push yourself through it and become that real-life superhero you always dreamed you could be!
So please feel free to congratulate Amanda, or ask her a question, in the comments below.
I can’t wait to hear about YOUR epic heroes’ transformation story, so I can share it with our thousands of monthly visitors.
I have faith in you, so let’s see what you’ve got!
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PS: I’m super happy that Amanda is a member of the “Jerd Herd“, and would love for you to join our ranks as well!