BEFORE

Like many women, Mandy had never felt as though she was the poster girl for fitness. Throughout her entire adult and teenaged life, she had never managed to be smaller than a size 10. However, it wasn’t until after her second child that Mandy realized that a size 18 was pushing things just a little too far. She decided to make a change. “My wake up call happened when I was looking at those size 18 jeans in the mall,” she says. “My BMI was over the top, way past obese. It was scary!” To add to that fear, was the information that her husband’s position in the Marines called for them to transfer to Okinawa, Japan. “What was I going to do? Okinawa is a small island with some of the most beautiful beaches” she says. “Everything is centered around outdoor and water activities. No way could I go on the beach the way I was!” So Mandy put her panic attack on hold, and instead decided to devise an action plan.

Mandy knew she had to work on both her diet and her activity levels, so she began with Weight Watchers. Because she is and always has been what she describes as a “Food Addict”, Weight Watchers helped Mandy stay in control of what she was putting in her mouth. She could log the food and calories online and still be able to eat some of the foods she liked without going overboard. She also began working out with The Biggest Loser Boot Camp Workout, with which she lost her first 30 pounds. Within seven months, Mandy had dropped from a size 18, 174 pound frame, to a size 10, 135 pound one. She continued to complete her hour long workouts while her youngest child napped, and four months later was able to reach her goal of 125 pounds. For many, this goal would have been plenty to celebrate and even enough of a reason to ease up a bit; however, Mandy continued to work even harder and eventually hit her ultimate goal of 110 pounds.

AFTER

Mandy continues to keep track of her calorie intake. She typically consumes around 1200 calories a day which she splits into three meals and two snacks. The bulk of her diet consists of lean protein, salad and fruit, although she admits to partaking in the occasional lasagna or pasta when cooking it for her family. She claims she is able to do so by controlling her portion sizes and admits that these days she can actually feel satisfied with smaller portions.

Mandy also continues to work out nearly every day. While the bulk of her workouts consist of various Bob Harper (Biggest Loser Trainer) DVD’s, Mandy has also taken up running. When time allows she enjoys running the hills of Okinawa. For those days when time and family don’t allow for a scenic run, Mandy runs on her treadmill, a Christmas gift from her husband. She continues to stay motivated through the support if her husband and children as well as her own personal desire to be around for all of them and be the best person she can be. After viewing one Biggest Loser contestant’s story of losing his mother to obesity, Mandy knew she could never put her children through that pain. “I just knew I had to protect my kids from that and show them how to be healthy,” she says. “My weight made me ashamed of myself, like I was never who I was supposed to really be. Every push-up, every kettle-ball swing and every pound of fat I lost was one step closer to who I really was.”

While Mandy remains positive and motivated, she does admit that maintaining the weight loss is a daily struggle. Her addiction to food means that she must consistently be aware of what she is eating and the type of food around her. As Mandy describes it, “Food addiction is one of the worst addictions out there; we can’t walk away, we HAVE to eat every day!” With that in mind, she stays on her toes and does her very best to make healthy decisions and keep the junk food out of reach. Her advice for other moms out there struggling to find the will or the way to even get started is to basically just get up and do it. “It won’t happen overnight and there is no magic pill or diet plan that will work. It’s all just honest hard work and lots of sweat! It’s a lifestyle change, pure and simple.”

For more information on Mandy, please visit her blog where she gives further detail on her amazing transformation as well as daily tips, motivation and inspiration! www.beitbelieveit.blogspot.com

 

Sian Bitner-Kearney

Editor