How Amanda L. Lost 152 Pounds After Losing Her Father to Heart Disease

Name: Amanda L.
LIVESTRONG.COM Username: boscogirl (member since: 2015)
Age: 40 Height: 5 feet 5 inches
BEFORE Weight: 356 pounds Dress/Pant Size: 28 (pants) and 5XL (work scrubs)
AFTER Weight: 195 pounds (and still losing!) Dress/Pant Size: 14 (pants) and XL (work scrubs)
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your life like before joining LIVESTRONG.COM?
Amanda: Prior to joining LIVESTRONG.COM, my diet, exercise and self-esteem were nonexistent. Sure, I jumped on every fad diet that came along, but they never lasted ¡ª or at least I never remained committed. Exercising lived in my mind, and I thought of it often. But that, too, never lasted and mostly only existed in my head. I am and have always been a very outgoing person.
To most, my self-esteem may almost seem off the charts, but that is only because I learned over many years to put on an act and make others believe I was the most happy and content person there was. I hid behind my humor so others would notice just how funny I was and not the fact that I couldn¡¯t fit in most chairs or that my clothes were so tight that I was uncomfortable. No one could tell by the smile on my face just how miserable and imprisoned I felt in my own skin.
Sugar was my best friend. Or at least that¡¯s what I thought. If I was hungry, I ran right for a candy bar and soda. It was my drug. I felt amazing after I would scarf down the bar in just three or four bites and gulp down the soda like it was my last one ever. I lived for any and all things sweet! Let¡¯s just say it was my Achilles¡¯ heel.
I battled on and off with high blood pressure. I was placed on medication to help control it on more than a few occasions. It would scare me into eating healthier, but that never lasted long, so I would be back in the same boat with high blood pressure and a pill by my side. My health was on its way to diabetes, chronic high blood pressure and anything else that came with being morbidly obese. I was a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your inspiration to make a change?
Amanda: I lost my father to a massive heart attack at the age of 56. He battled all his life with weight and played the yo-yo diet game for as long as I could remember. My daddy was my life, and losing my hero caused me to face the facts and reassess my life. I vowed to make a change so my daughter would never have to experience what I did

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I told myself I was going to do this the right way and that a diet was not the answer. I would have to work and fight for a better me each and every day. The gym would become a daily routine, as would my eating more balanced and clean. I would not pick up the newest diet trend, but rather I would create my own new healthy lifestyle change. I was not going to try to do this ¡ª I was going to do it no matter how much blood, sweat and tears it took.
LIVESTRONG.COM: How did LIVESTRONG.COM help you lose weight?
Amanda: I came across LIVESTRONG.COM one night while searching the internet for various workout routines. I clicked on the link and instantly fell in love with the site. It is like a one-stop shop for articles, recipes, workout routines and up-to-date health and fitness info. It is, to me, my fitness bible. I signed up to receive the daily newsletter email so I could stay updated and educated and use LIVESTRONG.COM as another tool in creating my new and healthy lifestyle.
I find I utilize the free Stronger workouts most. I am always looking for a new and more challenging workout routine to push myself, and LIVESTRONG.COM offers me this. I love the health and fitness articles because they contain not only current information, but information I feel is safe and accurate for its audience.
I have also been a huge fan of Fitbit and have now gone through two of them since my journey began. I love their app because it allows me to track my food, exercise, water intake, weight, BMI, body fat and sleep in one place. I have made so many new friends through the app as it has daily, weekly and personal-goal challenges. It offers me the chance to be competitive and healthy all at once.
I have been on this journey now for almost two years. I started at 356 pounds and am currently weighing in at 195 (and nowhere near finished).
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your support system like?
Amanda: I believe I am blessed with one of the greatest support systems ever! My family and friends are amazing. They are always considerate around me and make sure I am taken care of. My best friend ¡ª who weighed roughly 140 pounds when I began in September on this journey ¡ª was right there along with me eating healthier, joining me in the gym five days a week and making her own overall lifestyle change. She has lost 20 pounds and continues to live the life of a healthy individual.
My husband loves to cook, so I am a lucky woman. He cooks me a balanced, high-protein meal for dinner with nothing but fresh and healthy ingredients. He ensures there is always extra so I am set for lunch the next day. We enjoy going to dinner as well and find ourselves ordering one meal to split. This offers us a smaller portion and keeps us both accountable for making healthier choices.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What¡¯s your favorite way to work out?
Amanda: I love biking and the gym. I am really into free weights and constantly pushing myself every day. I love seeing the results of my muscle definition where before was just skin and fat.
I began attending a weekly support group where I not only learned strength and healing, but also inherited a group of others who I feel have become more like family than friends. I realized how much we enjoyed each other¡¯s company and support in the group, so I thought of ways to get together outside of it that was not geared toward food.
There are currently seven of us, ranging in age from 40 to some in their 60s, who meet up every Saturday at a local park and ride bikes. Some ride six miles. Others like me ride up to 22 miles. I am slowly getting into cycling and hope to be able to purchase a cycling bike and gear in the near future.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What¡¯s your weekly exercise schedule?
Amanda: My workout times vary because I like to add in yoga every now and again. Typically, we arrive at the gym and begin working out at 6 a.m. (5:30 a.m. for yoga). I work out on most days anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour. I warm up with the treadmill or elliptical and then hit the free weights. I alternate arms, legs and core days to allow my muscles the proper rest and repair time.
I have an hour for lunch at work, so the first half hour is spent eating my lunch and reading LIVESTRONG.COM articles, while the second half is spent walking 1.5 miles (give or take) around my building. This is a great way to get in cardio and decompress from the morning so that I am fresh and ready to take on the rest of my day.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What¡¯s a typical day of meals and snacks?
Amanda: I eat three balanced meals a day with two snacks. I gave up soda almost three years ago and drink only black coffee. I find I am most successful if I prepare my next day¡¯s meals the night before so I have no excuse to go out or grab something quick and easy.
My typical breakfast consists of unflavored organic oatmeal with fresh blueberries and protein powder along with one meatless sausage link.
Lunch is either meatless soy meatballs or chickenless chicken nuggets with fresh veggies and a mango salsa.
Dinner is also high in protein and fresh vegetables.
My snacks consist of a low-fat cheese stick, protein bar, hard-boiled egg or fresh fruit.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What¡¯s the range of calories you eat per day?
Amanda: I get in roughly 1,200 calories a day.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What are the healthy staples that are always in your kitchen?
Amanda: Propel zero-calorie flavored water with electrolytes and vitamins, almond butter, bananas and protein powder are favorites and always in my kitchen.
LIVESTRONG.COM: How do you strategize for meals?
Amanda: I prefer to shop for my foods every few days to ensure freshness. I plan meals on Sundays and package my food the night before for the next day. I keep fresh fruit, almond milk and veggies in the refrigerator at work along with protein powder in at my desk, so I always have a backup plan.
LIVESTRONG.COM: Were there any supplements that you took during your journey?
Amanda: I take a daily vitamin and calcium chew. I use a variety of protein powders, but all must be hydrolyzed isolate whey protein. I drink amino acids three times a day to help with the repair of my muscles due to weightlifting.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What¡¯s the biggest challenge you faced?
Amanda: The best advice I can share is to make sure you are making this change for yourself above all. If you are not doing it for you, then you most likely will not be successful.
If you haven¡¯t already, become organized and plan ahead. I pack my gym bag the night before

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, put my workout clothes in the restroom, socks inside untied shoes at the table and all powders and supplements at the sink inside the cups for when I put my already-packaged lunch in my lunch bag. I set my alarm only once to prevent from falling back asleep and missing the gym. Always eat something like a banana or oatmeal prior to working out, and drink plenty of water.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What¡¯s your biggest secret to success that you want to share with others?
Amanda: My biggest success is to remember that this is not a destination, it¡¯s a journey. I am not trying to get to something or someplace, I am simply becoming healthy and, most of all, happy.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What¡¯s your life like now?
Amanda: My life today is nothing like it was a couple of years ago. I have so much energy and desire to be active, unlike my prior years of having to force myself to do pretty much anything. I love to work out, ride bikes, swim, hike and even jog! I look forward to amusement parks, barbecues with friends and family and even going to a restaurant because I know I will fit in the chair or booth.
I smile from the inside out and feel amazing. I still have more to go, but I¡¯m off to a pretty good start! I want to thank LIVESTRONG.COM for being my go-to for workouts and recipes and providing me with the most up-to-date articles on health and fitness. I look forward to my journey each and every day. I can¡¯t wait to see where I am a year from now!
Read More: LIVESTRONG.com Members’ Before & After Weight Loss Photos
Ann Rusnak is LIVESTRONG’s Sr. Community Manager. Her quest to lose the baby weight before the baby finished elementary school sparked an interest in health and fitness that continues to be a passion to this day. She loves hiking and yoga, and thinks the best exercise is one you can do with a good friend. Over the years, Ann’s desire to fit into a certain size has evolved into what she feels is the more important goal of feeling good and having energy to live life to its fullest.

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20 Home Remedies for Weight Loss

Diet. Mention that little four-letter word to any woman anywhere in the world and you’ll get the same reaction — disgust. If you really want to know the intensity of feeling behind the word, order a slice of cheesecake, and eat it in front of a woman who has been on a diet for a few weeks. Shouldn’t be too hard to find one — about 40 percent of women are dieting at any given moment. You’re likely to end up with heel marks on your forehead and a plate of half-eaten cheesecake in your lap. And you thought women were the weaker sex. Not when it comes to dessert!
According to recent statistics, more than 97.1 million Americans are overweight. That’s an estimated 25 percent of the population. And the numbers are almost equally divided between men and women; 46.9 million of them are women and 50.2 million of them are men.
Because of the alarming number of adults and kids packing on the pounds, Americans are discovering that traditional diets don’t work. In fact, the four-letter word that caused so much angst for women over the years is getting the boot. The latest thinking on losing weight is that you don’t have to deprive yourself to shed the pounds. It’s simply a matter of using your noodle (the one on your shoulders, not on your plate) to learn how to eat healthfully. Making use of readily accessible home remedies is one way to get your diet off to the right start.
Eating smart and exercising are your best bets to paring down to a healthy weight. For most people that means making a complete lifestyle change — not one that means no more cheesecake, ever, but one that knows how to incorporate that cheesecake into an overall healthy eating style.
So how do you know if you’re overweight or obese? First you need to calculate your body mass index (BMI). This is the method the government uses to determine who’s at a normal weight, who’s overweight, and who’s obese. To get your BMI, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to convert your weight to kilograms. Then divide your height in inches by 39.37 to convert it to meters. Multiply your height in meters by itself, and then divide your weight in kilograms by that number. Say you weigh 150 pounds and you’re 5’7″ (67 inches). Your BMI figures would look like this:
150 divided by 2.2 = 68.2
67 inches divided by 39.37 = 1.70
1.70 x 1.70 = 2.89
68.2 divided by 2.89 = 23.59
A normal BMI is between 19 and 25. A BMI over 25 is considered overweight. And a BMI over 30 is considered obese.?
Being overweight or obese zaps your energy level and can make everyday tasks an ordeal. But carrying around excess pounds also is a risk factor for some serious conditions. The National Institutes of Health says being overweight or obese can increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, stroke, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and some forms of cancer.
Your kitchen holds many home remedies that can help you avoid extra calories and lose pounds. Go to the next page to learn how to use common kitchen tools to help your diet

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This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider

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. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

How Fixing Your Feet Can Improve Your Workout

When was the last time you thought about your feet? They¡¯re likely not at the top of your priority list, but your feet are the foundation for everything you do. They withstand hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds of force every time you take a step.
And while they do a great job of supporting you, they probably aren¡¯t getting the amount of TLC they deserve. More than that, though, they typically get blamed for things they didn¡¯t do.
Have you ever been told that:
A lot of times, however, the problem doesn¡¯t start with your feet. The problem could actually be with your knees or hips. When you address those issues (by strengthening the weak joint), your feet will start to align themselves correctly, giving you a more solid foundation for your workouts and helping prevent future injuries to your lower body.
Read more: The Stiletto Workout: Prevent and Treat Pain From High Heels
Though everyone¡¯s feet have slightly varying degrees of arch, excessively arched or flat feet can indicate a problem with your hips (if it¡¯s not genetic, of course). Lower arches can mean that your hips are rotating inward. This is more common in women, as their hips tend to be wider, causing their hips to rotate in more.
A great way to tell which way your hips rotate is to look at your knees. When your hips rotate in, your knees will point toward each other. This causes your lower legs, ankles and feet to turn in and your arch to flatten out. Since your glutes turn your hips out, strengthening those muscles will help with flat feet. (Think hip thrusts, hip bridges and deadlifts.)
Higher arches, on the other hand, are caused by the hips turning out. People with high arches tend to have tight leg muscles in general, specifically in their glutes and hamstrings

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. High arches can also be seen as tight arches because there is so much tension pulling the arch up

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If you have high arches, focus on your adductor muscles of your leg. The adductors are on the inside of the thigh and pull the leg in. It can also help to spend more time doing relaxing activities like meditation, since people with high arches tend to be more tense. Tension in muscles is an indication of stress, so try to relax.
Read more: 12 Easy, Anytime Moves to Strengthen Your Feet and Ankles
These two fancy anatomical words have to do with ankle alignment. Pronation occurs when your ankle caves in toward the center of your body, and supination occurs when your ankle rolls to the outside.
To determine if either is an issue for you, look at the heel of your shoe. If the inside part of your heel is more worn down, you¡¯re a pronator. If the outside of the heel is worn down, you¡¯re a supinator.
Once again, these problems are caused by the rest of your leg and hip, not the foot or ankle. If you pronate, that means the muscles on the inside of your legs are tight and your legs will collapse inward when you walk.
Conversely, if you supinate, the muscles on the outside of your legs are tight, causing your legs to push away from each other (think: bowlegged people).
Read more: 5 Things You Need to Know About Underpronation
Stand up tall and look down at your feet. You might notice that your toes point in or out. Like the arch problem, this is caused by tight muscles of the hip. If the muscles that rotate your hip inward are tight, your toes will point in as well.
If the muscles that turn your hip out are tight, your toes will turn out. It¡¯s important that you don¡¯t simply force your toes forward if you have these problems. If you don¡¯t first address your tight hips, this will cause torque at the knee.
Read more: The Best Stretches to Avoid Injury in Your Favorite Sports
Now that you know what causes these common foot problems, it¡¯s time to do some helpful exercises. There¡¯s one exercise for flat feet, one for flat and high arches and one for differently shaped feet. Find the one that works best with your feet.
1. Arch Lift for Flat Feet
As you do this exercise, notice that the rest of your leg rotates when you raise and lower your arch.
HOW TO DO IT: Take off your shoes and grab a small object, such as a pen. Put one end of the pen under the arch of your foot. Now, keeping your toes and heels firmly on the ground, lift your arch off of the pen as high as you can. Then press the arch of your foot down on the pen. Do 10 repetitions on each foot.
2. Adductor Toe Touch
For all you supinators out there, this exercise will help you use your adductors to pull your legs back to the center of your body.
HOW TO DO IT: Standing up, put a soft object like a ball or foam roller between your knees. Lean forward and touch your toes while squeezing the object between your knees. Come back up slowly, and then reach down again as far as you can go. Do 10 reps, squeezing the object as hard as you can. Your inner thighs should be burning by the end.
3. Resistance Band Walk
Don¡¯t think we left you out, pronators! With this exercise, you should feel the muscles on the outside of your hips really working.
HOW TO DO IT: Place a resistance band around your ankles. Get into an athletic position with your butt back and knees bent. Keeping your toes pointed forward, step to the side slowly. Complete five steps to the right and five to the left.
4. Hip Rotators
Next is an exercise that¡¯s perfect for pretty much every foot type. This simple exercise will help you learn how to move your hips correctly, no matter where your tension lies. Watch your feet as you do this exercise to see how your arch rises and falls as the knee goes in and out.
HOW TO DO IT: Get into an athletic stance with your butt back and knees bent. Place a resistance band just under or just above your knees. Take your right knee as far out as you can and then as far in as you can without moving any other part of your body. Keep your foot relaxed. Repeat this 10 times before switching sides.
The position of your feet and the height of your arches depend on a lot of things, such as hip strength and position, leg imbalances and the way that you distribute weight. But you can¡¯t simply blame the feet for problems like flat arches.
Make sure that you¡¯re training your legs and hips well and wearing the proper footwear. Don¡¯t simply prop up your arch or another part of your foot. Wear neutral shoes that force you to make an arch with your foot, leg and hip muscles. Most importantly, stop blaming your feet for problems that they aren¡¯t causing!
Read more: The Best Workout for Bad Knees
Did we change the way you look at feet? Did you know any of this before? Do you incorporate foot exercises in your workouts already? What else are you doing to look after your feet? Did you try the exercises mentioned? Please share your thoughts, comments, questions or concerns below!
Read more: 3 Simple Ways to Prevent Running Injuries to Your Feet

High Heels During Economic Lows?

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, so goes women’s fashion. At least that’s the thinking behind armchair economic indicators, such as the hemline index. According to that theory, a relationship exists between the popular length of dresses and skirts and the state of the financial markets. Hence, when the bottom dropped out during the Great Depression

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, the thigh-bearing flapper style gave way to more modest calf-skimming silhouettes.
A slideshow from the New York Times indicates that high heels may be another barometer of the fiscal climate. Only heel height is inversely proportional to the economic prognosis with super stacked shoes enjoying a sky high moment during the current recession. Designers also created notable platform styles during the Great Depression, World War II and the oil crisis of the ’70s. In explaining the link between high heels and economic lows, Elizabeth Semmelhack, the senior curator at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, remarked New York Times “These little trifles can elevate one’s mood.”
Perhaps Wall Street should take a cue from Carmen Miranda and adopt platforms as the financial district footwear du jour.
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What Size Person Will an 18-Inch Frame Bicycle Fit?

Bicycle frame sizes are a lot more flexible than your shoe size. An 18-inch frame will fit a range of people with adjustments to the handlebars and seat. The precise and comfortable fit of a bicycle depends on the brand of the bike and your individual proportions, so be prepared to try a bike on for size before you purchase it.
The length of your legs, arms and torso, as well as your flexibility, all go into determining the proper fit of a bicycle. The first step to getting the perfect bike fit is to figure out your own proportions. The most important measurement for matching your body to a bike frame size is your pubic bone height, which is a cycling-specific term for your inseam

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. To measure your pubic bone height, put on the shoes you intend to bike in and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place a tape measure on the bony protrusion between your legs, just behind your genitals, and measure the distance to the base of your heel.
Read more: How to Choose a Mountain Bike Frame Size
If you already have an 18-inch bicycle, you can compare your pubic bone measurement to the size chart for that specific brand and model. A bicycle size chart uses that inseam measurement to determine which size of that particular model is right for you. In very general terms, an 18-inch bicycle is best for someone just under six feet in height, but factors like inseam length and the differences between bike manufacturers can all influence the fit.
If you’re in the size range on your bike manufacturer’s size chart, that 18-inch frame may still not be perfect. Seat height, seat angle and stem length can all affect the fit of a bike significantly. To set your seat height, get a friend to help you sit on the bike while it’s not moving ¨C leaning on a wall can help you stay balanced. Then, drop your pedal to the lowest position along its rotation, and raise or lower your seat until your knee is almost straight, with a very slight bend. Once you have your seat height set, you can adjust the tilt of the seat to a comfortable position and find a stem that matches how far you’re comfortable reaching to your handlebars.
Read more: Bicycle Sizing for Women
Bike fitting can be very tricky, and an uncomfortable bike might leave you less motivated to get out and ride. If you’re new to bicycles and are having trouble figuring out if your 18-inch frame is the right size for your proportions, stop in to your local bike shop and chat with an expert. Most bike shops have a professional bike fitter on staff, and all shops have lots of experience finding the right size bicycle for their customers

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. They’ll be happy to help you get your bike adjusted to a perfect fit and can even help you choose a new bike if your current bike’s frame size isn’t quite right. Once you have a bike that fits like a glove, you’ll be ready to tackle your next two-wheeled adventure.
Read more: What Does the Frame Size of a Bike Mean?

Numerous Types Of Ferragamo Shoes – Only Designed For You!!

I am not going to lie, I used to really like Ferragamo Shoes and if I am going to be even more honest, I still kind of do. That being, I don’t like everything that they do, but sometimes, just sometimes they make a very nice shoe, one that is beautiful and well made and could stand next to the greats. That’s one thing that upsets me about some of the Italian companies. Many of them, like Gucci and the likes, have the capabilities of making a very nice and well made shoe. But apparently there is no money in quality, as quality usually doesn’t get you as nice of a return (in profit) as selling crap for a high price does. And more often than not, these designer brands chose to go down that route than follow the foot steps that their founders laid out when creating the company.
But as we see here, Ferragmo went a bit British in style (not completely with that bow) with this model and ended up making what looks to be a very made and beautiful shoe! But then again it could be that they only did this for the shop in Mayfair as they are probably wising up to the idea that the typical Mayfair gent likes a classically British look. The other new shoe in the window that I saw today is far more British than this, but subsequently a bit more boring as well. With this I am proud to say that Ferragamo made a lovely shoe that I would be happy to own!