The Backstory

I was always a skinny kid.  There wasn’t much of me.  I never had any issues with weight (except for maybe being underweight!) and could eat whatever I wanted without concern.

Me – Fiji – Age 7

During high school I was very active and played touch football, water polo and surfed.  I used to go to the beach with my friends and wear a rash vest and board shorts to cover up as I would get tired of being called ‘Skeletor’ and listening  to my friends’ shrieks of, “Oh my god!  You’re SO skinny!”.   I know!  Doesn’t that just sound AWFUL?

Me – surfing at Maroubra Beach – Age 13

Me – year 10 school formal – Age 15

But all of that would suddenly change when I turned 17.

I’d been on the pill for a couple of years by that stage to manage my erratic and painful periods.  When I had visited the Doctor about this issue, he quickly prescribed me the pill and told me that would solve the problem.  Back then, PCOS wasn’t as widely talked about as it is now so he probably never even thought to have me tested.   I was happy to take the little pill everyday to control the pain and went about my merry way.

I didn’t realise that the progestogen in the pill can increase your appetite, so was surprised when all of a sudden I started eating more.  I gained a little weight, which was welcomed, as people stopped commenting on how skinny I was!

School was becoming stressful, I was having a hard time at home and I started to feel really down.  I was also becoming increasingly panicky for no particular reason and was really having difficulty just getting out of bed.  I was alienating myself from friends and family and spent my days in my room listening to heavy metal and grunge, as you do in the 90’s (well at least I did!), toying with blades and matches, anything that would take the pain I had on the inside away.  I look back on that time now and can’t even imagine what I was thinking.  It was all very ‘teenage-angst’ and ‘emo’ (no one said emo back then, it was ‘gothic’… do gothics still exist?  I digress…).

My mum started to notice my depressed state and took me to the Doctor.  The Doctor prescribed anti-depressants.  Just like that.  No psychological assessment, no alternative suggestions, just a quick, “Oh, you’re feeling sad?  Here take this”.  And so I embarked on my 7 year battle with anti-depressants.  Quite truthfully, it really was a battle.  I hated taking them, they made me feel numb and tired all the time, but I continued to take them as it was the only tool I had to keep panic attacks at bay.

The anti-depressants (coupled with my excessive hunger from the pill) also started my struggle with my weight. In the year that I started taking them I estimate that I put on about 10kg.  That’s a massive amount for someone who was so small to begin with but at least I wasn’t getting called ‘Skeletor’ anymore!  I had new found curves and I was actually enjoying them.

Me – year 12 school formal – Age 17

I left school with no real ambition to do anything, except eat.  I was so hungry all the time that I would wake up at midnight and make a sandwich.  Peanut butter and honey on white bread was my sandwich of choice.  My clothes were getting tighter and I was steadily gaining more and more weight.  I didn’t weigh myself in those days as I didn’t really notice how much weight I was gaining.  My mum would say, “Gee Amanda!  Those jeans look like they are sprayed on they are so tight!” and I’d just look down and shrug.  It didn’t bother me.  Nothing really bothered me.  That’s the joy (or downfall) of anti-depressants.

I took on crappy jobs and partied a lot on the weekends.  Actually, not just during the weekends, but during the week too!  I was living free and careless!  I was young and vibrant!  I was probably gaining 1kg a month but hey, at least I had breasts for the first time in my life!

Around this time I decided I no longer needed the anti-depressants as I was feeling pretty good.  I also had just met my boyfriend (who I would later marry) just before I turned 19 and life was great.  I was growing into my curves and no longer looked awkwardly chubby.

Me – in Darwin visiting – Age 19

My boyfriend was in the army and we carried on a long distance romance for about a year and a half, with him visiting me and I visiting him every couple of months or so.  I started working in a crappy office job that I hated and I could feel the familiar pangs of anxiety start to come back.  I was getting panic attacks on the bus travelling to work and would have to turn around and go back home and curl up in bed.  I was prescribed with anti-depressants again and went back to the comfort of numbness.

Not long after we met, my husband sustained a knee injury and started the process of being discharged from the Army.  In the early months of 2003 he entered the final stages of discharge and was told he had to stay near the base in Darwin at all times.  The final stage could take up to 6 months before he was finally discharged so I had a big decision to make.  Should I stay in Sydney, in my crappy job, sharing a room with my young cousin because I no longer lived at home and wait for him?  Or should I pack up everything and move to sunny Darwin for 6 months?  The choice was easy to make.

I spent the 6 months in Darwin.  6 months of eating.  6 months of getting fatter and fatter.  6 months of chain-smoking because I was so bored.  6 months of wearing nothing but sarongs because my clothes no longer fit.  I would cry in frustration trying to pull on a pair of shorts, screaming, “Ugh!!! They’ve SHRUNK!  GOD DAMNIT!!!”.   I simply had no idea how big I was.  I finally went shopping to buy some new clothes and picked up my usual size 12 shorts.  They wouldn’t go up past my thighs.  I went to store after store thinking that maybe they were just a small 12 and I would find another pair that fit.  No success.  Finally, I tried on a size 14 skirt.  It wouldn’t zip up at the side.  I was close to tears then.  I picked up a size 16, zipped it up successfully, bought the damn thing (so I could stop wearing only sarongs) and vowed I would never buy a size 16 ever again.

I came back from Darwin shortly before my 21st birthday weighing 92kg, probably about 17kg heavier than I was when I left.  That’s 17kg in 6 months.  People were looking at me like they had seen a ghost.  I felt like saying, “Yes!  I know!  I’m fat now!  Get over it!”.  Some people even had the audacity to say to me, “Wow, you put on a bit of weight!”.  I was devastated.  Well, not completely devastated as I was still on anti-depressants.  At the time I had resigned to being on them for the rest of my life as I didn’t have the first clue on how to manage my anxiety without them.

Me – my 21st birthday party

Once we found a place to live and had settled back into living in Sydney, I started to tackle my weight problem.  I went on every diet imaginable over the next 5 years with varying success / failure.  I was looking for the easy way out.  The cheat’s method.  I was drawn to such claims as, “You won’t even need to exercise!” or “You’ll never feel hungry!”.  I seriously tried almost every diet known to man kind.  I wish I knew back then how much time I was wasting.

I was now going to the beach with my friends and covering up for another reason.  I felt ashamed.  I felt ugly.  I felt like some sort of animal.  I eventually just stopped going to the beach and made up excuses for why I couldn’t go just so my friends wouldn’t know how desperately self-conscious I was.

Me – at the races – Age 22

By the time I turned 22, I had lost a small amount of weight with the myriad of diets I had tried and fluctuated between 83kg – 88kg for the next few years – gaining and quickly losing, regaining and then quickly losing again in a vicious cycle.

In 2006, my husband and I decided we would get married at the end of the following year.  This was a huge wake up call.  It wasn’t just the fact that I would soon have to fit into a wedding dress and brace myself for wedding photos that we would keep forever, it was the realisation that I had just spent the first part of my 20’s feeling overweight and unhappy in my own skin.  Your 20’s are supposed to be when you feel your best!  When you feel fun and flirty, fit and terrific.  I felt none of those things.

The year I turned 24 I decided enough was enough with the anti-depressants and ditched them for good.  I learnt breathing techniques and other natural methods to manage my anxiety.  I was still not happy with my weight but I had gotten to a point when I had stayed at 85kg for a while so was happy that I was not gaining anymore.  I think a big reason for that was I stopped the medication.

Me – my 24th birthday

I did want to lose weight for the wedding at the end of the year so of course I embarked on yet another strict diet.  Well, let’s be honest here,  I embarked on several strict diets, abandoning one after another when one didn’t work.  I started going to the gym for the first time and I enlisted a personal trainer.  By the time my wedding came around I was 80kg.  I had lost only 5kg in 12 months and even my trainer was baffled.  I had done everything right, it seems.  I ate little and I exercised a lot.  I was disappointed I didn’t lose more but I was happy on the day nonetheless.

Me – dancing up a storm on my wedding day – Age 24

The wedding was in November and afterward  I went off on my honeymoon and relaxed for 6 days.   I was due to be a bridesmaid in February and so I knew I couldn’t relax for too long.  When I came back I began a punishing routine of exercise and starvation.  I ended up putting on MORE weight.  I was frustrated and confused.  Little did I know that the body doesn’t take too kindly to being starved and hangs on to as much fat as possible to fuel itself!  I wouldn’t learn this for quite some time.

I ended up having to squeeze in to my bridesmaid dress and felt very uncomfortable all day.

Me – mucking around on the wedding shoot – Age 25

After the bridesmaid dress debacle, I dieted and exercised and my weight went up and down.  I was frustrated, angry and tired.  I would give up when I didn’t notice a difference on the scales and then I would binge eat for a day.  For that day I would just eat everything in sight.  Then I would punish myself for eating so much with strict diets and exercise and the vicious cycle continued.

For a few months towards the end of the year, I had stuck with a pretty good eating plan and was exercising regularly.  I told myself to just stick with it and not give up.  For those few months I documented my weight weekly and took my measurements.  I ended up losing only 1kg or 2kg.

“Okay”, I thought, “Something is not quite right”.  I went to a nutritionist to see if she could help me get to the bottom of what was wrong. The nutritionist asked me to diarise my food intake for 2 weeks and then come back and see her so we could discuss.  Once I came back she looked over it and deemed it to be a good plan, one that I should be able to lose weight on.  She asked me if I had ever been tested for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome to which I replied no.  I’d never even considered myself to be a candidate for PCOS but then again, I had been on the pill for so long I would not have encountered many of the symptoms.  She suggested that I go and get tested so I took myself off to the Doctors.

Many tests ensued (including one VERY invasive ultrasound) and it was determined that I had PCOS.  I was in shock.  I could not believe it.  I saw an endocrinologist to find out how to manage the PCOS and lose weight.  She recommended I stay on the pill and stick to a low GI eating plan.  She prescribed metformin as well but after a few days on it I decided to just go down the diet and exercise route as the tablets were making me feel ill.

A few months later I turned 26 and decided that 2009 was the year that I would successfully lose weight and keep it off for good.

Me – my 26th birthday

I started on the Tony Ferguson meal replacement program in March 2009 as I had heard it was a good diet for those with insulin resistance (a condition I had alongside the PCOS).  I also started attending a couple of gym classes a week.  I was 87kg when I started the diet and 82kg when I ended it some 8 or more months later.  At least I knew now that the weight loss was slow on account of my PCOS and insulin resistance but that did not curb the frustration I felt.  Christmas was nearing and over the holiday period I stacked on 3kg of the 5kg I had lost.

Feeling desperate, I resigned to the fact that I could not continue the excessive yo-yo dieting.  I was struggling and needed help.  I could no longer do this on my own.  I had just turned 27 and did not want to waste the last few years of my 20’s fixated on my weight and little else.  Something needed to change.

Me – at a festival – Age 27

I contacted an old friend from school who I knew was a personal trainer and told her my story (Natalie Carter at New Outlook Fitness).  She suggested we meet up to discuss my goals and my current roadblocks.  That conversation totally opened up my eyes to all of the things I had been doing wrong.  From my half-hearted attempts at exercise to my penchant for quick fix diets, I was stuck in Plateau Land and now was my time to escape.

She taught me how to eat for weight loss, which meant no more dieting, she taught me the right exercises for my body type and she taught me how to be confident and positive in order to fulfil my weight loss goals.

I went off the pill and almost immediately started losing weight, albeit slowly but at a pace that was willing to accept.   I started training HARD and starting eating normal, healthy and nutritious food again.  My PCOS was under control with diet and exercise.  My insulin resistance is was no longer an issue and my blood glucose returned to a  normal, healthy level.

Me – July 2010 – Age 27

Me - October 2010 - at a festival (75.7kg)

Me - January 2011 - at a party (73kg)

Me - May 2011 - at Wiseman's Ferry (67.5kg)

I started to become really infatuated with fitness and health and the amazing way that it made me feel – emotionally, mentally and physically.   I decided to start studying to become a Personal Trainer and also become really interested in competing in Sports Models comps.  I admired the physiques of the toned, fit and healthy girls I saw on Facebook and I wanted the same!  I realised that I could DEFINITELY achieve it if I put my mind to it.  So I started learning as much as I could about body building, clean eating and appropriate supplements (I do not endorse the use of fat-burners or stimulants but am a big advocate of amino acids and whey protein!).

Me - November 2011 - 63kg

Me - November 2011 - 63kg

I started talking to people online and getting to know more and more about the sport.  My mind was made up.  I was going to compete in April 2012 in my first competition and I would follow that up with 3 more competitions until June 2012.

Me - February 2012 - In comp prep mode!

There’s been huge ups and downs on this journey of self-discovery and I have formed new friendships & relationships and lost old ones along the way.  I’ve come to know things about myself that I  never knew –  I am mentally and physically stronger than I ever imagined, I won’t stand for negativity where it was once my downfall, I have a drive and determination to suceed that I neverdreamed was possible, and  I won’t accept anything but the best for myself!

My main aim in putting my story out there is to inspire others – to tell people that you can do it too.  You really can!  I used to look at people like me and think, “Yeah sure, that’s all good for HER but I am different!  I’ll never get to that level!”.  Well, that’s utter bullshit and my aim is to turn people’s thinking around!  If you put your mind to it – anything is possible.  The world is your oyster – make it happen!  🙂

112 Responses to “The Backstory”

  1. Glynis July 29, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    Amanda, your story is inspiring. Congratulations on your well deserved success so far, and I wish you good health and good luck in your continuing “journey”.

    • Amanda July 29, 2010 at 7:42 pm #

      Thanks so much Glynis! It was nerve wracking putting it all out there like that but I’m glad I have as I cannot achieve further success without letting go of the past. 🙂

  2. Vanessa July 29, 2010 at 11:31 pm #

    Have you thought about writing more than your blog? I think you are very inspiring, I actually had a friend read your blog today and she thought you were amazing… Your determination is clearly evident and I know you will get to your goal! xx Amazing journey Amanda

    • Amanda July 30, 2010 at 7:33 am #

      Thanks Ness! 🙂 I’ve been toying with the idea of doing something more so who knows! The possibilities are endless. X

      • lara August 23, 2011 at 1:25 am #

        Hi Amanda

        Some how i have found your blog on a search today, here in the UK. It is so inspiring as i am in the same boat you were and reading this has given the kick up the bum i need, i cant keep using PCOS as an excuse.

        I will be following you now

        Thanks again for deciding to do this blog

      • Amanda August 23, 2011 at 11:33 am #

        Hi Lara! Thanks for the comment! Good luck with your goals. 🙂

  3. Gina July 30, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    AMANDA! thank you for baring your soul for all to read and be inspired by.
    Please please take your blogs, and your story to a publisher. you have a real talent.
    Thank you for doing your blogs, you are inspiring me on my own journey. xx

    • Amanda July 30, 2010 at 11:26 am #

      Thanks Gina! It makes me happy to hear that I’m helping people in some way. 😉 I haven’t reached my goal yet but when I do I’ll consider going further with writing! Thanks for all your feedback and support matey! X

  4. kimbosue July 30, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    Wow. You have been through a lot to get where you are today. Congratulations!

    • Amanda July 30, 2010 at 9:56 pm #

      Thanks! Yes, it’s been a long looooong time coming but I think I’m finally getting there! 😀

  5. kittykitty July 30, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    Hi Amanda,
    I am loving reading your blog! I really appreciate you putting your personal story out there- your commitment to your health is really inspiring. Good luck with the rest of your journey, and keep blogging! 🙂

    • Amanda July 30, 2010 at 9:54 pm #

      Thank you so much for the comment! It means a lot to me. 🙂

  6. Chanel August 1, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    Very inspiring, and you know I love the way you’ve written it with such honesty.

    I’m looking forward to going to the beach with you this summer 😀

    • Amanda August 1, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

      Yay! I hope I’m bikini ready by then! 😀

  7. Marieke August 4, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Hey Amanda,

    I loved your story! You bring up a whole other side of weight loss that so many people struggle with. I recently lost 13kgs and now I’m just working to keep it off!

    I’m a journalism student, and I’m currently writing a story for assessment about weight loss and motivation. I was wondering if I would be able to get in contact with you, over email or via phone, just to ask some questions for my story? Your story is very inspiring, and the comments on this blog back this up!


  8. Amanda August 4, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    Hi Marieke! Thanks for the comment. 😀

    Sure, I’d be happy to help you. I’ll shoot you an email.

  9. jessc0317 August 24, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog & being my very first poster! As you suggested, I did stop here to check out your blog and I love it!!! Your story is so honest, as are your posts, and I appreciate you opening up on all this!!

    • Amanda August 24, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

      Thank you for your kind words! 🙂 I look forward to tracking your progress.

  10. killercute August 25, 2010 at 8:03 am #

    Hi Amanda!!! ^.^
    I have to tell you that you have inspired me to keep fighting and try as much as I can to get better. I just made an appointment with a nutritionist and hopefully that will help me =) I want to loose at least 20 pounds, that’s my new goal!!! =D

    Love your blog!!! ❤

    • Amanda August 25, 2010 at 8:06 am #

      Hey killercute! Thanks for checking it out! And well done you for taking the first steps! Awesome! Looking forward to seeing how you go! 😀

  11. Tina (rwm_girl) August 25, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    Hi Amanda,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a little bit but just ventured into this tab .I’ve just finished reading your story and was hanging on every word! What an amazing story. You’re such an inspiration and while I will continue to read your blog, I just thought I’d officially wish you all the best with your journey 🙂

    • Amanda August 26, 2010 at 8:02 am #

      Thanks Tina! Or should I say rwm_girl! 😉 X

  12. Laury @thefitnessdish August 27, 2010 at 5:42 am #

    Hey Amanda! We do have very similar stories!!

    I want you to know that I think you are absolutely beautiful!! Really, just stunning! I look forward to hearing about how you have adapted a healthy balance and can be free of negative self-talk!


    • Amanda August 27, 2010 at 7:32 am #

      Aw thank you so much! *blush*

      I’ll be doing more posts on motivation and the mental side of staying healthy in the future! 🙂

  13. thirtyandhealthy August 28, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    Hey! I was going to email you after I read this but couldn’t find an address. Your story mirrors mine in so many ways, I have always assumed that I have PCOS but my doctor never felt the need to test me. For most of my life I’ve been 15-20lbs over my ideal weight but just hovering above the healthy BMI area. I never knew that PCOS could make it harder to lose the weight. I’m going to the doctor this week and I’m going to demand a test!

    • Amanda August 28, 2010 at 9:37 pm #

      Hey! Thanks for the comment. Do get tested – it’s not something that drs automatically pick up and can really change your life. Let me know how you go! 🙂

    • Cat June 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

      Hey have u actualLy had symptoms of pcos such as very irregular periods, acne, and increased hair? If not then that’s why your doctor wouldn’t have tested you?

  14. bonne_santé September 6, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

    Hi Amanda!
    Found your blog through the Healthy Living Site – awesome that Sydney bloggers are starting to crop up and connect!
    Very inspiring story – best of luck 🙂

    • Amanda September 6, 2010 at 7:16 pm #

      Thanks Katey! I was so happy to come across the HLB site! So good to connect with others who share the same vision and passion. 🙂

  15. Lisa September 8, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    I suffered from depression as a teen too and was immediately put on antidepressants. I proceeded to eat my feelings AND lack of feelings (thanks to the drugs) and gained a lot of weight. I was on antidepressants for a long time but I’m free and clear now.

    • Amanda September 8, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

      That is so good to hear Lisa! And look at YOU! YOU are amazing! WOW! Well done on such an amazing loss!

  16. Shellet September 13, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    What an inspirational story! You have a great attitude and I’m sure you will get to that magic 68kg mark.

    My hubby also battled with anti depressants due to doctors doing the same thing they did to you and ditched them when he was 24 too so I’ve seen how much hard work goes into it.

    And glad to see another Aussie in the blog world 🙂

    • Amanda September 13, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

      Thanks Shellet! It’s happening! 8kg to go! 😀

      Anti-depressants might have their place in the world but they do not have a place in mine.

  17. phoodie September 18, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    I am SO inspired by your story! CONGRATS!

    • Amanda September 18, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

      Thank you so much for your comment! 🙂

  18. fionagold September 18, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    Hi Amanda
    Great job! And I loved reading about your journey this far. I think if you’re going to bare your soul through a blog, a background on who you are is essential.

    I dont have PCOS but I know the old ‘hey wait, you used to be skinny”. I went from people spreading rumours that I was bulimic or anorexic I was so skinny wehn I was sick (someone asked if I had cancer once!), to saying things like “You look a bit chunky in that, dont you think?” 😦 I dont know why people are so hurtful!

    I am so happy you are back on track and have rejected silly fad diets. Good luck with your lifestyle change!

    PS LOVE the wedding dress!

    • Amanda September 18, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

      Thanks Fiona! It was quite tough to bare all like this but definitely essential for me to do so. I have now been able to move on and embrace a new lifestyle. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  19. finefeather December 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    i just read this properly and i can soooooo relate with the anti depressants and the pill and the PCOS.

    i was also a really skinny kid and young teenager, then when i turned 17 it all went to shit and i havent been happy with my body ever since.

    thanks for sharing all this personal stuff, you’re not alone xx

    • Amanda December 13, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

      Thanks lovely! It’s been quite a journey (haha I hate that cliche word!) but it’s been awesome to just let it all out and start a fresh life!

  20. Kirsten January 6, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    Thank you SO much for writing this. I’m 38 and was recently told I have PCOS – no idea how long I’ve had it for. Dr’s suggestion was to go back on the pill, which I’ve been off for about 15 years. I’d really rather not if I can help it, so personal stories like yours really help to put things in perspective.
    I came here for your quinoa recipe and am now going to catch up on the rest of your blog 🙂

    Thank you again for sharing so openly and honestly.

    • Amanda January 7, 2011 at 11:43 am #

      Hi Kirsten! Thanks for your kind comment. 🙂

      PCOS can be treated very effectively with diet and exercise. I think Doctors just like to prescribe pills for anything these days! Please let me know your progress! 🙂

  21. Marisa's Low Carb Kitchen Talk March 16, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    Hi Amanda,
    Love your blog, keep up the great progress!!
    Thanks for commenting on my blog.

    • Amanda March 16, 2011 at 7:22 am #

      Thank you Marisa! And you’re welcome!

  22. wayne March 16, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    fellow AGJ member here.
    keep up the good work i will be checking back in too see how you go. going to post this link too my GF.

    • Amanda March 16, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

      Hey Wayne! Thanks for dropping by! Cool! I hope she gets something out of it. 🙂

  23. Lindsey H March 22, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    Wow, what a backstory… You’ve traveled quite a journey, Amanda! I think you are absolutely beautiful. I can feel my neurons oozing inspiration and motivation that I’ve absorbed while reading this story. You’re one strong lady! 🙂

    • Amanda March 22, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

      LOL! Thank you Lindsey! Please mind your oozing though – I don’t want to have to wipe my screen clean! 😉

  24. Kristen March 24, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    Hey there! I just read your story…and it’s basically the same as mine…wow! I can identify with your anxiety and frustration, I’m so proud of you and I hope I can experience the same success you did!

    • Amanda March 24, 2011 at 11:14 am #

      Hi Kristen! Thanks for the comment. 🙂 It’s hard work, I won’t lie, and you will have to 100% commit yourself to it. But if you do this you will be rewarded ten-fold. I’m enjoying your blog and I’ll be watching your progress! (non-creepy)

  25. Kelly April 6, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    I just found your blog through Vogue! LOVE IT i have PCOS too, I am loving your soup recipes. :o)

    • Amanda April 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

      Awesome! Welcome! 😀 PCOS continually surprised me by how many women it affects but with the right diet and exercise you can really show those symptoms who’s boss. 🙂

  26. Kylie April 13, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    Just read your story and congratulate you on finding the healthy way to lose weight and feel good!
    Im the same weight and have similar goals, although no health issues for me, I am about 10 yrs older than you and give too much of myself to family & work and lose focus on “me” so my weight loss has also been a slow process!
    Im also a fan of low fat healthy meals and regular exercise and I have a personal trainer who helps keep me motivated.
    I look forward to sharing inspiration/ motivation and success with you in the future!

    • Amanda April 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

      Hi Kylie! Thanks for your comment and sharing your story with me. 🙂 It can be hard to shift the focus back on to yourself but once you find a way to do that it will all be so worth it. How can you give yourself 100% to your family if YOU are not 100% yourself? They need you at your best. Do it for them but most importantly do it for yourself. Stick around! I hope to hear how you are going soon! 🙂

  27. Ruby April 16, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    Hi Amanda 🙂
    Your story is quite amazing and inspiring.
    I know the feeling of binging, then basically starving and binging again because it happens to me about five times a month. I’ve tried everything.
    But after looking at your blog and a few others health blogs, I think the only way is just to eat healthily and exercise to loose weight.
    I’m not overweight, I’m just being pressured by the fashion/T.V industry. But nothing stops you once you want to loose those kilos, you just do.
    Anyway. Thanks heaps for being an inspiration!

    P.S I too found your blog on the Vogue forums 🙂 Haha

    • Amanda April 16, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

      Hi Ruby! Thanks for the comment. 🙂 Yep – if you want to lose weight it’s all about eating lots of nutritious and clean foods and exercise. That’s the magic secret right there. And gotta love those Vogue Forums! 🙂

  28. Miette Miel April 22, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    You look stunning! I just found your blog and I’m looking forward to following you on your journey. You are an inspiration.

  29. Nicky Jankovic April 29, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    Such an honest and inspirational story.
    Well done on all your success so far.
    Love Nicky J xx

    • Amanda May 31, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

      Thanks Nicky! Can’t wait until I’m rocking a body as bangin as yours! 🙂

  30. Sheryn June 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    Hey Amanda,

    i’m a year younger than you, but have the same issues. it’s nice to know i’m not alone, and that i’m not imagining the struggle that PCOS has on weight loss….but you have now truly inspired me. i was 99kg but i am now down to 82kg (which i have done a lot of hard work and healthy eating to achieve), but have plateaued for the last 6 months…..BUT now i have found your blog i can’t wait to read more about how you did it. i have the goal to be 70kg, and i now think that your blog is going to be so useful. so thankyou for sharing…

    • Amanda June 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

      Hi Sheryn! Thanks for your comment 🙂

      Breaking that plateau can be hard work but once you make a couple of tweaks and put your determination at full throttle you will get there. 🙂 Good luck and let me know how you go!!

  31. Joy June 29, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    Hi Amanda
    I have just read some of your blogs and your background story and found them trully inspireing.
    I have also been on a an on again off again weight loss journey over the last few years and I have tried it all, the different diets, exercise even hypnosis you could say the works.
    Recently I thought about starting my own blog as a way to help me on my journey and after reading your blogs I am definantly going to start one up.
    Good luck with the rest of your journey and I look forward to reading more on your progress.
    Thankyou for sharing
    🙂 Joy

    • Amanda June 30, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

      Hi Joy! Thanks for you kind words. Definitely start a blog! It’s a great way to stay accountable for your actions. 🙂 Let me know your address once you start it up! 😀

  32. S. August 16, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    I randomly stumbled upon your blog and saw your May 2011 pic. You look GREAT.

    • Amanda August 16, 2011 at 10:30 am #

      Thank you very much! I need to update this post with more pics. 🙂

  33. Jenn October 6, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

    OMG – I just found your blog, started reading here and cried!
    You are so inspiring!!
    I am the same age as you, have been lucky to not have the same sort of weight struggles, but can totally empathise with some of the things you have been through. I have just got back from my honeymoon and am struggling to find the motivation to get back into a routine of healthy living, eating and exercising (without the end goal of a wedding dress to fit into!).
    I look forward to reading the rest of your journey.

    • Amanda October 7, 2011 at 11:39 am #

      Hi Jenn! Oh don’t cry! Haha! 😉 That’s the old me. Things are on the up and up baby! Make sure you read my posts on goal setting. That will help get you on track. x

  34. juganaut's (@juganauts) October 10, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    I’ve just started reading your blog and i’m amazed at how similar our situations are.

    I piled on the weight after high school, was diagnosed with PCOS in 2005 and was put on the pill. at my heaviest – 82kg. my goal is 68kg and i reckon yor blog is going to help me lose that last 5kg… if not more!

    p.s. your turkey mince recipe is DELICIOUS! i put in 2 tsp of milo as well to soften the acidity of the tomato. is that naughty?

    • Amanda October 11, 2011 at 9:55 am #

      That’s awesome Juganauts! I’m constantly surprised at how many women have gone through the same thing. It’s awesome to know we are not alone and we CAN beat this.

      And milo in the turkey mince? Eep. Yeah, you don’t need that. Drop it off. 🙂

      • juganaut's (@juganauts) October 13, 2011 at 10:59 am #

        damn – it’s really good. you should give it a crack…

        but i’ll be good – no more Milo.

        p.s. 3.5kgs to go!

      • Amanda October 18, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

        Hehe no I doubt I will be giving that one a crack! 😉 But yay! 3.5kg to go! Good stuff!!!

  35. Natalie Azzopardi November 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    OBSESSED with your fabulously inspiring blog. You are truly amazing. Can’t wait to keep reading! I just want to spread the word about you and your wonderful achievements to all of my friends. They will be equally obsessed with your blog too 🙂

  36. Ben December 10, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    Your journey has been so awesome and inspirational.
    The beauty about weight loss is, even if you are getting older, you are looking younger and prettier.

  37. Emma December 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    You are a truly extraordinary human being.

    You have inspired me to change my life.

    • Amanda December 28, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

      That is very sweet Emma! Thank you! And good luck with your journey! 🙂

  38. Sandhya January 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Number 1: You are amazing!

    I can pretty much identify with everything in your teens/early twenties except that I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 13 and was put straight on the pill. The depression and anxiety I had now makes complete sense.
    I too started a weight loss journey at about 22 – started going to the gym (cardio-bunny) and massive calorie restriction which worked for a while (in truth I was TINY) until all of a sudden 5kg appeared overnight. Nothing I did would get rid of it. Thats when I started seeing a PT and got a personalised plan (omits gluten, protein focus, supplementation, hormone analysis, resistance training). I am now fitter than ever and SLOWLY (the good way) losing the weight I gained with the hope of one day also entering a fitness comp!

    It’s so great to hear that there are other people out there in the same boat!

    • Amanda January 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

      That’s so sweet of you, thank you! 🙂 It never ceases to amaze me how many women are in or were in the same boat as me. I used to feel so alone! I’m pleased to hear you are on the right track, keep at it! 😀

  39. kat January 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    Wow Amanda! Just happened upon your blog, and glad I did. Your journey is inspiring me to get out there, try harder, dreams are what you make them!! Good luck as the comp grows nearer, you’re already a winner!

    • Amanda January 10, 2012 at 8:53 am #

      Thank you so much Kat! It means a lot to have your support. Good luck with your goals! x

  40. Cassie January 11, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    Wow, your backstory was amazing. Thank you so much for sharing!! I have been following your progress for a few weeks! Looking forward to all your success this year!!

  41. Megan January 17, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    Wow, you are such an inspiration! You look INCREDIBLE

    • Amanda January 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

      Thank you so much Megan! 🙂

  42. Morgan @ Becoming Rooks February 1, 2012 at 1:49 am #

    I am so, so happy I found your blog. Your story is so inspiring! I also have PCOS and although I’ve already lost 60lbs (27kg) it’s been very slow and I am stuck at the moment with little to no loss. I also thought it would never be possible to look the way you do (now) with PCOS. I thought I would always be flabby around the middle no matter what. You give me such hope! Keep up the fantastic work!

    • Amanda February 2, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

      Hey Morgan! Thank you! 🙂 Yep, I know all about the slowness and all about the plateaus. You just have to keep switching up diet and exercise and eventually, you will get there. It will be hard, but you will get there! 🙂

  43. Vani February 23, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    Hi Amanda!

    I stumbled on your inspiring blog today, and I have been reading your posts for last 5 hours. I have just started my weight loss journey after being seriously obese all my life. Last week I weighed 106.8 Kgs, today I’m 105.2 kgs, I have a long way to go till I reach my weight goal. But after reading your journey, I believe that nothing is impossible. Thank you for being my inspiration.

    • Amanda February 29, 2012 at 9:51 am #

      Hi Vani! Thank you for the kind words and well done on the loss! You got this! 🙂

  44. Felicity February 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    This is one of the most amazing transformation success stories I have read in a very long time! Best of luck in your figure comps, you have already achieved so much and I’m sure there is more to come! Well done.

    • Amanda February 29, 2012 at 9:52 am #

      Thank you Felicity! That’s very sweet of you! 🙂

  45. Tanya February 28, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    Dear Amanda,

    I found you on Facebook after a recommendation from Clarissa at Getting Lean & Curvy, and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your story. Thank you for sharing your experiences in such extensive detail, including a great range of photos along the way. Very brave of you to share, but absolutely compelling ideas for your readers. Your honesty and authenticity is commendable, and you have won an avid admirer in me. I love all you have to say, and am most sincere in wishing you well for your upcoming competitions. An amazing story; I look forward to following your continuing journey towards success.

    • Amanda February 29, 2012 at 9:53 am #

      Aw thank you so much Tanya! I just want to help and inspire others… it’s not easy putting myself out there but it’s comments like yours that make it worth it! 😀

  46. Connie February 28, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

    I recently stumbled across your Facebook page the other day and have now found this blog. Have just finished reading your story, and you are a true inspiration to me! Might sound strange as we are complete strangers but your goal is so similar to what I have been trying to achieve (but haven’t) over the last few years. Best of luck for your comp, and I hope to one day be just as inspiring to you as you have been to me!!

    • Amanda February 29, 2012 at 9:53 am #

      Thanks Connie! If you put your mind to it, you can do it! 😀 Good luck to you too! 😀

  47. kathy February 28, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    Amanda, if I ever move back to Sydney I will be knocking on your door….what you have acheived is truley amazing…..
    Kath xxoo

    • Amanda February 29, 2012 at 9:54 am #

      Aw thanks Kath! xoxoxoxo

  48. Linda February 29, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    Hi Amanda, I have come across your story through fb getting lean and curvy. I don’t usually leave comments on people’s blogs but your story really hit home with me. I don’t suffer from PCOS but I have struggled with my weight and always losing 5-10kgs then putting it back on… Your story is a truley inspiring and something I can totally relate to. I will be achieving my goals this year of becoming fit and healthy. Good luck with your comps 🙂

    • Amanda March 1, 2012 at 6:47 am #

      Thanks for your lovely words and I’m glad you are making this YOUR year! Smash it! 😀 x

      • Anne March 12, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

        Hi Amanda,

        I was given the link to your blog from the vogue forums and am so glad I’ve come by. I am trying to start at the beginning and go back through everything. I have just started my own blog (only two posts and no comments so far).

        Thanks for being an inspiration.

      • Amanda March 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

        Hi Anne! Thanks for the lovely words 🙂 Stick with it and make a commitment to change and you will go far! xx

  49. Brittney March 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    Hi Amanda!
    Your story is amazing and you looking absolutely stunning! I dont have PCOS but I have also suffered with anxiety and panic attacks! After finding Natalie Carter’s blog and reading about how sugar can affect your anxiety I have since cut out sugar and feel amazing! From there I found you blog and have been inspired! I do have my days where I slip up, but its nice to see that like you even after little slip ups you can still move forward and reach your goal!
    Congradulations and keep the posts coming, love your blog!!

    • Amanda March 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

      Hi Brittney! Thanks so much for your kind words! It’s amazing what can happen when we alter our diets! 😀 xx

  50. Carey Povey April 18, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    Wow, Amanda, you’re storey is amazing! You really are an inspiration. It definately got me to get my ass into gear. I too have PCOS and it sucks. I’ve been trying to lose weight since February 2011 when I was 96kg. I got down to 86kg (yay) but now I’m 93kg 😦 Reading your story and checking out your blog was just that extra kick my motivation needed to get me back to the gym. 🙂

  51. Bronnie April 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    You story is amazing and you look fabulous!! I don’t actually know you but I feel i do just from reading your blog 🙂
    I don’t have PCOS but I have recently suffered from post natal depression and at times I just can’t stop eating and drinking! I have always had good self control and cared about my health as a first prioroty but some days I get overwhelmed by anxiety and I lose focus!
    All the bvest for your competitions, i look forwrd to following your journey and seeing you win 🙂
    B xxx

  52. Eliza Kate Rushton May 1, 2012 at 12:44 am #

    Wow. You must be so proud of what you have achieved! My friend and I are entering our own body-transformation journey and I’m sure we will be looking to you for inspiration when it gets hard! Here’s hoping we get even half the results you did!
    Eliza x

  53. Michelle May 18, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    I found you in instagram and I’m so happy that I did, your so inspirational. I too am struggling with my weight and I’m only 21, I’ve never been overweight ever and was always happy with the way I looked until about 3 years ago. When i turned 18 i gained about 30 pounds and got very bad acne, i still don’t know why it happened but it did and i continued to gain weight even now. I use to weight somewhere between 135-142 and was happy at that weight but now I’m at 180 and can’t get it off. Ive gotten to the point where i know i need to change and stop being so lazy my big problem is i know nothing about being fit and in shape. I cannot afford a personal trainer but I’ve decided to give yoga a try, my question to you is was there any books or reading material that you found helpful. Anything you read that taught you about food and eating correctly. I would appreciate it if you got back to me anything would help. Thanks for sharing your story and i will continue reading your blog and following you on instagram for helpful pointers and tips.

  54. Emma May 26, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    What an inspiring story Amanda! I have just embarked on a weight loss/fitness journey and hope to reach my goal weight come December when I will be participating in an Ultra Marathon with a group (we will be running a certain distance each dependent on group numbers). Reading your blog has made me want it even more. Thanks so much for the motivation!!

  55. fitandsexy June 2, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    Great story! I too had struggles with my weight going up and down so I feel you! You have done amazing and look awesome!! Good luck with competing.

  56. Anna June 3, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    Thanks for your honesty! your story is inspirational..i hope you can help me, iv been really struggling..i want to lose weight, but the moment i make a goal i sabotage myself..i exercise alot because i love it, but my diet is not what it should i dont get the results i want. I know how to eat clean, and i can do it well for about 5days at most, then something upsets me, and before i know it, im eating everything in site and i cant stop myself..and it last for days until im so sick of myself, then i go back to clean eating for a few days, its a horrible cycle, and i feel stuck!! is there anything you can tell me please to help me stick to my goal and not be swayed so easily by my emotions??….

  57. Angeli Yuson June 5, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    Hi Amanda,
    Wow! I just read your whole story and let me tell you, i am amazed at your progress! Well done! And congratulations on your success so far, you look AMAZING!
    I look forward to reading more of your blog posts. I too also have a blog about losing weight if you would like to check out my link too (this is not at all a plug).. my work mate from America actually sent me your link as we are both into fitness and one day i would love to compete as well!
    All the best to you
    Angeli Yuson x

  58. Kate @ The Little Spoon Blog June 14, 2012 at 12:00 am #

    This is truely such an amazing story. I’d love to hear more about your diet and more specifics about the day. I created my own 50 day challenge of no sugar and have done okay-ish – I took a look at your trainers page and I’m going to take part in her 50 day challenge that starts july 1st.

    What would you say were the top 3 most important things to remember when losing weight?

  59. sassinebernadette June 22, 2012 at 1:56 am #

    Omgsh wow your story is so inspiring. I too was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 16 and have been struggling with my weight ever since. I am now 21 and 77kgs…(177cm tall) I would love to get any tips on dieting and exercise ? I am on the pill currently .. Because i need to regulate my warped periods. Did you periods become normal once you lost the weight ? Wow your story really touched me… You look absolutely amazing! Xx

  60. sassinebernadette June 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    I was tested for pcos when I was 16 and I have had it ever since ! I have had all of these (acne, hair, severe irregular periods) so my doctor put me on the pill. Do you take the pill for pcos … Or have you controlled it via lifestyle changes ?


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