Amberâ€™s struggles with her weight were spawned from a teenage fight with chronic asthma. Before then, she was at an average weight. But through a combination of medications that caused weight gain and a spiraling depression, she began to put on the pounds – 100 pounds throughout her high school years to be exact.
The depression worsened as she dealt with the senseless cruelty that teenagers are capable of inflicting on people who are different than the ideal. Amberâ€™s asthma made any hopes of turning things around even more difficult since she couldnâ€™t participate in school sports or other activities.
Unfortunately, activities could not be avoided during gym class, when Amber was forced to run the track. She struggled as kids teased her. She even felt little support from her gym teachers, who she thought looked down on her as lazy.
While Amber continued to struggle with her weight after high school, things did get a little better. She met and married a very supportive husband, and the couple had a daughter together.
But the respite was short-lived, as Amber gained more weight after having her daughter and she fell further into the depths of depression. What made matters worse is she picked up smoking, not caring whether she lived or died.
Then hope arrived unexpectedly in the form of a job as a nursing assistant for a hospice agency. Taking care of terminally ill patients gave new meaning to Amberâ€™s life, as she began to realize a purpose.
â€śThese people needed me and I was able to provide comfort and love to them and their family,â€ť Amber told us. â€śIt was a wonderfully rewarding feeling. The feeling of gratefulness that people had for me started to make me appreciate myself.â€ť
She was just 27 at the time and never really thought about the prospects of death until it was a part of her everyday life.
â€śNow, I was seeing what death looked like and how fast I could be approaching it if I didn’t make a change.â€ť
Her awakening grew more intense when she went on a field trip with her 7-year-old daughter, wondering if her friends would tease her about her â€śfat mommy.â€ť Amber was also concerned that her daughter would pick up her bad habits.
One day she stepped on a scale for the first time in years and saw that she weighed 245 pounds, much higher than she was expecting. She considered gastric bypass surgery, but decided to go the natural way, wanting to be an example for her daughter
She came across the Atkins website and couldnâ€™t believe how good the diet sounded to her. So she dived right in and lost 10 pounds in the first week.
â€śI had tried low calorie diets in the past and failed by the second day,â€ť said Amber. â€śI love to eat and those diets don’t allow you to eat until you’re full. I always felt hungry. I wasn’t hungry and ate until I was full on Atkins.â€ť
Staying true and committed to the Atkins Diet, over the next year and a half Amber lost 120 pounds!
Now she has more energy than ever before. With that new-found energy, Amber started to walk at a local track. The she stepped it up to running. Before she knew it, she was running as much as five miles at a time. All this on the very track she was ridiculed as a teenager.
Amber runs nearly every day and still follows the tenets of the Atkins Diet and never feels deprived.
â€śI still eat pizza. I wouldnâ€™t be able to live without pizza! But now, I know when to eat it. My diet consists of protein, whole grains and vegetables. And on occasions, cookies and cake!â€ť
Itâ€™s been nine years since Amber started Atkins and she has maintained her weight ever since… besides the baby weight associated with bringing another child into the world, which she promptly lost.
â€śI don’t know where my life would be today if I hadn’t found the Atkins Diet. Or if Iâ€™d even be alive today,â€ť said Amber â€śThe pride that comes with doing it on your own is something I hope other people who are overweight are one day able to experience. It can be done.â€ť
Amber continues to work in hospice care and takes great pride in knowing that her daughter understands the importance of eating healthy and working out.
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December 26th, 2011