Transforming on a Budget: Amber lost 30 pounds. This UNC Chapel Hill sophomore had been battling a bad body image and her weight since middle school. After her freshman year, she began using the resources available to her to change her life. She wants to let college girls on a budget know that it’s possible to lose weight! Check out her story.
Hi! My name is Amber S. and I am a sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill. In June 2015, I weighed 188 pounds and now I currently weigh 158 pounds. I haven’t reached by goal weight, but I have seen significant transformations!
What was your motivation?
I got sick and tired of being sick and being tired of what I saw in the mirror. Throughout middle school, high school, and my freshman year in college, I had poor body image and always compared myself to others. I always felt like the big girl in the room. I tried so many fad diets, only to go on binges. I just wasn’t happy with myself. One day I realized I couldn’t achieve anything if I didn’t try. So, during summer after my freshman year (June 2015), I started my fitness/health lifestyle journey with the goal of not only losing weight but to also learn how to truly love myself, flaws and all.
My kids at the YMCA inspired me when I felt like giving up, because I couldn’t promote a healthy body, mind and spirit to them if I wasn’t living it myself. As a college student working during the summer, I was on a tight budget, so I couldn’t afford a personal trainer or nutritionist. However, I realized it was free to start developing my own healthy habits on my own.
How did you change your eating habits?
At first, I packed my lunch for my long days at camp as a counselor. My lunches mainly consisted of a PB&J sandwich, a chopped apple, chicken and spinach salad, and some water. In the mornings, I would eat a banana and a granola bar before hitting the gym. For dinner, I would cook some more grilled chicken and eat some fruit. I didn’t really start calorie and macronutrient tracking until I got back to school in August 2015. I now track my food with MyFitnessPal and I meal prep on Sunday’s to have my meals ready for the week. My meals usually consist of a chicken wrap for breakfast, some salted edamame for a snack, turkey rolled in swiss cheese for lunch, and for dinner I usually have grilled chicken, veggies and fried apples.
What did your workout routines look like?
When I started my journey (this is going to sound crazy), I would get up at 4 am every morning to workout from 5-7am before heading to work. I took advantage of my free gym membership at the YMCA and used their facility and equipment. I was still pretty much on my own when determining how to get in shape. I started out walking around the indoor track, but after a week that got so boring! I downloaded an app called NikePlus and started jogging around the track. Before I knew it, I could jog consecutively for 10 minutes, then 30 minutes and then I found myself running a 5k and a 10k. I fell in love with running and saw the fat shedding. One day, I noticed a sports conditioning class going on below the indoor track. I found out that the group fitness classes were open to employees, so I started trying them out. These classes helped me to add some resistance training to my running workouts. After my early morning workouts, I’d go play at camp with my kids, which was another calorie torched, especially in the heat. Now that I’m back in school, I take advantage of physical activity classes (aerobics and running) twice a week and specialty small group training classes for an affordable price for students.
Starting weight/Current weight/Height
My starting weight was 188 pounds. My current weight is 158 pounds. My goal weight is healthy with more lean mass than fat, somewhere around 120 pounds.
How long did your transformation take?
I started in June 2015 and I am still going strong in January 2016. So far, 7 months.
What advice do you have for others who want to lose weight?
You are your biggest commitment. Nutrition is way more important than we give it credit for. You cannot out exercise a bad diet. Try your best to eat whole foods that will keep you full longer. Lastly, download an app, like MyFitnessPal, to figure out how many calories you should be eating in order to lose weight based off of your personal information.
College students, please be resourceful. There are nutritionists and plenty of physical activities on campus to help keep you active. Don’t be afraid to try new foods or new activities and let your curiosity help you on your weight loss journey.
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