struggling

i think it goes without saying that losing weight is one of the most difficult things a person can do. there is no real quick fix. the problem can’t be solved overnight. and i think that’s why it’s so frustrating to people (myself included.)

we all want that instant gratification that comes in the form of RESULTS. and when we don’t see them as quickly as we want, we start to get discouraged.

i’ve been in a place recently where i feel defeated. discouraged. unmotivated. i can’t tell you how many times i’ve wanted to just GIVE UP! i’ve had that internal dialogue in my head so many times —

amanda. you’re going to be fat forever. why do you think you’ll be able to change THIS time? you’ve tried and failed more times than you can count. you’re destined to be the big girl for the rest of your life.

i’ll tell you right now, it’s that kind of self talk that will get you in trouble.

above all else, i’m scared. i’m scared that once i DO reach my goal, i might get back into my old habits and gain all the weight back again. this is a fear of mine because it’s happened before!

a little history: i first got over 200 pounds in 2001 when i was 13 and in 7th grade. by 2007 i was at 260 when i was a freshman in college. in 2009 i got to my lowest adult weight of 209. then what did i do? gained it ALL back and got up to 254.

my weight has been a constant battle my entire life.

i still have NO idea why i struggle so much! what’s the point of working THIS hard if the weight is going to slowly creep back up?!

& i am going to be battling this for the rest of my life.

example: i went away to philadelphia with some friends this weekend. i was only gone for two days. i let myself go. i enjoyed my time away. i ate and drank. i didn’t workout. i acted my age for once in my life. i lived as though i didn’t have a weight problem.

and what happened? i gained 3.8 pounds. in TWO days.

it’s THAT kind of thing that scares me. i’m sure everyone else i was with didn’t gain an ounce. a lot of people my age don’t need to worry about gaining weight from eating unhealthy for a day or two. but i DO. and sometimes i just CAN’T handle it.

is this what the rest of my life is going to look like?

  • counting every calorie i put into my mouth.
  • eating meals ALONE so i’m not tempted by everyone else’s food.
  • working out for 2 hours a day.
  • not going out to dinner with friends.
  • hiding in back of people in pictures so you can’t see my stomach.

(prime example of how i hide in back of ppl in pics. this was taken on saturday)

i can tell you right now, that is NOT how i want to live my life. 

i need some serious help. i can’t do this alone.

for now, i am going to continue my journey. i’m not going to stop just because of a little bump in the road. that’s not how i work. i want to reach my goals. i NEED to lose weight. i deserve to be happy just as much as anyone else.

how BL changed my life in an amazing way

have you ever had a dream?. i’m talking about having a picture of what your future looks like in your mind. my dreams change from time to time as i’m sure most of yours do, too.

what does your current dream look like?

no, you don’t need to actually tell me. but i want you to imagine it. you can write it down if it will help.

my biggest dream was to be on the biggest loser. in fact, i came so close to making that dream a reality that i could SEE it. it wasn’t just in my mind anymore. part of me felt like i was actually LIVING it.

my life was in a perfect alignment —>

may 14, 2011 i graduated from college
may 19, 2011 i flew to LA for finals week of casting

see? everything was going perfectly according to MY plan! i had NOTHING figured out about my future after graduating college. i had no jobs lined up. nothing. my plan was to be on the show. lose weight. change my life.

well, now we all know that my dream of being a contestant on the biggest loser didn’t work out. i’m sure you’ve all heard the story time and time again about it. i flew home from finals week with absolutely zero confidence.

i was hurt. scared. angry. depressed. disappointed.

i truly hated myself.

i’d convinced myself that it was MY fault that i didn’t get selected. i had my one shot. my one opportunity to “sell myself” to the producers. and ultimately, i failed at that part. all i had to do was beat out 30 something other people and my dream would have been a reality!

what i had to realize is that this was MY plan… not God’s plan.

that dream slowly faded away. and when i say slowly, i mean S-L-O-W-L-Y.

it has taken almost 7 months for me to realize that this was NOT the path i was meant to be on! God has OTHER plans for me.

what i wanted most from the show was the opportunity to share my story, to lose weight, to be apart of the “BL family” and to help change lives.

just as i was about to give up, my ultimate dream started coming true! the biggest loser is still in my plan! but in a completely different way — in a way that i NEVER saw coming!

at the beginning of january, one of the contestants from season 11, jen jacobs, called me up out of the blue and offered me the most amazing opportunity that i couldn’t pass up! i am now working for her and her dad, jay jacobs, as their event coordinator!

with jen & jay’s help, i am able to accomplish all of my dreams: they’re helping me share my story… lose weight… be apart of the BL family.. and most importantly, i’m now able to help change lives!

seeing how far these two have come the past year has given me all the motivation i need to lose the weight! i look up to them because of their hard work and dedication. they are truly amazing.

i’ve only been on their team for a couple weeks now and i’ve already noticed a complete change in myself. they challenge me to try new things and step out of my comfort zone… i needed them in my life without even realizing it. jen & jay have already changed my life in an amazing way! knowing that they believe in me is helping me gain back my confidence that was once lost.

(if you’ve never heard of jen & jay jacobs, then i HIGHLY suggest that you “like” their fan pages on facebook and follow them on twitter: @JRushJacobs and @JLynnJacobs — they are absolutely incredible people!)

i ALWAYS knew that the biggest loser was going to change my life in SOME way. i just wasn’t expecting it to be in this form!

God knew what the plan was all along but decided to keep it to himself until now. but i am SO glad that He did.

we’ve all had dreams. some of us are bigger dreamers than others. i’d say i’m up there with the BIG dreamers. for as long as i can remember, i have always pictured myself with big things in my future and now i can finally see them starting to happen.

just because your first plan doesn’t work out, DO NOT give up!!! if things aren’t turning out the way you want them to, try something new! you don’t need to change your DREAM — but you may have to adjust your way of achieving the dream.

we were all put on this earth for a purpose.

my purpose is to help inspire & change lives. i made sure to never give up hope and look where it took me! i’m on a new path and i’m making my dreams a reality. no one is going to stop me!

the long road to happiness

i’ve been getting many emails lately from people across the country wanting help with changing their lives through fitness & nutrition. there’s nothing i enjoy more than helping these people! most of them just need a little push in the right direction… they need motivation! (don’t we all?!)

one particular email caught my eye the other day and really made me think. i was asked, “you seem so happy and so excited about life, how did you find that? how did you find the strength to take the world by storm at such a young age

i was actually caught off guard. i’ve never been asked a question like this before.

(and to be completely honest, i just wrote that intro then sat here for 2o minutes wondering how i was going to tackle the rest of this post…)

ME?! amanda leigh tyson. happy? excited about life?! WHAT?

i didn’t think i was any of these things! … or am i?

i had to think back to all the different phases in my life. the ups and downs. the good times and the let downs. oh man, i’ve had to go through some rough times to get to where i am today!

i WAS happy and excited for the first 11 or so years of my life.  i was full of confidence. i had amazing friends. an incredible family. there was no reason for me to not be happy!

then there came a time when all of that seemed to disappear. i started to lose my happiness and confidence in 6th grade. that was the year that my life was taken over by bullies. i let them rule me until i was 22 years old. i gave them all of my power. if they told me i was useless, then i believed it. if they told me i wasn’t good enough for something, i wouldn’t even try to reach for it. i was letting these horrible people control me.

i was truly unhappy for 11 years… and it was during those years that i packed on the pounds. my college years were the hardest for me. i ballooned up to more than 260 pounds at that time in my life.

it wasn’t until the beginning of 2011 that i started catching a glimpse of what it was like to be happy. i owe a lot of this happiness to the kind campaign — they allowed me to open up and share my story with them for the first time. it was at that time that i decided to take my power back.

now, at age 23, i can tell you that i am happy. i AM excited about life & about the future! i am STRONG. i can do hard things!!!! (that’s one of my favorite quotes, thanks to beautiful meg)

and HOW did i do this, you ask? i prayed about it. i wrote about it. i talked about it. nothing was off limits anymore. i spent too many years HIDING from my problems. before this year, i would have died if anyone knew my weight! but now? i’m OWNING that number! who cares what the scale says! that number doesn’t make me any less beautiful. the scale does NOT define who i am as a person. i won’t allow it to! what i have to offer to this world doesn’t show in a number.

i truly believe in my heart that God made me go through these challenges so that i could help people who are going through the same struggles. God gave me the strength to persevere. He knew i could handle it — and He was right!

everyone’s secret to happiness is different. you have to find it out for yourself! it takes trial & error. for me, it’s owning who i am. happiness comes from being real with yourself and with others. be true to yourself!

you have to believe in yourself and know that you CAN have the life you dream of. you need to know that you ARE worth it. you have the power to change your thoughts into positive ones. you can’t depend on anyone but YOURSELF. and through this, i found happiness.

now, my friends,  i AM ready to take the world by storm! so watch me.

highlights from my trip to malibu

remember that time i went to malibu and told ya’ll i would make daily video updates? well, THAT didn’t happen. not even ONE video was made! i was really excited about that, too. but i just didn’t have enough time! SO, here is your one blog recapping the last 2 weeks!

i already updated you on the first couple days but i feel like there is soooo much more that i need to say! let me start with this:

my week in malibu & 3 days in arizona changed my life.

when i boarded my plane to malibu, i thought i was crazy for even going. my mind was racing. how in the world would i EVER be able to workout for 7 hours a day?! how would i survive on 1,200 calories?! how would i function without caffeine?!

i was filled with anxiety and fear of the unknown!

but you know what? as soon as i got out of the car and walked into the lobby of the biggest loser resort at fitness ridge, all of my worries were instantly gone. vanished. i was greeted by a number of people and felt at home within the first 5 minutes!

i was treated like royalty by the staff from that moment on.  i didn’t have to lift a finger! (except in the gym where i lifted a lot more than a finger!)

here are some of the highlights of my vacation:

hiking — oh hiking. we had such a love/hate relationship. by the end of day 2 i was ready to give up. i went to this resort to challenge myself so i asked to join van 4. i was originally in van 1 and wasn’t aware that moving up a couple groups would be such a drastic change! but you know what? i am SO glad i did!! this was the best decision i made all week. the people in my group have become life long friends: courtney, heather, kim, keith. we were the “back of the van” people. i couldn’t have gotten through the hikes without their support! they were there for me when i wanted to give up. they literally pushed me to my limits and beyond. thursday was the hardest hike for me. i wish i could remember which hike it was… it might have been ocean view? they all kind of blend together. but this particular hike KILLED me. i was in the very back of the group and couldn’t keep up with them for the life of me. it was uphill the entire way and i kept saying “i can’t do this” — but i DID do it.

(i need to give credit to my amazing hiking guide from that day, zoe. she stayed in the back with me and wouldn’t let me give up. she was doing everything in her power to get my mind off the pain i was feeling. she asked me ridiculous questions and it actually worked! with her help, i was able to finish that hike without giving up!)

stretch class — one of my favorite times of the day. it came right after the hike and oh booooyyy did i need that! my muscles were usually so sore following the hike that stretching had never felt better! oh and not to mention the AMAZING music that was played during this class — there was some mumford & sons and the civil wars! love.

breakfast, lunch & dinner — as i mentioned before, we were eating an average of 1,200 calories per day. at home i was probably eating close to double this amount! the amazing part? i was NEVER hungry. the food was absolutely incredible and i left every single mean completely satisfied! my favorites from the week were: shepards pie, chocolate covered strawberries, dessert parfait, turkey burger, chicken & rice bowl and ALL of the soups. okay, i basically loved everything they served me!

the parsnip soup (aka parsnip snoup) was fabulous. (i don’t even know what parsnips are to be completely honest!) and the tomato soup was to die for! and also the calliflower soup!! SO delicious. the head chef and all of the kitchen staff were the GREATEST. absolutely no complaints!

the support system — i think the best part about my stay at the BLR was the friendships i made. these people are going to be in my life forever. most of them know what its like to struggle with weight and i felt this unspoken bond with them because of it. no, none of us are perfect, but we are doing everything in our power to make sure we make ourselves proud each and every day.

i’ve always struggled with giving myself credit for the things i accomplish… but the people at the resort changed that! i can’t even describe the pride i felt in the gym on a daily basis. the support was over flowing. i could cry just thinking about it!

**FAVORITE HIGHLIGHT: we’d do this thing in the gym where half of the group sprints as fast as they can for 1 minute while the other half yells and screams and cheers us on as loud as they can. (i really am getting choked up right now!) — every single one of us in that gym pushed as hard as we could! all pain and injuries were put aside and for that ONE minute, we were UNSTOPPABLE. we were PROUD.

i wish i could have gotten moments like that on video. i will never forget that feeling of pure joy and happiness. there were high fives and hugs all around the room. i felt on top of the world.

the biggest thing i took away from the biggest loser resort is that i can do ANYTHING i put my mind to. i no longer say “i CAN’T” anymore because i know i CAN. and i know YOU can, too! it’s all in our minds. it’s a mental game. physically, we can do anything for a minute. you just have to decide that you WANT to.

for example, i was scared to death of the jacobs ladder. i’d never used that machine before! i’d only seen it on the biggest loser show… but on saturday, arthur told me to get on it. he demanded. so i did. his goal for me was 30 seconds… i went BEYOND one minute without wanting to give up!

i have complete faith that YOU and myself can reach our goals. we are capable of so much more than we think. just remember that when you want to give up, DON’T. because there is more fight left inside of you! push to your limits then push a little more past that! you’ll be shocked at what you can accomplish. and you will be proud of what you did.

the biggest loser resort at fitness ridge gave me a new found joy for life. it gave me hope for a better future. it provided me with the tools i needed to continue this healthy lifestyle at home. i will never forget my time spent at this amazing place. as soon as i start making some money, this is the first place i will go back to. everyone needs to go for at least a week! it WILL change your life.

i am worth it. and YOU are worth it.

 

biggest loser fitness ridge day 1

helllooooo world! i’m writing to you today from the BEAUTIFUL malibu, california! it is 6:15 am here and i’m just getting up and getting ready for the day. i’m so glad i finally found a couple minutes to recap the past 2 days!

sunday, december 4:
sunday started out VERY early… 3 am to be more specific. i woke up and had to get some last minute things done before heading to the airport. i flew all day. maine to california is a loooong journey! i made it to LAX around 1 and then met up with arthur & courtney. the amazing meg picked us up at the airport and we headed to the resort! the rest of the day is kind of a blur because i was SO exhausted… we had dinner & a welcome meeting. dinner was tamales!

side note: ALL of the food is here INCREDIBLE. i’m shocked at how tasty everything is! that dinner on sunday was only 186 calories for the entire thing! the other amazing part is that all of our food is served to us! we don’t have to move. if we want something, they get it for us! the service is just amazing!

monday, december 5:
i woke up feeling a little bit nervous… but not TOO bad. here’s what my monday schedule looked like:

6 am: stretch class
7 am: breakfast (we had egg & sausage sandwiches, 266 cals)
8 am: 2.5 hour hike
11:15 am: H20 circuit (SUCH an good pool workout!)
12:30 pm: lunch (tomato soup & turkey sandwich, 360 cals)
1 pm: budget lecture
2:30 pm: core class
3:30 pm: cardio intervals
4:30 pm: H20 intervals
5:30 pm: dinner (chicken & rice bowl, 429 cals)
6:15 nutrition lecture

the most amazing part of this experience so far has been working out alongside some of my fitness heroes: courney crozier, arthur wornum, tara costa, sione fa, sarah nitta (all past biggest loser contestants) — being in the gym with them makes me fight HARDER and allows me to not give up. i’m not gonna lie, during the 3:30 intervals class i almost reached my breaking point. i’d never experienced pain like that… i’d never been pushed to that point but i’m glad i was. the support from everyone is what kept me going when i wanted to quit.

i want to make everyone proud. i want to make MYSELF proud.

i’ve said so many times before that i want to change my life. but i was never ready. it doesn’t mean anything until you actually change your MIND. but now? NOW i am ready. i am ready to change my life. i am ready to do things i never thought possible. i am ready to work hard. i am ready to DO THIS!

i’m no longer looking at the big picture. yes, i need to lose 80 pounds. but that’s not what i’m going to focus on every day! each and every day is a clean plate to start fresh. little decisions add up to big changes.

i’m leaving to go to breakfast now and then going on my morning hike. i can’t wait to see where today takes me! i’ll keep you posted! and lastly, thank YOU. yes, YOU for all of the love and support you’ve given me during this journey! i could never thank you enough! xox

biggest loser resort, malibu

in 13 days, i’m embarking on the next fun journey in my life! yes, i’ll be going to california for the THIRD time this year! in may i stayed in westlake village, in august i stayed in LA, and this time i’ll be in MALIBU.

but this isn’t just any old vacation…

i’m going to the biggest loser resort at fitness ridge! for those who don’t know what this is, google it RIGHT NOW. basically, i’ll be working my butt off  the entire week. i’ll be in exercise classes for 7 hours a day!!

going to this resort has always been a dream of mine. getting the biggest loser experience without being on the show… who doesn’t dream of that?! i never thought it would be possible for me to go to because of it’s expensive cost. HOWEVER, my beautiful friend courtney crozier is going and is allowed to take one guest with her for a discounted price — and she chose ME!

many of you might recognize the beautiful courtney because she is from season 11 of the biggest loser! (AQUA TEAM!) courtney actually came into my life BEFORE she was on the show! i’ve been blessed to call this girl my friend for a while!

along with courtney, i’ll be at the resort with my amaaaazing friend meg! and some other biggest loser all stars — arthur (BL season 11, blue) sarah (BL season 11, pink) sione (season 7, blue) and tara (BL season 7, green)

um.. amazing. right?!?!?!

after my week at fitness ridge, meg and i will be taking a roadtrip from malibu to phoenix, arizona! i’ll be staying in AZ for 4 days and then finally coming home!

because this trip is approaching so soon, i’ve been thinking about my fitness goals a lot… i think the number one thing i want to get out of this trip is to break through the barriers in my head that are telling me i CAN’T do something.

i got to this size because of the things in my head. i’ve always told myself that i can’t do it… and then i give up. it’s happened too many times before and i don’t want to fail anymore! i WANT to succeed at weight loss. i NEED to succeed.

i’m ready for the 7+ hour workouts… and those intense hikes through the mountains in malibu.

i’m ready to prove myself wrong  & push myself harder than i ever have before.

i’m ready to dig deep into my heart & figure out whats holding me back .

i’m ready to change my life.

it amazes me to see the ways in which God works. when i was in LA in may, God knew what He was doing by cutting me from the show (the biggest loser) — He knew that i’d be okay doing this on my own and that He would provide me with the tools i’d need. i think this is why i got this opportunity. and just by being a finalist, i got to know some of the most incredible people. i feel like i’m part of the BL family even though i was never on it.

the friendships i’ve made have made this entire process completely worth it.

i’ll be bringing my computer to the ridge with me and making video blogs as much as possible. i can’t wait to learn all kinds of new things and then come home and teach you all!

23 before 24

with my 23rd birthday quickly approaching (this tuesday, 11/08) i’ve been thinking about all of the AMAZING things i got to experience in one short year. i actually think it’s safe to say that i did more THIS year than i’ve ever done. i definitely stepped out of my comfort zone and did things i never thought possible. it was an eye opening year. i learned a lot about myself! i had more heartbreak than i wanted… but in the end, i wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything!

  • went to a casting call for a tv show
  • flew to NC to meet my amazing friend mary kathyrn
  • made it as a finalist for the biggest loser
  • graduated college
  • flew to LA by myself & stayed for 10 days
  • went to LA for a second time with friends
  • met my soul sister. best friend, lauren!
  • ate grits for the first time
  • tried avacado and fell in love with it

… just to name a few!!!

& here is my list of things i want to accomplish in the upcoming year!

  1. get a job
  2. hike a mountain in malibu, ca
  3. meet up with ashlee, heather, & jenny in idaho or washington
  4. move… anywhere
  5. go to texas
  6. go back to los angeles
  7. fit comfortably in size 14 jeans
  8. go on a date
  9. meet some of my KIND sisters
  10. read at least one book cover to cover
  11. bake a recipe from pinterest
  12. get a tiny tattoo
  13. run a 5K
  14. donate a big sum of $$ to kind campaign
  15. go to a concert
  16. go to a rodeo with lauren
  17. go to a texans game
  18. buy a new pair of toms
  19. go to the today show
  20. stick with weight watchers for at least 6 months
  21. try eating fish
  22. visit brittany in philadelphia
  23. be vegetarian for a day

soul sister

have you ever met someone and after just like.. oh.. say.. an hour… immediately connected with them? i recently had an experience like that. with a very special friend of mine named lauren.

i’ll take you back to how this whole friendship unfolded.

a little over a month ago, (september 21 to be exact), one of my casting directors, holland, texted me about this girl named lauren. she told me that she wanted me to reach out to her because she thought we’d have a lot in common. we had both gotten far in the biggest loser casting process so i immediately knew she and i would have A LOT to talk about! she, like i, didn’t end up on the show.

i hadn’t even spoken to lauren yet, but i already knew the pain she must have been feeling in her heart. it was a pain too familiar to me… i knew i didn’t want this girl going through this disappointment alone.

so… long story short… i ended up sending lauren a quick little facebook message introducing myself and telling her that holland sent me her way! well, come to find out, holland had told HER about ME too, so she was expecting the message! which made it a lot less awkward on my end 😉

lauren and i exchanged messages and phone numbers.  i think it’s safe to say that a part of my life changed on that day

after weeks of chatting NON-STOP, lauren and i decided that she needed to come visit me in maine. and that’s exactly what she did! she booked her flight and a few days later, my “texting friend” had turned into a “real life” friend!

some people might find this a little strange… for a couple of strangers to just become friends like that… and to fly across the country to see each other. but it was anything BUT strange!

from the moment she got off the plane and into my car, it was as if she and i had been best friends for YEARS. for life, actually. it was just such a natural feeling… there is no other way to describe it!!

we spent the weekend doing tourist-y things around the beautiful state of maine!  i brought her to some of my favorite hangouts: fort williams, freeport, kennebunkport, portland, rira, flat bread, the lobster shack, rapid rays. to name a few. i took her through a typical day in the life of amanda!

my favorite part of the weekend was the afternoon that we spent at fort williams and the lighthouse. we literally sat on the rocks overlooking the ocean for HOURS. thinking… talking… and thinking some more. that night, lauren and i went to the beach near my house. we got all bundled up and sat in the sand in the pitch black. we shared our deepest and innermost thoughts.. our dreams… our fears. it was beautiful. everything about it was perfect.

i was able to tell her things that i’ve never told anyone before. my darkest secrets… and she was there with a listening ear. that evening on the beach, i ended up bawling my eyes out during our conversation. i don’t even know where it came from… i don’t cry in front of ANYONE. my first reaction was to cover my face, but lauren let me know that it was okay.

the tears began flowing when i thought about our friendship. how had i survived 22 years without this person in my life? i can’t imagine my life without her! she was only in maine for 4 quick days… what was i going to do with myself when she went back to texas? she was going to go back home, and i was going to stay here… alone and lonely. i could cry again just thinking about it.

i have had hundreds of friends come in and out of my life throughout the years, but none like lauren. lauren was specially placed into my life. God knew we needed each other.

there is no other explanation for this friendship.

people from texas and maine don’t usually just meet like that! and i very rarely have friends touch my heart in such an amazing way. she makes me feel like i’m not alone in my struggles and my fears.

lauren has gone through some of the same exact things as me. and for once in my life, i have someone who understands… a friend who understands what it’s like to be a bigger girl in this world. who understands what it feels like to want something SO SO SO bad and then get it taken away in an instant.

that right there is enough to create an unbreakable bond.

not a day goes by that i don’t thank God for placing this wonderful friend into my life. lauren is the type of person who is willing to listen to whatever is on your heart. she allows me to open up and lets me get everything out. she makes me feel comfortable doing it. she is just such a loving, kind, compassionate, caring and INCREDIBLE person.

lauren has become such more than a friend to me… she has become my sister.

 

be kind. end of story.

last night was a r0ugh one for me… as some of you know, or have read on facebook/twitter, i had a little “bullying incident” via the cyber world.

now, this wasn’t anything new for me. growing up, i was always the victim of cyber bullying. it was something that happened so often that i had grown comfortable in this position. comfortably numb.

during those dark times (middle school) i would comfort myself with food. which is ultimately how my weight problems started in the first place.

deep down inside of me, i thought those days were over. yes, they haunted me all the way through middle school, high school, and even college. but i truly thought that no one could make me feel that horrible ever again. i thought i was healed. confident. strong.

but the incident last night tested me. and i failed that test.

let me start from the beginning so you know exactly what i’m talking about — i’m not sure how many of you are familiar with twitter, but on the side of the page, there is something called “trending topics” — it’s a place where they show the most talked about topics.

well my friends, one of the trending topics last night was “#onlyfatpeople” – this means that SO many people started their tweets with “only fat people…” you can fill in the blank here with whatever you’re thinking.

the tweets were disgusting. they were horrible. mean. UNKIND. insulting.

being the girl that i am, i had to tweet SOMETHING in response to these awful tweets. so, i wrote:

really? #OnlyFatPeople is a trending topic? NEVER been so offended. I’ve had to deal with this rudeness my entire life & I’ve had ENOUGH.” and “This is NOT okay. Bullying GOT me to this dark place and it ISN’T fair. This world needs to change. KINDNESS needs to TAKE OVER.”

i should have known that i would get some kind of rude remark sent back to me. but i guess i’m sort of naive in that sense. i wasn’t prepared for the comments to follow.

someone actually wrote to me (among others) — “i can tell you’re fat, bitch. look at your profile picture… blerghh” and “how can you even let yourself get that fat?”

honestly, i couldn’t believe what i was reading. how could ANYONE say something like that to a complete stranger? this person has NO idea who i am. they have no idea what my life is like. they don’t know my struggles. my past. ANYTHING.

it shouldn’t have affected me at all! but it did. it REALLY did.

i was hurt. beyond hurt… why would someone say that to me?

the part that hurts more than those personal remarks towards me is the fact that people make fun of others in the first place. why do people bully others?! it’s something i’ll never understand. what do they get out of it? do they enjoy making others hurt? how can those bullies feel good about themselves?

yeah, it’s true. i AM overweight. but that does NOT need to be my label. people aren’t just overweight for no reason. i never wanted to be this way. does anyone?!

if there’s one thing i’ve learned throughout my life, it’s that EVERYONE has a story. and if you take the time to get to know other people, you’ll see them in a different way.

i don’t want to be known as “the fat girl, amanda” or “the over weight one” – why do we focus so much on outward apperance anyway? why can’t someone look at me and think “oh yeah, there is that KIND girl, amanda

why label someone at all? what will it take to get rid of this in our world?

while we’re at it: if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, then just DON’T say ANYTHING at all.  you NEVER know how your thoughtless words could affect someone.

we need to spread KINDNESS all over the world. and you know what? kindness starts with YOU. yes, with you. one small act of kindness always has the potential to turn into something big. kindness can spread like wildfire. i’ve witnessed it. and it’s an amazing thing.

so while we could focus on the bad, lets focus on the good. there is so much HOPE for the future. i just know there is. so start with yourself and try to improve someones day.

give a compliment to a stranger. help someone who is struggling.

and one last thing — if you’re fed up with the bullying problem, then i strongly urge you to purchase one of my “BE KIND” wristbands. www.amandaleigh.bigcartel.com all of the profits go to the kind campaign: the kind campaign isn’t just about anti-bullying, their mainfocus is on the importance of KINDness. 

one kind word goes a long way.

“be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
“kindness is always fashionable.”
“be kind whenever possible. it is always possible.”

los angeles adventures – uber crisp!

it’s finally here! my long awaited and much requested LOS ANGELES blog post!! as i’m sure all of you know, i went on a little mini vaca to california last week… and to say it was amazing would be a major understatement! i’ve been trying to figure out the best way to write this post… i feel like i have SO much to say but don’t want to bore you with the boring details!

how about i do a day-by-day recap? does that work for everyone? good.

thursday, august 25 : the california adventures started in the VERY early morning on the 25th! julia & i had to wake up around 4 am to head to the airport in boston. i was so tired yet soon learned that my hopes of sleeping on the plane would NOT happen. gotta love little kiddies who kick the backs of seats! okay so we got to LA around 12:30 pm that day. our first stop was the rental car place — i won’t go into details on this FIASCO. but just know that there were almost tears. not a good way to start a vaca 😉 but we worked everything out and then headed to santa monica! our first stop was coffee beanralph’s. we picked up some beautiful flowers and went to surprise julia’s friend who didn’t know we were on the west coast! that was cute — then we went to the santa monica pier and did a little sight seeing around there! that evening, julia, holly & i went to dinner in santa monica. delicious dinner + live music? LOVE. we ended the evening in the hotel. we crashed at 8 pm! we were EXHAUSTED from a crazy day of travel!

lesson learned from day 1DON’T get stressed about little bumps in the road. yes, there was a little problem at the car rental place, but everything DID work out in the end! i got nervous and anxious for no reason! i can look back and laugh at it now 🙂

friday, august 26 : is it bad that it’s taking me a while to remember what i did each day?! let me think… friday… julia & i started the day by heading to MALIBU! we went to the most amazing restaurant OF ALL TIME — paradise cove. you literally eat with your feet in the sand. heaven much?! after our amazing breakfast, we decided to go on a little adventure… we went to the BIGGEST LOSER RANCH. you know, like… the place where the show is filmed! this was literally a dream come true for me… it was surreal being there! after getting so far and not getting on the show, i never thought i’d make it to that place! standing outside of that gym gave me a new kind of inspiration. it’s a feeling that i can’t really describe. after visiting the ranch, we decided to take the scenic route down the mountains… HA, bad idea! i’ve never been so terrified! the view was absolutely BREATHTAKING, but the drive was scary! i believe we ended up on hollywood boulevard that afternoon… we were complete toursists! OH, and also… i had in-n-out for the first time that day! ANIMAL STYLE.

lesson learned from day 2 — standing outside of a building where heroes are made can change your life… i’m talking about the BL gym. it made me realize that the only tools you get on this show is a gym & some trainers. i can get that anywhere! the gym isn’t magical or anything. it’s all up to ME and all up to YOU!

saturday, august 26 : saturday was one of my favorite days of the trip! this was the day of the biggest loser casting call! to answer everyones questions — yes, i did sit at the table and did the audition, HOWEVER, i didn’t apply for the show! i just went to have fun and see my friends!  you have no idea how WONDERFUL it was to see everyone that day!!! i hadn’t seen them since finals week in may. i got to catch up with my favorites fom the casting team! shoutouts to my faves! although i didn’t get on the show, i still feel like i’m apart of the BL family… the casting team has turned into some of my greatest friends and motivators. LOVE them! also at the casting call, i had the great opportunity of meeting austin from BL 11 and adam from BL 10. it was kind of amazing because adam knew who i was! he said he’s “heard a lot about me” and it made my day! after the CC, i went to lunch with my friends and then back to the hotel for some pool time with the ladies! on saturday night, julia, jessica, nicole and i went to see my AMAAAAZING friend nicole vaughn perform! seeing nicole perform on stage was one of the highlights of my entire year. i completely fell in love with her music when she came to my house with the kind campaign last year. actually, i think i will do an entire blog post dedicated to this night… look for it soon!

lesson learned from day 3 — i learned that i am able to deal with letdown better than i used to!

sunday, august 28 : started the day off with breakfast at joan’s on third with all the girls! that afternoon we all went our seperate ways for a little while — i got to go to lunch with lauren and molly!! my kind campaign girls!! i was SO SO SO happy that i was able to see them on my trip!! this was the other huge highlight of going to LA 🙂 i’m going to do a seperate blog post about this experience as well! but lauren and molly, just please know that i love you girls with all my heart! that evening, julia & i decided to take jessica and nicole on a little surprise adventure! our first stop was the BL ranch again! they had never been so they were UBER excited! we went on a walk around the presidential mile area and did a little bit of stalking 😉 we went to PARADISE COVE for dinner and had the most amazing time! shoutout to the most amazing waitress EVER: candace! i don’t think i’d ever laughed so much in my entire life!

lesson learned from day 4 — i NEED to follow my dreams. i had two waitresses that day tell me that i need to move to california. if that’s not a sign, then i don’t know what is! i’m young. this is my time to chase my dreams and live the life i’ve always dreamed of.

monday, august 29 : monday morning julia and i went to TOAST for breakfast… it was a must-go on my list of places! delicious much?! that afternoon, the 4 of us went frolicking around beverly hills and hollywood 🙂 we also hit up PINKBERRY for some froyo! we ended the afternoon at manhattan beach and then said our goodbyes to nicole who had to leave that afternoon – such a sad goodbye! 😦 julia, jessica, and i went out for mexican food that night and had a very relaxing evening with drinks and a movie! it was kind of perfect 🙂

lesson learned from day 5 — every problem in life has a purpose. it might not be clearly visible, but it will come to you in time. on this day, i was still dealing with the feeling of a let down, but i got the answer in the form of an email. a weight was lifed off of me!

tuesday, august 30 : hmm tuesday… what a day! went to breakfast with julia and jess then cleaned our hotel room and headed to the airport… checked my bag, went through security and all that jazz then waited for the plane! … and waited and waited and waited! HA our flight ended up being cancelled!! soooo there wasn’t really anything we could do. we had to stay another night in beautiful los angeles! luckily, jessica had a hotel room because she was staying another night already. julia and i showed up at her hotel door and surprised her! she was SHOCKED. i wish you could have seen the expression on her face! priceless. we didn’t end up doing much that day! we ate (a lot…) and drank in the hottub. it was relaxing and so much fun! i loved having that extra night 🙂

lesson learned from day 6 — i really am able to get through a problem without stressing! i guess i grew a lot on this trip… but even with our flight being cancelled, i didn’t worry! the old me probably would have cried.. but i didn’t!

wednesday, august 31 : this was the day we officially flew back to boston! not much to say about it… we had a layover in dallas and everything went smoothly! i had a lot of time on the flights to reflect on everything that happened during the week and came to the conclusion that i was MEANT to take this trip. it happened for a reason. i grew up a lot in such a short period of time. i made 3 new best friends who will be in my life FOREVER. we were all meant to be friends. i’ve never clicked with people like that before! it felt like we’d known each other forever! it was just… amazing. i love you gals.

oh, and… the 4 of us are moving to LA in may. no big deal… but it’s official. xoxox