MEXICO- Have you tried time and time again to jump on the weight loss/healthier lifestyle train, but still seem to get off on the first or second stop because the temptations are just too great, you don’t have time to stay on or you’re fearful of what lies ahead?
Well, whatever your excuse is, I’m quite sure by the time you finish reading about Amanda Hamner and Lacey Gallant, you’re going to want to dig out those gym clothes and get started again.
Amanda grew up as a member of the clean plate club and starving children in China. She was always the heavier child, but it didn’t reflect any negative feelings in her self esteem.
“I’ve always seen gorgeous and beautiful when I look in the mirror, no matter what size,” stated Amanda. “My husband married my beautiful self and he was a little concerned when he saw me losing weight. Not because he wanted me to stay big, but because he was concerned my feelings toward him would change. That’s not happening. I love him so much. Size just doesn’t matter. Health does.”
In 2011, Amanda wanted to start losing the baby weight from her son Tucker, now more than a year old, and began working out with Dawson Walton at DW Fitness when his gym was located in the Mexico Rec Center. She weighed 278 pounds, the same weight as when she was nine months pregnant with Tucker.
“I did great. It was so convenient,” stated Amanda. “I was at the gym everyday. I really put the work in at the gym and got stronger, but I didn’t change my eating habits. I was still drinking Mountain Dew and eating whatever. I was not making the commitment to other parts of my life. I only lost 20 pounds in that whole year. Then Dawson moved to Rumford and I lost motivation, making up all kinds of excuses for myself.”
Amanda and her babysitter, Lacey Gallant, tried Visalus, a weight loss/management shake, for a bit in 2013 to try to get back on track. Amanda got herself down to 212 pounds, but with little to no exercise, the weight came back on.
Lacey went from 180 pounds down to 160, but her end result was the same.
“It’s so frustrating, but I really wasn’t doing all I had to do. I didn’t get it back then,” stated Amanda. “It has to be a total lifestyle change.”
As Christmas of 2013 rolled around, the weight began to inch its’ way back on.
“It was the holidays,” stated Amanda. “That’s no excuse, but it is what it is.”
Amanda and Lacey didn’t know it this time last year, but they were soon to be enjoying a whole new adventure together.
In June of 2014, Amanda decided to join some friends on a hike up Bald and Speckled mountains in Peru.
“Thank God for Colby,” stated Amanda. “He was leading the group and asked if he could stop for a break. I was dying! So happy he decided to stop. That’s when I realized I wasn’t going to be able to hike with my son if I didn’t take control. There’s just something about being at the top of a mountain knowing you conquered the climb. I mean, really, the views, the appreciation for where you’re standing. Amazing! I mean, we live in Maine. We really need to climb mountains and see the views.”
Amanda was now at 242 pounds. Her son Tucker was three years old.
“After that, things changed,” noted Amanda. “Mine and Justin’s thing became taking Tucker up the Mexico Ledge everyday we could. Tucker turned it into his thing and he loved it.”
Amanda and Lacey started jogging and introducing fresher foods into their diets.
“There was no more soda, no fried foods, no sweets and no pizza,” stated Amanda. “It was nothing but fruits and vegetables, water, lean protein and we had a Visalus shake every morning since we already had it available to us.”
“There really were no excuses anymore,” stated Amanda. “Between the two of us, we had all the excuses everyone comes up with not to do the work.”
Lacey was traveling to Farmington for school, she was babysitting and she had her job at Miss Maureen’s PreSchool. Amanda worked her regular job with her husband’s DJ business, still ran her massage studio and then she had her waitressing and acting at 49 Franklin. Plus, she had a three year old to run after.
The two took a calendar and planned their workout schedule. They exercised to Hip Hop Abs and challenged themselves to do a Couch to 5K and logged their activity and food with My Fitness Pal.
In August, Amanda signed up for a 10-day challenge online, but before she got started, she took her measurements, starting picture and recorded her weight.
“I needed to lose as much as I could in those ten days while competing against others online. I don’t like to lose and in that time I lost 6.25 pounds and six inches. I was proud of myself, but even with those numbers, I still lost.”
In September, Lacey decided to join Amanda for the next challenge. Lacey started at 166 and Amanda was at 225.
“Don’t get me wrong,” stated Amanda. “None of this was easy. I had knee surgery years ago that I was afraid would come back and hurt. I hurt every single day after we finished. I still hurt when I do something that’s more challenging. But, I stuck to it. I did it.”
The ladies pampered themselves with epson salt baths and massage to help get them through the aches and pains.
Amanda is all about promoting what works for each individual person. “What worked for me to eat, drink or challenge myself, isn’t necessarily going to work for someone else.”
Amanda and Lacey kept at it and stayed focused and currently, Amanda is ecstatic about being down to 184 and Lacey is currently maintaining at 142.
“Neither of us have a certain size or number in mind for where we want to be,” stated Amanda. “We just know we don’t want to see our former sizes ever again and that we do have goals.”
For Amanda, her goal is to be able to hike mountains with her son and husband.
“I want to do the 25 highest peaks in New England, so I know I have to be able to do them now and again in 15 years with Tucker when he’s ready.”
For Lacey, her goal is to look better for herself and her man, to feel better, to one day look great in her wedding gown and to be a healthy mom for the children she hopes to have.
As for their motivation to keep going, Lacey noted, “It was great when we ran up the road to have the school kids seeing us everyday and the people who live along the route to come out and see when they got their paper and cheer us on. I hope they were inspired by us.”
Amanda added, “Tucker is my biggest motivator. I want to be the parent at the parent-child games that every parent is trying to stop. I want Tucker to never know an unhealthy lifestyle and be able to give him the advantage of always knowing health and wellness.”
The message these two ladies want to share with others who may be thinking about starting, quitting or just don’t know where to begin, is that you have to take the first step.
“You are stronger than you think,” noted Amanda. “I never knew how strong I really was until I started this journey.”
“You will get through,” noted Lacey. “Hurting is part of the change. There are no secrets. You have to exercise. You have to eat healthy. And, yes, the buddy system works, because neither of you wants to be the one to call and cancel on the other.”
Now, you may be asking yourself if either of these ladies has plans to incorporate their new lifestyles into their work.
Well, Lacey was already going to school for early childhood development, but when it came time to choose her specialization, her decision to take action with her life sparked her interest and she will be specializing in health and wellness for children and families.
Amanda is happy to be a role model for her son, as well as others who may be struggling and is looking forward to continuing to see all aspects of her life continue to come together.