In her quest to lose 50% of her bodyweight, Amy Waight has had to face up to lentils and liver, complete a gruelling CrossFit training session, bare skin at the local swimming pool and blog her heart out. She’s been through the mill, and emerged half the woman she used to be. We catch up with the star member to discover what life’s like on the other side.
We’ve seen lots of smiles, but there must have been tough times. What were your highs and lows?
It’s been an amazing experience and I’m shocked with the results. My high point was the CrossFit session – I loved it! My trainer's expertise wasn’t wasted on me. He pushed me out of my comfort zone and it was a huge confidence boost to realise what I was really capable of. There are physical limitations when you’re big, but he pushed me through that – I’m no longer that person physically and I can go harder. It was one of my biggest moments ... I’m just so glad I didn’t vomit on his shoes!
I had some low points towards the end. I hit a brick wall where I was physically exhausted. I think I pushed my body too far and it put the brakes on. I had become too goal-oriented, I’d never been that harsh on my body before. I switched back to gentle exercise, started eating properly, and my body rewarded me with a decent loss: slow and steady won the race!
How did you find the photoshoot?
I’m a graphic designer and I’m usually on the other side of the camera, so I found it hard to give up control to the make-up artist and stylist. When I actually saw the photos I was, like, ‘Jesus, I look so different’! It was emotional too – when I pulled out my old pants and realised I wasn’t that person anymore, it broke my heart! Those pants had literally been sitting under the bed since I started losing weight. I had never held them. To realise that you are literally half the size you used to be is quite confronting.
And how do you feel getting down to nearly 50% of your bodyweight?
In all honesty, I don’t know yet! It’s still just a number and it doesn’t feel real. I’m forever focused forwards, which shows how far I’ve come in myself. I’m still fighting with perspective. Some days I can’t see any difference from 3 years ago. It’s a long time and progress has mainly been slow and steady, but I’ve dropped 2 or 3 dress sizes in the last couple of months and my brain hasn’t caught up with that bit yet.
Click to enlarge photos
No half measures
First year of university
Before The Club
Beautiful in blue
Radiant and stunning
Out with the old
If you could speak to the old Amy when she was first starting out on her journey, what advice would you give her?
Probably the same advice I give to everyone else. Focus on the 10lb chunks – that’s what I’ve done since the beginning. Take it as it comes. People berate themselves very badly when they stuff it up but they forget that the overall plan is much bigger. Make small goals and look after yourself.
It’s much more helpful to give your body some credit and TLC than it is to punish yourself and self-sabotage. You’ve got to appreciate what you’ve got, as it is right now.
What practical tips have you picked up?
Measuring spoons and cups are a must – portions are essential. I focus on my 3 meals plus snacks. I’ve learned to listen to my hunger and satiety signals. Making sure you’ve always got water and an apple or something on you is a great habit.
Use the diary every day – I have to track it. You’ve got to understand where your mistakes are otherwise you can’t fix them.
What inspires you?
The members on the forums are one of the main things that have kept me going and I’m humbled by the support I’ve received.
Other people can be so inspiring but ultimately you have to be your number 1 motivation and your number 1 supporter. It’s nice to see other people achieve but you have to bring it back to you.
What do you do when you have a bad day?
You’ve just got to break it and just get on with it. It’s not the end of the world, you’ve got to reassess what you have achieved, versus what you want to achieve. Don’t write off possibilities. Whereas before I would have lost a week and decided everything was too hard, I’m now a lot stronger. I pick myself up really quickly. When you’re having a really bad day in business or in general it’s a highly helpful skill - and I didn’t realise I had that strength of character before.
Do you still have blowouts?
Oh yeah! I’ve raided a peanut butter jar at 1.30am! But my blowouts are still contained – I have low-fat hot chocolate, a few too many rice cakes – but in perspective they’re not that bad.
Do you ever eat emotionally?
Yeah, I still do, but it’s something I counteract with exercise and by eating clean foods afterwards. Once it’s done it’s done, just be mindful of what triggered it in the first place because that knowledge will help next time. I don’t keep any real temptations in my house, so that limits the damage I can do. I was eyeing off the maple syrup bottle only yesterday so I jumped up and put it in the freezer. It’s about taking back control. Have a cup of tea to distract you. I survive on peppermint tea!
Have you ever had a plateau? Is there a trick to breaking them?
In the past I tried everything! I’ve had 3 significant plateaus in the past 3 years. One was 5 months! You’ve got to keep your structure. Changing exercise routines has always helped, especially trying something new. And trying a different food routine can help.
You’re a self-confessed foodie. Do you enjoy food more now?
I love food now, whereas before we had a love-hate relationship. But, let’s face it, it wasn’t food that did it, it was me. I’ve taken responsibility now. Food and I now have a very good relationship. I no longer have a deprivation mentality. There are no boundaries except for junk food. This year I’ve been opening up to new foods. I appreciate cooking now too, whereas before it felt like a chore.
What’s your next weight loss goal?
My next goal is 14st, which means a total of 15st 9lb lost. From there I’ll have to reassess. I don’t know what my ultimate goal will be.
What are you most looking forward to about the future?
It’s a bit melodramatic, but the fact that I have actually given myself the chance to have one. There are so many things I’ve learned about myself. I’ve opened up doors I closed off years ago. I’ve wiped the slate clean. I’m not restricted any more. The freedom is liberating, I walk out my door now and I’m so different.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I don’t know – there are too many possibilities.