A fitness fanatic who counted calories for 30 years after her mum put her on a diet aged NINE says she finally feels “liberated” – after she quit the gym and “got fat”.
Amanda Redepenning, 39, went from a size ten to a size 20 (UK), gained 60lbs and is now classed as clinically obese – but is happier than ever.
Mum-of-two Amanda strayed from her strict meal plans and quit working out after an exhausting three decades of try every diet under the sun.
Amanda, of Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA, who is 17 weeks pregnant with her third child, said: “I just couldn’t do it any more.
“I tried giving myself a pep talk but it just didn’t work. As miserable as I was gaining weight. I couldn’t sell my soul to the devil any more.
“So I surrendered and got really fat. In March last year I weighed 160lbs and by Christmas I was 220lbs (15.7stone).
“The first few months were really painful. I could feel that my clothes weren’t fitting and I was getting bigger and bigger. I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to be fat.’
“But now I feel really really really really good. The inside of my head is a happier place.
“Finally I’m a lot more OK with who I am. It makes me so sad to think that I was being so mean to myself for so long.”
She told the little girl, who was slightly bigger than her classmates: “You are obviously uncomfortable with how you look. I think you should go on your diet.”
From that point Amanda, a clinical psychologist, paid close attention to what she ate, desperate to slim down and achieve the perfect body.
The mum, author of the blog ‘Classic Amanda’, said: “My mum bought me a calorie-counting book and I can still assess the calorie content of every food item.
“She was teased at school and she wanted to save me from that, so she would buy me clothes that didn’t fit and the goal was to get into them.
“At Easter, my brothers would get chocolate eggs but mine would have coins in.
“I ended up feeling like I was never good enough. When I looked in the mirror I felt disgusting.
“There was always some goal that I needed to work on. It was definitely eating disorder behaviour.”
By her teens, Amanda, who lives with her husband, construction contractor Mitch, 48, daughter Frances, five, and son Finn, four, was strictly controlling her food intake.
In her twenties she started going to the gym every day and at one point even lost 50lbs in just four months.
Over the years she tried shakes, diet pills, Weight Watchers and fad diets, measuring her success with countless before and after progress photos.
But she would never reach the perfect goal and after each health kick she would eventually cave and binge eat, which resulted in her gaining a few pounds.
She would then end up feeling so terrible about herself that she would detox and start the dieting cycle again – a pattern that continued for 30 years.
But last year, the 5ft7 mum-of-two got fed up and decided to miss one gym session. Then she missed another and another until she hadn’t been for two weeks.
Her weight ballooned and at her heaviest she tipped the scales at 220lbs.
Amanda, who has since lost 10lbs after adopting a healthier approach to balanced eating and exercise, added: “Whatever size I am is what I will be.
“I still get horrible thoughts. Last week I was at the park walking around and I was thinking, ‘Oh, I bet I look fat right now.’
“But I’ve learned how to check myself.
“In the past that would have plagued me and I would have gone home and started at myself in the mirror.
“Now I think, ‘Who cares what I look like?’ It is liberating.”