Amber Suter owns a gym in Springhill Tennessee. At the start of her year long process of losing weight, Amber (5’8”) weighed 305 pounds. She lost over 100 pounds in one year, overcoming a hypothyroid condition on her way to improving her health and well-being.
Amber described her declining health motivated her weight loss. “I was really tired of being unhealthy at such a young age.”
Being 300 pounds also limited her options when it came to finding clothes. “I was very depressed, discouraged and ashamed,” she said of her difficulty. “It was at the point where I was at the highest size I could go before I had to transition to a specialty store to even get clothes.”
First, Amber needed to address an underlying medical issue. “I went to the doctor and I got my thyroid checked and I had to start on thyroid supplementation.”
With the condition under control, Amber worked with a personal trainer and started a nutritional program. Amber expanded upon it a little more, “an exercise nutritional program which is basically like eating a paleo diet, a lot of fruits, nuts, vegetables and meat, just very simple and easy to fix.”
“I have hypothyroidism is what I was diagnosed with,” she said. “And it kept me from being able to lose the weight like everyone else. I needed an extra supplement because when I would eat right and exercise it still didn’t have the same affects as someone who doesn’t have hypothyroidism.”
Prior to the hypothyroidism diagnosis, Amber suspected that she may have had an underlying condition. “I reached out to other women who were losing weight [and] I was doing the same things they were doing without the same results, so that was a big clue.”
Amber kept the weight off, she said, “just by adopting a healthy lifestyle. I’ve maintained the paleo diet, I exercise every day and I surround myself with positive people who are on the same journey.”
Surrounding herself with positive people also meant being positive herself. “I also like to inspire other people who are at where I was at 305 pounds. I actually know I’m motivation for other people so that makes me work that much harder to help them.”
These positive people, her support network are her family and friends, the Internet, Facebook and community outlets. She added, “here at the gym we have a little program that we run but I think most local gyms have their own little weight loss programs.”
To reach her goal, Amber believed in a change in perspective. “Oh, yes, some significant mental aspects have changed,” Amber said about the mental adjustments she needed to make. “Just the negative self-talk change, the positive self-talk, you really have to motivate yourself and be willing to make the changes and resist temptations. Mentally you have to grow and you have to be stronger to maintain and achieve your goal.”
“I’ve slipped off the wagon a couple times,” she said, relating how she looks at certain food now that she has kept the weight off. “And realized how bad that bad food made me feel, I just didn’t want to feel bad anymore. So, I know when I look at, say a box of Ritz crackers I know how it’s going to make me feel so I don’t choose it.”
Amber exercises often at regular times. “Every morning before I eat breakfast I bicycle or go out and walk for 45 to 60 minutes. Then three to four days a week I do weight lifting on the machines in the gym. In the evening time if I feel like I just want a little extra to do I’ll go out for a 30 minute walk.”
One thing Amber does not eat? Desserts. Otherwise, her diet consists of healthy proteins, fruits, vegetables and nuts.
“In the morning I either drink a protein shake or I eat egg whites and salsa,” Amber explained. “Snacks are mainly like apples and oranges, nuts, like almonds and walnuts. Lunches and dinners I have healthy proteins like chicken, beef, turkey and I always fill up the rest of my plate with vegetables.
There’s all sorts of vegetables you can have from, broccoli and asparagus and I’ll also have a sweet potato or a red potato.”
It helps that her family eats the same food she eats, so there is no need for preparing separate meals. Her husband and teenage boys just eat more of it.
Amber has a simple answer. “Start sooner. Definitely not wait until I got so at rock bottom.”