What inspired you to take the Challenge?
I weighed 311 pounds. I had no energy and my feet hurt — I could hardly walk. I used to weigh 120 pounds but gained a lot of weight during my pregnancies and never lost it. I’d eat anything in sight, like hamburgers and pizza, and I lived on Dr. Pepper. I’ve tried many diets and would always get discouraged. I’m 39 and my uncle, who was only six years older than me, had a heart attack and passed away. I have a heart condition myself so I knew I needed to change my lifestyle. Then my doctor said: “It’s time to lose weight. Let’s go!”
How did you get started?
I began having smaller portions of food, and when I started to feel full, I’d listen to my body and stop eating. I just shifted my mindset and became more aware of what was going in my mouth.
Instead of eating fast food, I started cooking more at home, using my Instant Pot and air fryer. I make a delicious chicken stuffed with broccoli and pepper jack cheese. My husband air fries hamburgers, which taste great. I think it’s important to reward yourself occasionally, so I’ll have sugar-free fudgesicles or Chicken McNuggets. By cutting way down on fast food, I’m saving money for the future. I get inspired by reading success stories on the app and my family is my biggest support.
What are you doing to move more?
During my lunch break, I walk around the store and I work out at the gym. My favorite exercise: lifting weights at home with my 17-year-old son, Jamie. I love spending time with him and we have fun. We listen to rock music for motivation, like Seether and Pop Evil. As a family, we love to race go-karts, which I actually enjoy more now because I can get on the cart and race with everyone else since I have more energy. I love spending time with him and we have fun. We listen to rock music for motivation, like Seether and Pop Evil. As a family, we love to race go-karts, which I actually enjoy more now because I can get on the kart and race with everyone else since I have more energy.
How else has your life improved?
Sleep was always a problem and I’d tried everything. I was on sleeping medication, which wasn’t working. I had a CPAP machine for sleep apnea, but since losing weight, I don’t need it anymore. At bedtime, I put my phone away and I get at least eight hours of sleep a night, which feels wonderful. Every morning, I say positive phrases to myself for encouragement like: “Mandy, you look beautiful today. It’s going to be a good day.” Everybody asks me, “How did you lose the weight?” And I love encouraging friends, family members, and co-workers by explaining what I do and sharing recipes.
What’s life like now?
I’ve never felt better. I’ve lost 82 pounds, I have more energy, and I can walk three miles without having to stop and take a breath or my feet hurting. There’s a fire in me and I know I can do anything I want to do. The Challenge has given me my life back.
— Mandy Jones, Supercenter #5433; Hot Springs Village, AR; $5K Winner