In the spring and summer of 2018 I set out on an adventure with my family, through the Pacific Northwest in the spring with the whole family, and then a cross-country road trip with my sons, flying into Philadelphia to pick up a new-to-us Ford Explorer and driving it back to California. It was my big goal that season to hike 100 miles to celebrate losing 100 pounds.
I called it “The Century Hike,” way back in 2018, when I was young and naive, and I didn’t realize how much life was changing.
First, I actually lost 140 pounds, weighing in at 30 pounds below my lowest weight ever as an adult. Second, success like that is naturally viral and gets noticed. My cousin adopted my diet simply by asking a few questions and watching me eat at a cheap Chinese buffet in Delano, CA. He’s now below his high school graduation weight. My aunt (his mom) is more trim than I have seen her. Fellow school moms are more trim and off diabetes medications. People in my actual, real life were jumping in and having success!
As I prepared for the Century Hike, I was energetically working on the Fresh Bites Daily website, updating its long-neglected foraging and herb content. Heck, I could get out and forage much more easily and I was ready to forage. I did some LIVE videos on the Fresh Bites Facebook page in May and told people about my weight loss. I took off on a trip to the Pacific Northwest, logged in some Century Hike miles, and didn’t hit the LIVE videos again until early July. It was then that I discovered that people who watched the videos in May had implemented the diet. Two ladies were down 40+ pounds and, more importantly, they reported that they had hope for the first time in years.
“Whoa! I’ll start a Facebook group so we can keep in touch.”
And then: “Whoa! The group has 500 people!” (That was the first day.)
By the time we left for Philadelphia in late July, we were approaching 4K group members. We took the long way back to California via Michigan (it was a Ford-themed trip after all, and a family car bought initially in the Ford Friends and Family Program). We visited Aunt Diane on the way home and hung out on Lake Michigan. In a LIVE video moment on Lake Michigan, I jumped in a kayak announcing “I couldn’t fit in one of these last year and I want you to see how much your life can change!” Of course, I crashed it at least twice, but that’s another story…
We drove from Michigan through the Dakotas, catching the color of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and we landed at the 45th Parallel sign on the northern edge of Yellowstone National Park. My boys had found some “before” pictures from August of 2017 when we traveled home from viewing the total solar eclipse in Wyoming. We took those “before” pictures on August 24, 2017, one week before I would launch the diet that changed my life. I had already lost 20 pounds to qualify for bariatric surgery, that I would no longer need nor qualify for. In the photo I weighed 260 pounds.
On that August 2018 road trip, we recreated those 2017 photos and, in a rare moment in history, I was speechless. In fact, I was speechless for about three weeks. I wrote about it on Instagram below. The video I referenced on Instagram, causing me to pace the floor and wear out my carpet, is “A Postcard From Yellowstone,” which has now been viewed on Facebook hundreds of thousands of times and has brought thousands of members to the Eat Like A Bear! community.
Personally, I have constant moments of shaking my head and wondering what on earth has happened in my life. I am not used to it at all. I can walk without limping. I can walk fast. I can run if I care to. More than that, I continue to be blown away at the community we are growing around weight loss. It would be hard for me to exaggerate how ridiculously stupid I have found weight loss content to be over the years and, here I am, making weight loss content on the internet. Ten years ago, had I made a list of “possible universes” I might be living in today, I can guarantee you that I would not have conceived of one little piece of this one.
And so begin the postcards….
View this post on Instagram
My apologies. I have been knocked speechless, without words, wondering if the words would ever form and maybe a few of them have. We were on our big cross-country road trip, doing the #centuryhike (which amounted to #hiking about .000023 of a mile given all of the drive time) and we did something pretty cool: We “recreated” pictures from one year ago at #Yellowstone National Park. In August of 2017 we swung through after viewing the total eclipse in the awesome town of Douglas, WY. In August of 2018, we swung through with our new-to-us Food Explorer. Frederick brought his “A Game.” He brought the same clothes he wore one year ago. I did not. Mine no longer fit and I have long since thrifted them. At one of our stops we met Peggy, here in the photo I post. Her husband Dave took our “after” picture and here she stands with us holding a printed copy of the “before” picture. This photo was near one of my favorite stops, Dragon’s Mouth. However, the picture that blew my mind was at the 45th parallel line. It was so mind-blowing that I haven’t even known what to say about it. In these weeks of silence, I also hit the one year mark, leaving me probably a little extra emotional about the whole thing and so I returned home from the trip and jumped on the hamster wheel of back-to-school, posting recipes about sardine egg salad, and getting ready for #ExpoEast. It is simply a lot easier to run on the hamster wheel. And then on September 3, Kris posted in the Eat Like A Bear Facebook group with her update. She started the diet on August 13 and has lost 24 pounds in 3 weeks. She said what so many have said: She’s not only down the pounds, but she now has hope. Gosh, me too! Isn’t it the truth! After reading her post, at first I thought, “Damn!!!! 24 pounds!!!!” and then, somewhere in the far reaches of my brain, I asked myself, “How many more people would have hope right now had you posted that Yellowstone picture?” I spent 3 days cleaning and pacing around my house. I have something to say about the photo that I think is important so my house thanks the world because it’s getting a little bit cleaner though I am wearing down the carpet with the pacing.
Amanda Rose, Ph.D. lives in the Giant Sequoia National Monument with her husband and two sons. She founded the Eat Like A Bear website to support the awesomely inspiring community on Facebook, Eat Like A Bear!
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