A True Inspiration

Hi guys,

So I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus, after my trip I’ve been on the go-go-go but I’ve got something so special to share with you guys that it will make you forget all about my absence. What absence? 😉

I recently found a force to be reckoned with on Intagram. And that force is the ever so beautiful, Amanda Tyson. Words cannot express how inspiring this girl is. I can honestly say that it didn’t take me long to view her as a role model and am quite honoured to call her my friend.

Instead of explaining how inspiring she is, I am very lucky to have Amanda herself share her story with you.


I’ve been overweight for as long as I can remember. I remember being a kid and having to shop in the plus size department when all I really wanted to be wearing was Limited Too like everyone else my age.  I remember buying their XXXL shirts even though they didn’t fit and trying so hard to squeeze into them… just so I could fit in with my peers.  I remember the kids in my class peeking into the back of my clothing so they could see the size on the labels and then later laugh at me.

Every memory I have from middle school has turned into a blur.  When I first started 6th grade, I was so excited about making new friends and being more independent! But that’s not the way it worked out. There is only one word I can use to describe why: bullying. There was no reason for the other students to pick on me. I was defenseless and the girls thought they could treat me any way they wanted because I wouldn’t defend myself. This is when I started losing all confidence in myself. I hated the person I was because they made me feel like I was worthless.   

I weighed 205 pounds by the time I entered 7th grade because of the way I was treated.

From 6th grade to 8th grade I came home from school with tears in my eyes and would stuff my face with everything in sight. My favorite snack was those little individual size bags of chips… which wouldn’t be a problem except that I normally ate 5 bags at one time.  I tried to hide the evidence by stuffing the empty wrappers into the couch cushions.  As if my parents didn’t know what I was doing… they obviously noticed that all of the food was missing. 

After going on a major binge fest in my kitchen, my favorite thing to do was sit down at my computer and go on instant messenger. This is where the worst of the bullying occurred. Yes, I was definitely a victim of cyber bullying.  I couldn’t escape it. Not at school and not at home. Looking back, I don’t know why I allowed myself to let it happen. I could have turned off the computer when I started getting harassed… but I didn’t! I kept letting it happen day after day. Part of me feels like I deserved that pain. I can’t count the number of times I would get anonymous messages sent to me just calling me ridiculous names and saying the most awful things you can imagine.

As a 6th grader, I HAD to believe that the things said about me were true. I didn’t know any better. I lost the ability to love myself when I was only 12 years old.

This continued for so many years. I allowed myself to be a victim for the rest of middle school and throughout high school and college. I ate lunch in the bathroom for over 2 years in high school.

And during those years, the pounds kept getting packed onto my body. By the time I started college in 2007, I was tipping the scales at 260 pounds and I was still filled with endless self doubt. Why would the people in college want to be my friend if no one in the past had wanted to? I was filled with so many negative emotions as I moved into my dorm room. I could instantly tell that I was different from everyone else. I was the token fat girl who had never had a sip of alcohol before. My dream college experience was no longer there. I tried so many things to try and fit in but nothing was working. There was clearly something wrong with me.

And I continued to eat and eat and eat to deal with my emotions.

It got so bad to the point where I would sit in my dorm room and hurt myself. I would do different things to relieve the pain in my head. I had a stash of sharp objects that I would use. I don’t want to go into too much detail about this, but it continued for about a year. No one had any idea that this was going on because they didn’t pay attention to me anyways.

And the eating continued more and more…

By 2009, I’d had ENOUGH. My parents found out that I was basically living a nightmare and they forced me to move back home. It was the best thing I could have ever done for myself! I took a good look at my life and realized that I deserved better. I deserved to be HAPPY and I no longer wanted to let my past ruin my future. This was around the time when I discovered the Kind Campaign.

The Kind Campaign is a non profit organization that focuses on the long term affects of bullying and the importance of kindness.  I first saw them on the Dr. Phil show and immediately knew I wanted to get involved somehow! I took a leap of faith and reached out to the two founders, Lauren and Molly. We quickly became friends and I started a little bracelet business for them. I donated all of the money from my sales to them and have so far donated $2,000! I’ve made so many friends and connections through KC! I call those girls my Kind Sisters and they’ve given me HOPE.

It’s because of the Kind Campaign that I found my voice. They helped me open up about my bullying experiences and they taught me that I was important and worth fighting for!

Fast forward to 2011! I worked up enough courage to try out for the Biggest Loser. One of the casting directors found me on twitter and told me I had to go to a casting call because she had a good feeling about me. So after a little convincing, I headed to Boston to meet with the casting team! I, along with 250,000 others, dreamed of being on season 12 of the Biggest Loser. To my surprise, I made it all the way to finals week for the show! This means that I had made it to the final 40 and they flew me out to Los Angeles for interviews and medical testing.

I ended up being cut from the show and it absolutely ripped me apart. It was just another thing that I failed at! I was depressed for a good 8 months after that and thought I would NEVER be able to lose weight on my own. But before I left Los Angeles, I made a promise to one of my casting directors that I would get this done and do it on my own.

Well, my friends, it has been a year since I was cut from the Biggest Loser and I have successfully lost 53 pounds! I am only 37 pounds away from my ultimate goal of 170! I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! I didn’t get serious about losing weight until December, 2011 when I had the opportunity of a lifetime to go to the Biggest Loser Resort in Malibu, California for a week. That one week changed my life. It taught me everything I needed to know about weight loss! It provided me with all of the tools! I finally had a team of people who believed in me and wanted to see me succeed! It was everything I’d been needing!

My entire life, all I ever wanted was a solid group of supportive friends. Once I found them, the weight started coming off. My confidence started showing and I’m well on my way to living the life I’d always imagined! I’m working on ME and MY happiness!

The first step in healing my wounds was to learn to love. First and foremost, learn to love myself. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Learning to love and accept yourself is a challenge. You can’t fix it overnight and it’s something I have to work on every day!

I can now say that I truly do love who I am today. I’m a completely different person and it’s all because I’ve learned that I am worth it. I am worthy of love and happiness. I deserve nothing but the best!

I want the world to know that you CAN overcome the demons in your past! YOU are worth fighting for!!! NEVER give up on yourself. I believe in every single one of you! If I can do this, YOU can do this! YOU can be ANYTHING you want to be.


Can you say WOW? Words cannot express how amazingly motivational and inspiring Amanda is and I am honoured she agreed to share her story here <3

Amanda – I just know you have a bright future ahead. You are strong, beautiful and can achieve anything you set your mind to. Dream BIG and let yourself SHINE! Thanks for being a constant reminder that with hard work and dedication…GREATNESS can and will be achieved.

You can find Amanda on her blog, twitter, Facebook and of course Instagram (AmandaTyson). Trust me, you won’t regret the follow <3 

Much love,

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  • What an awesome post Jess, such a great way to start my morning!

    This is girl is beautiful!!! That smile of hers is probably very contagious!

  • wow this is an amazing story! Def needed some inspirtation to never give up on ANY GOAL. Keep it up Amanda 🙂

  • Oh my goodness. One of the best posts I have read in forever. I saw your instagram about Amanda and was hoping to learn more about her! Thank you for the inspiration!

  • what an inspiring story! I love the biggest loser and hate that you were cut but how awesome you did it on you own anyway! Keep on keeping on, you are worth it!

  • What a fantastic and inspirational story. Also how brave is Amanda for telling her story so openly and honestly. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Lou

    This made me breakdown and cry. I’m currently sitting at 220lbs, my highest being 242lbs. I’ve been the same weight for months because I comfort eat, I haven’t been able to lose weight because of it. I’ve been diagnosed with depression, I have low self esteem and a lot of hate for myself, and really feel at such a rock bottom point of my life. This has given me hope. Thank you xxx

  • Lou

    I’ve just bought one of your bracelets to support your cause, and also as a reminder to be kind to myself xxx

  • OMG…Amanda you ARE a hero!!! My son started getting bullied when he was only 8 yrs old. Kids are relentless!!! He’s turning 13 in August and i have to say, he is still being haunted by the years of bullying. I will definitely show him your story! Thank you so much for sharing and YOU LOOK GREAT! CONGRATS!! 🙂

  • Carla

    Jess- Thank you for sharing Amanda’s story. This girl is one of the bravest women I have ever met. I don’t know exactly how we connected- but THANK GOODNESS we did. She has changed my life and inspired me to keep going on my worst days. <3

    Lou- Don't ever give up!! http://www.strivefor85.com. He is 12, stood up to the bullying, and lost 85lbs. Did I mention he is TWELVE?!

  • GREAT POST! Definitely teared up while reading! Self-love is one of the hardest things to accomplish, but such a MUST! GO AMANDA!

  • What a great story!! Thank you to Amanda for sharing this!. You look beautiful and you should be so proud because not only have you come so far physically but also emotionally, which is even more valuable 🙂

  • Holy inspiration! Thank you Amanda for sharing your journey. You are absolutely gorgeous and I wish you success on your continuing journey. I hope this goes viral because people who are fighting a similar battle will no doubt be inspired by your perseverance.

  • Oh my god. I just want to give Amanda a big hug! Truly inspirational and even though I don’t know her, I feel so immensely proud of her! Well done, Amanda!

  • Tara

    Thanks so much for sharing! I started following Amanda on twitter and instagram a little while ago and it was great to hear the details of her story. You two should do some sort of youtube challenge, or blog challenge, or ?!?! Both of you as a team would be great!!! think about it 🙂 🙂

  • Inspirational!

  • JESSSS I miss you! Amanda, YOU ROCK!

  • Hey Amanda, You still look so beautiful in my eyes,,, always have and always will ,, I’ll never forget our trip to the finals ,,,, you are awesome and I love our photo on my facebook page of you and I,,,,you are so kind and beautiful,,,,, I also found myself during our BL journey,,,,,, thanks for being my inspiration and friend,,,,,
    Love u ,,, Boston Johnny Forger

  • That’s AWESOME! I’ve been following her on Twitter for a while because she’s just so inspiring!

  • Casey Rodrigue

    Amanda, I’m so happy that you are overcoming your past!! Sometimes our hurtful experiences create who we are. Pain has a way of stealing your dreams. I’m finially learning that at age 29, it’s ok to dream!!! I never allowed myself to dream, b/c I had the belief that “nothing good ever lasts for me.” But that’s a lie!! We must look deep within us and find what our passions are and what our abilities are b/c passions+abilities=Our Uniqueness!!! What do we LOVE?? What do we EXCELL at??NO one else was designed quite the way you are. God has created all of us as individuals, and we should seek Him to find out Who we were created to be. Let’s stop trying to be like the person we admire most!! Someone else is admiring you from afar! Love you Jess!!!!! And thanks for introducing us to Amanda. 🙂 We are more than what we have become!! We are more than our mistakes!!

  • YAH for Amanda. Jess, what happened to the I’m going to have a theme post every day?

  • I have tears in my eyes after reading her story, Jess! You both are so so so so inspiring! Thanks for sharing her story here too!

  • Wow, this is such a great post. Super inspirational.

    I have to say that Amanda was (and is) super pretty no matter her weight. Seriously, so photogenic in all those photos, usually the ‘after’ photos looks so much better than the ‘before’ ones but she looks amazing at every weight.