Before: 180 pounds
After: 132 pounds
In 2007 Amara Poolswasdi, the owner of a design and marketing firm in Los Angeles, traveled to Thailand to visit relatives who, as medical professionals, expressed concern about her weight. She observed a striking difference between the U.S. and Thailand in terms of food portions and eating habits. When she returned home, she curbed her binge eating and lost 20 pounds, which she kept off until 2010—when she lost another 28 pounds.
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The Turning Point
Around fall 2010, Amara noticed that her performance at work and personal relationships were declining. At 26, she thought she was too young to feel so down about life and decided to make improvements—beginning with her health.
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Amara tossed all the junk, such as potato chips and white rice, and scaled back portions at mealtimes. She used to keep a food diary that illuminated how her productivity and self-esteem plummeted within 48 hours of eating many of her favorite foods—fried chicken, fast food, cheese enchiladas. Now that she’s in maintenance mode, she no longer relies on the journal. She tries to have a salad at each meal, eating the greens before moving on to the rest of her plate.
Inspired by the runners in her life, she started running herself last February. “[Runners I know] have their stuff together, and they’re always upbeat and positive. I wanted to be that way, too,” Amara says. She downloaded the Runkeeper app on her phone to track her workouts. Adding an element of something she loves (social media) to something she doesn’t love (exercise) motivates her to keep running. So far, she has completed a 5-K and a 10-K and signed up for a 15-K in July. Next on her list is a triathlon, in September. To train for that, she’s biking about 20 miles and swimming 2 days each week.
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Amara started blogging about her fitness goals to keep herself accountable to friends who would expect to see her videos and tweets. “It was a good deterrent for bad behavior,” she says. The same questions related to running started pouring in, so she decided to post answers for anyone to access. She’s also noticed that people are coming to her for advice. But the conversation is shifting from I want to lose 10 pounds to I want to get healthy.
In May 2011, Amara finished the Santa Monica Classic, a 10-K course by the beach. She raced with a buddy, who had started running after a 10-year respite, and was able to cheer him on as he crossed the finish line.
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Stay strong. “An extra-large cheese pizza isn’t going to help me finish strong at the triathlon,” she says.
Be realistic. “Don’t expect results overnight.”
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Run to Lose Weight
Social Media Keeps Her Accountable
Image: Courtesy of Amara Poolswasdi
Before: 180 pounds