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I Lost 80 Pounds and am in the Best Shape of My Life With These Key Changes

Amanda Hinds went from 300 to 220 pounds by making simple changes to her lifestyle.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

If you have a lot of weight to lose, the process can seem overwhelming. However, taking one step, or cycle, at a time can lead to big results. Just ask Amanda Hinds, a weight loss warrior who has lost 80 pounds in two years and counting, going from 300 pounds to 220 with the help of indoor cycling and changing a few of her habits. She recently opened up about her journey with Body Network, revealing the healthy habits that enabled her to get into the best shape of her life.

Her Weight Peaked at 300 Pounds

Amanda Hines

Amanda, who lives in Belleville, New Jersey, struggled with her weight for years. However, at 300 pounds, she decided she was ready to get in shape.

She Struggled with Emotional Eating

Amanda Hines

The 31-year-old maintains that she didn't always have a healthy relationship with food. "One of my significant fitness challenges has been emotional eating, where I turned to food for comfort during stressful times," she told us.

The Extra Weight Left Her Feeling "Constantly Fatigued"

Amanda Hines

"I decided to lose weight because I wanted to feel and look better, improving both my physical health and my self-confidence. Carrying extra weight had started to affect my energy levels by feeling constantly fatigued," says Amanda.

She Wanted to Transform Her Mindset

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She also wanted to boost her "vitality and stamina, allowing me to enjoy life to the fullest," she says. She also hoped that dropping weight would elevate her self-esteem and overall happiness. "This journey is not just about changing my body, but also about transforming my mindset and embracing a healthier, more positive lifestyle," she says.

She Started with Her Diet


Amanda started by making some simple changes to her diet. "I haven't eliminated anything. I modify and eat everything in moderation," she says.

Her Diet Consists of Whole, Nutrient-Dense Foods

Grilled sea bass fillet with salad and potatoes on stone table

Amanda tries to stay away from processed foods, sticking to wholesome and clean proteins, carbs, and fiber. "My typical diet is balanced and focused on whole, nutrient-dense foods to support my fitness goals and overall health," she says.

Here Is What She Eats in a Day

Bowl of oatmeal porridge with banana and caramel sauce on rustic table, hot and healthy breakfast every day, diet food.

Breakfast usually consists of oatmeal with fresh fruits. "For lunch, I often have a grilled chicken salad loaded with leafy greens and colorful vegetables, which supplies plenty of protein and essential vitamins," she continues. "Dinner might be a piece of baked salmon with rice and steamed broccoli. Snacks throughout the day include yogurt, fresh fruit, and a protein bar, helping to keep my energy levels stable and cravings at bay."



Her go-to workout is indoor cycling, which she does at CycleBar. "It is great for cardio and endurance," she says. The Cleveland Clinic explains that biking, a low-impact aerobic exercise, is great for building muscle, improving strength and flexibility, and improving balance. It can also boost mental health and help other health conditions, including arthritis.


Young healthy athletic woman running on a treadmill near the sunny window in the gym and listening music.

She also enjoys running. According to the Mayo Clinic, running is great for cardiovascular health, muscle building, and weight loss. "For every mile run, the average person will burn approximately 100 calories," they say.

RELATED: 11 Best Foods to Burn Fat Quickly


Group of young afro american and caucasian sporty people practicing yoga lesson lying in Dead Body pose, Savasana exercise, working out, resting after practice, indoor close up, studio

Yoga is another one of Amanda's favorite workouts. "It's great for balance and strengthening," she says. There is a laundry list of reasons to do yoga, explains Harvard Health. "Researchers found that people who practiced yoga for at least 30 minutes once a week for at least four years, gained less weight during middle adulthood," they said. "People who were overweight actually lost weight. Overall, those who practiced yoga had lower body mass indexes (BMIs) compared with those who did not practice yoga. Researchers attributed this to mindfulness. Mindful eating can lead to a more positive relationship with food and eating."

Strength Training

Focused woman performing barbell curls at gym, bathed in natural light. Gym workout routine.

She also does some strength training exercises, including bicep curls and overhead presses. According to the Mayo Clinic, strength and weight training help reduce body fat, preserve and increase lean muscle mass, and burn calories more efficiently. Strength training may also help you:

  • Develop strong bones
  • Manage your weight
  • Enhance your quality of life
  • Manage chronic conditions
  • Sharpen your thinking skills

Meditation and Journaling Helps Her Process Her Emotions

Meditation, hands woman in lotus pose on a floor for peace, zen or mental health wellness at home. Breathing, relax and female person in living room for energy training, exercise or holistic practice

When Amanda struggles with setbacks, she overcomes obstacles "by trying to channel my emotions into healthier outlets like journaling or meditation," she says. "By writing down my thoughts and feelings, I found a better way to process my emotions, which helped reduce my reliance on food for comfort."

She Weighs Herself

Amanda Hines

She also uses a scale to measure progress. "However, I will say use the scale at your own discretion. Sometimes the scale can do more harm than good. I also check to see how my clothes feel as the scale does not tell the entire story," she explains.

She Doesn't Take Supplements or Follow Trends


Two things she doesn't do? "I do not use any supplements," she reveals. "Also, I don't follow trends," she adds. "The thing about tredis s, most of them are fads. I like to follow/implement fitness or nutrition habits that are sustainable."

RELATED: Burn Belly Fat While You Sleep with This Healthy Drink

Positive Self-Talk

woman sitting down, his face unsettled. At the computer desk she has headaches and stress. Cause of hard work and insufficient rest.

A tool that has been helpful for her when she is down? "I immediately start to give myself compassion and reinforce positive self-talk. I try not to indulge or dwell in those moments when I feel bad about my body because that can lead to self-sabotaging habits."

Her Biggest Achievement? Becoming Stronger

Amanda Hines

"My biggest achievement regarding my body has been becoming and feeling stronger, a goal I reached through weight training," she says. "Achieving similar results would require consistency in strength training as it gradually builds muscle and enhances overall physical strength."

She Learned That Spot Treatment Is a Myth

people biking in spinning class at modern gym, exercising on stationary bike. group of caucasian people athletes training on exercise bike

"A fitness myth that once believed is that you can spot-reduce fat," she says. "However, I learned that fat loss occurs uniformly across the body and is influenced by overall diet and exercise habits. A combination of regular cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and a healthy diet is necessary to reduce overall body fat."

And, There Are "No Tricks"

Full length of excited Indian woman sitting on scales at home, overjoyed with success of her slimming diet, side view. Emotional Asian lady achieving her weight loss goal, making YES gesture

Another hard truth? "There are no tricks!" she says. "There are moments where you won't feel motivated and that's where you need to have discipline. I would say keep trusting and believing in yourself that you can stick to your weight loss journey."

Take Your Journey "Day by Day"

earth day. woman traveler walking among grass in meadow and holding in hand gathering wildflowers in mountains in sunlight, back view, space for text

Amanda has some advice for someone just starting their fitness journey. "Take your journey day by day and believe in yourself. Once you believe that you can do it, the rest is history," she says.

RELATED: Lose 30 Pounds in 60 Days with These 5 Simple Plyometric Moves

And, Work for It!

Amanda Hines

Her final words of wisdom? "It's not how bad you want it, it's how bad you work for it," Amanda says. And if you enjoyed this article, take advantage of these 15 Quick Ways to Lose Body Fat Percentage in a Week.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more