My name is Amanda McArthur & I am 39 years old. I am a certified holistic nutritionist, a wife, a mom to my beautiful boy, the owner/operator of a personal training, natural health & fitness business, and a 100% natural athlete,…..and I have been there!
I understand the struggle you go through before you decide to change your life. The pro/con lists, the feeling that you will never reach your goals no matter how hard you work towards them and the feeling that the “fit image” of yourself seems unattainable. So why start….?

I used to be a person that  let the people around me influence my choices to the point where I allowed myself to put my health in danger. I was so narrowly focused on fitting into a specific image that I lost track of myself and my health. I suffered from a serious eating disorder; Bulimia nervosa through most of my early teens and it followed me into my early 20s, until seeing a counselor was strongly suggested by those  closest to me. The counselors advice has stuck: “stop comparing & competing with everyone around you…focus inwards, highlight YOUR aspects of physical beauty and embrace WHOLE health” . Even though I took the advice to heart it still took a few years before I felt that I truly was beginning to understand what she said. In those few years I had put on a very large sum of weight…tipping the scales to 220lbs by my mid twenties.

Heart problems and obesity are big players in my family health history so I knew it was important to be active and stay healthy. I hiked almost every morning (rain or shine) to the top of our local mountain and back down 5-6 days a week. I also attended boot camps 3-5 times a week on top of my hikes & I then joined an indoor/outdoor ladies field hockey team with some long time friends. My heart felt healthy, & my cardiovascular capacity improved but my body still hovered complacently at 220lbs. Frustration does not even begin to describe how I felt. It was infuriating that I was putting in all this physical effort, and eating a severely restricted low-calorie diet but my size and body shape were not changing. Nothing about my appearance reflected my physical strength I felt and the endurance gains I had made.

I was also getting sick with massive abdominal pains and nothing was getting diagnosed…there seemed to be no answers for the lack of weight loss or the physical health complications. After a year and a half of fit camp classes I approached the instructor and asked “What am I doing wrong? and how can I change this?” I started journaling my food and doing one on one sessions with her….this helped a little as it highlighted my eating patterns and the fact that I actually wasn’t eating enough!!!!

The next turning point was a recommendation to try Ideal Protein- this is a nutritional diet program of made of packaged foods/meals intermingled with my own foods and weekly weigh ins. It makes you accountable and makes you eat. As soon as I started eating 6 protein based meals per day with a restricted amount of healthy fats and veggies, the weight began to drop. I committed to one year of strict food plan adherence and diligent physical exercise & dropped down to my goal of 140lbs…with a bit of extra skin. Happy? Yes. Satisfied? No. This program was not a long term solution for me, as I couldn’t afford it and I wasn’t participating in real life.

I finally had an answer for my illness and I had been diagnosed with Crohns disease.
I wanted to be stronger than an illness and to avoid using drug therapy to control the pain if it was possible, so what I ate became extremely important. It was time to show myself how strong I was, and I wanted my daily physical efforts to be visible on the outside of my body….I wanted to look as strong, toned, healthy and vibrant as I felt!

Enter into my life a new trainer, and the world of figure competing as a natural athlete. In 6 years I had entered 5 competitions with BC ABBA, IDFA & NPAA. Getting there included hundreds of hours of training, & an uphill, steep, daily nutritional learning curve. There were some sick days where my illness & stress got the better of me…but I persevered and became an elite Pro athlete in both the IDFA & NPAA associations as a figure competitor.

Now it was time for my professional life to switch gears- Crohns disease symptoms are amplified by stress and poor nutritional choices. I decided to start my own personal training business, SWEET SWEAT Athletica, because learning about food, exercise and their effects on your health status had become my passion-it still is today! I am always learning new things to help me help my clients. I also wanted to make sure that other people out there that are feeling this way understand that their life can change and that I am here to help. I want young girls & boys to have positive self images and embrace their strengths both physical and emotional so that they can grow into well rounded, healthy adults. I want all people to understand what it means to eat clean, nutritious food and utilize that food as your daily fuel source to help you reach your health & fitness goals. I want anyone at any age to feel great in their body from the inside-out!

Yes my former, larger self is still in my head & some days she is more present than others, but she is a reminder of the many reasons to stay true to my path. To eat clean, to continue to learn what food can do for your body in terms of both healing & fueling you for any training goals, to be consistent in order to obtain results and to stay feeling strong and healthy, to train the way I love to-at the gym, out in nature & at home and not only to not give up on myself but also to be kind to myself- to be real.

“Consistency is the key to success”…. You have to be willing to work on your health, fitness & nutrition a little bit every day. As a personal trainer, holistic nutritionist, an athlete and a mom, I know your body takes time to transform, and it’s hard to solidify new habits in place of old ones. You need support and someone in your corner to help you celebrate your successes, to help reset you on your path when you stumble and to push you further than you might push yourself, to encourage stepping outside of comfort zones. I hope to be that person for my clients, reaffirming that health, wellness, and self investment are worth it. So take a deep breath, look inwards and take that first step…..