Amy Edens shares how she lost 65 pounds in a year after setting a New Year's resolution in 2019.

By Faith Brar
January 07, 2020

Every January, the internet explodes with tips on how to make healthy New Year's resolutions. Come February, though, most people fall off the wagon and abandon their resolutions.

But New Yorker Amy Edens was determined to stick to her goals. On January 1, 2019, she decided it was time to change her life for good. Now, she's sharing "proof you can change your life in a year," she wrote in a recent transformation post on Instagram.

"I lost 65 pounds and went from a size 18 to a size 8 [sic]," wrote Edens. "[I] went from not working out to riding front row at SoulCycle and am this close to holding myself in a wall walk handstand for one minute." (Related: Your Guide to Resolution Goal-Setting)

Edens' transformation is no doubt impressive, but it took a lot of hard work and determination for her to get to where she is today, she tells Shape. "For most of my life, I've struggled with body image issues, something many people can relate to," she shares. "Those insecurities directly impacted my confidence, and as a result, I turned to food for comfort."

Though food provided her with a sense of comfort, it also caused her to gain weight, she says. "I was stuck in a negative cycle that I couldn't break until I hit rock bottom," she explains. "The saying is cliché but so true: Change is hard. I was terrified of feeling more uncomfortable than I already was." (Related: Exactly What to Do When You Overeat, According to Nutritionists)

But on January 1, 2019, Edens woke up with a new attitude, she shares. "I was sick and tired of being sick and tired," she tells Shape. "For the first time in my life, I decided to put myself first."

Despite her motivation, though, Edens admits she was scared to make a change. "This wasn't the first time I had tried to lose weight," she shares. "Every time before this, I had tried and failed."

In the past, Edens says she'd spent a lot of time (and money) on books, workshops, and classes that focused on personal development, diet, weight, body image—the list goes on. Put simply, nothing worked for her, explains Edens.

So, this time, she tried something new to help hold herself accountable, explains Edens. "I looked in the mirror, snapped my 'before' photo, and promised myself this time would be different," she says. (Did you know that before-and-after photos are the #1 thing that inspires people to lose weight?)

Amy Edens

To achieve her goals, Edens knew she had to find a place where she felt comfortable beginning her journey. "I found that in SoulCycle," she says. "It became my sanctuary, a safe place for me to be me, and show up where I was physically and emotionally accepted."

Edens remembers her first class like it was yesterday, she shares. "I was on Bike 56, which sits in the back corner of my studio between the wall and a pillar," she explains. "I had my first 'Soul Cry'. It was the first time I had experienced that mind-body connection everyone talks about and I was hooked." (Related: Crying In Front of Strangers at a SoulCycle Retreat Gave Me the Freedom to Finally Let My Guard Down)

For the first five months of her weight-loss journey, Edens went to SoulCycle three to five times per week, she explains. "I truly felt like an athlete again," she says. "As I became stronger, I knew I wanted to push myself to the next level and incorporate strength training into my workout routine.

Once she felt ready to push herself further, Edens began working with NYC-based personal trainer, Kenny Santucci. "I hadn't strength-trained in years, so I was very much a beginner," she shares. "I wanted support to ensure I was pushed to my limit while learning to work out correctly and safely." (Related: The Perfect Strength Training Workout for Beginners)

Amy Edens

As her confidence grew, Edens soon started taking group HIIT classes as well. "Although challenging, HIIT training has been the best addition to my workout routine, as I can see my strength improve session by session," she says. (Related: 8 Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training AKA HIIT)

Today, Edens' main goal with fitness is to continue building strength through her work with Santucci and her local HIIT classes, she shares. "I've found I really like variety, so on top of training, I spin and also check out new fitness classes," she adds. (Related: Here's What a Perfectly Balanced Week of Workouts Looks Like)

She's even hit some milestones she once thought were impossible. "When I first started training, I could only hold a plank for 15 seconds," says Edens. "After a few months, that 15 seconds turned into 45 seconds. Today, I can hold a plank for over a minute and a half."

Edens is also working on doing handstands, she shares. "I never thought I'd be able to do one," she says. "Now I can hold a wall walk handstand for almost a minute." (Inspired? Here are six exercises that teach you how to do a handstand.)

When it comes to her diet, Edens has found that a Paleo diet works best for her, she tells Shape. ICYDK, Paleo typically nixes grains (both refined and whole), legumes, packaged snacks, dairy, and sugar in favor of lean meats, fish, eggs, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and oils instead (basically, foods that, in the past, could be obtained by hunting and gathering).

"My body responds well to [Paleo]," shares Edens, adding that she's only strict about following the diet about 80 percent of the time. "When I want to indulge, I give myself the permission to do so," she says. (Here's why Paleo is the most popular diet choice among Americans.)

Amy Edens

Throughout her journey, Edens' biggest struggle has been remembering to put herself first, she says. "It's so easy to get caught up in work or other people's priorities," she explains. "Being from a small town in Michigan, getting caught up in the 'hustle and bustle' of city life was something I didn’t experience until moving to New York City. I had to learn to say no to things that weren't aligned with my goals, which wasn't always easy or fun. It's a part of learning to love yourself, which is key to all of this."

While Edens' weight loss has been an important part of her journey, she says the biggest change has been her mindset about her body. "Your relationship with your body is the most important relationship you have in life," she explains. "I came to realize that the hard way. For years I had been ignoring my body because frankly, I hated it."

But over the past year, developing healthier habits has helped Edens learn that there's so much happiness to be found in making yourself a priority, she shares. "This past year, I've learned that finding a 'healthy lifestyle' is actually a journey, not a destination," she adds. "I’m so proud of what I've achieved, and even more excited for what's to come." (Related: Can You Love Your Body and Still Want to Change It?)

Her plan for the future? "My long-term goal is to continue this journey of strengthening my mind and my body," says Edens. "By sharing my story, I want to inspire and show people that change is possible. You really can change your life in a year."

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