We get comments all the time: “Why on earth is all this called ‘Eat Like a Bear!‘?”
“I look like a bear…”
Or the notorious TikTok comment: “You eat like an f’n Great Dane!“
From the unusual name and the massive success in 100+ pound weight loss cases, Eat Like a Bear’s origins spring from a series of unlikely events.
Timeline: The Origin of Eat Like a Bear!
March 2018. Amanda Rose bounds into her doctor’s office, 100+ pounds down, and announces that all of his weight loss patients should try this. (She would go on to lose 140 pounds.)
“It’s EASY!!!” she says.
The doctor says “It’s too hard. I don’t have ANY patients who would do this.”
April 2018. Amanda takes to Facebook live to learn why people think something so simple is so hard.
Amanda learns the biggest objection to her weight loss: She eats only once a day. People think they are going to starve.
(Otherwise, Amanda is working hard on foraging and making foraging-related video content. Foraging is hunting for edible foods in the wild.)
May 2018. Amanda goes big and public, displaying her “before” image, and making the claim that she “Eats like a bear,” highlighting the point that “not eating” for only 23 hours a day is hardly a record in the world of mammals.
Bears purposefully fatten up so that they can survive months without eating.
Living off our body fat for 23 hours is not even noteworthy in the bear world.
May 2018-June 2018. Amanda takes off on her “Century Hike” — hiking 100 discontinuous miles across the Pacific Northwest and the Sierra Nevada of California.
She would take nearly two months off from live videos, but people who viewed the Eat Like a Bear video also followed her hiking story.
June 2018. Amanda goes to the major video-making conference VidCon and meets a producer from a national network interested in following up about a foraging show. (They would never follow up because of what would happen next…)
July 6, 2018. Friday. 10 am. While preparing her daily meal, Amanda notices that the satellite internet connection from her home in the Giant Sequoia National Monument has enough speed for a live video, for the first time ever.
She sits down to eat and pops on Facebook live for the first time in nearly two months.
Two ladies announce that they’ve each lost about 40 pounds and, notably, have more hope than they’ve had in years.
July 6, 2018. Friday. 5 pm. Amanda encounters four strangers on the road and invites them home to watch the sunset.
July 8, 2018. Amanda spends the day with the four people from Friday night.
By chance, they are from the professional world of social media video. They are on vacation shooting footage for Instagram. (An extremely unlikely meet-up in a very remote part of California’s Giant Sequoia National Monument.)
Amanda explains a dilemma that is brewing: She’s building a foraging empire, but there is growing demand for her leadership in weight loss.
Amanda: “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life!“
“You HAVE to do this!“
July 9, 2018. Amanda forms a group in Facebook. She calls it “Eat Like a Bear!” after the May video of the same name.
Shelley Foudray joins and would become the community’s first official “Century Bear” (losing 100+ pounds).
Amanda gives the group a tagline: No surgery, no drugs, no branded products. Required: Your own bootstraps!
(The tagline would stick and become a key psychological tenet of the Eat Like a Bear! movement.)
July 23, 2018. Amanda and sons fly to Philadelphia to buy her brother-in-laws Ford-family Explorer and drive it back to California.
July 29, 2018. Amanda and sons take the scenic route, driving through upstate New York and onto northern Michigan to spend a week with their Ford family.
Amanda jumps in a kayak on Lake Michigan, live to the Facebook group, announcing “a year ago I couldn’t fit into a kayak!”
August 4, 2018. Amanda and sons drive through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and into the Dakotas, where the boys get a huge education in life as they co-mingle with the community of the Sturgis Bike Rally.
Amanda reflects on the new Eat Like a Bear! community and what her message should be.
August 10, 2018. Amanda and sons drive through Wyoming and recreate a family vacation photo from one year before the 45th parallel sign at Yellowstone National Park. Amanda is emotional and deeply reflective of the photo, and how much her life changed in one short year.
August 11, 2018. Headed through Idaho and Utah home to California, Amanda is still emotional from the photo the day before and stops at a thrift store where she runs into a woman who looks just like her in August of 2017 — the “before” picture. As her daughter tries on clothes, the woman is sitting on the floor scrolling through the feed on her smart phone.
Appreciating that she cannot simply tell a stranger about those photos, Amanda wonders: “What would I say to her if I could pop right into her feed?”
September 6, 2018. Amanda publishes the video A Postcard from Yellowstone, a message to one person in a thrift store in Utah, now with 5 million views across social media. (Read more about A Postcard from Yellowstone here, CLICK!)
A year later with already seven 100+ pound cases behind the video, Amanda would be told that the Yellowstone video was key to the high success rate of the community.
Two years later the community would begin to count 100+ pound cases on the website.
Two-and-a-half years later the community would hit 100 100+ pound weight loss cases (known in the Eat Like a Bear community as “Century Bears”).
Unplanned. Unexpected. Viral.
The Eat Like a Bear! community was born on Facebook, prodded by a chance encounter with millennial Instagrammers wandering in a forest, like some sort of 2018 cultural time capsule.
Eat Like a Bear! has been fueled by viral success cases emerging from the early adopters in the community, who followed Amanda’s food discussions and her hiking adventures on social media. They began to walk, hike, and ride as well. Friends followed them.
By May 2021, Eat Like a Bear community leaders showed up at the doorstep of the community’s “100th Century Bear” — the 100th person to lose 100+ pounds since finding Eat Like a Bear!
What is next for the community?
More hiking 😉
P.S. We are proud to report that in November 2022, Meta highlighted Amanda Rose and Eat Like a Bear, its viral origins with the Facebook video “A Postcard from Yellowstone” and its strategic use of the Facebook Group structure. Here’s Meta’s statement: