I eclipsed off 140 pounds in 2017. You can too!

I have the very best before/after eclipse photo in the entire Milky Way galaxy and maybe even in the whole universe….

The short story is deceptively simple:

I traveled to Wyoming to view the 2017 total solar eclipse. Under that eclipsed sun, I set my intention to return home and lose over 100 pounds so that I could get out and hike with my sons.

Not only did I actually lose 140 pounds altogether, my story went viral and a whole lot of other people lost pounds too.

That’s the extreme short version.

Here are a few more details:

The Before and After Photo

Very few full-length photos exist of me in this time. We snapped this one not because I thought I would actually have an “after” photo, but because my son was into geology and was particularly captivated by the 45th parallel sign. He needed another person, a good sport, who would stand with a hand outstretched, touching hands on the “spot” of the 45th parallel line.

I do try to be a good sport and so I did my duty.

Who knew what impact that photo would have.

Yellowstone Before

We so happened to recreate the photo a year later on a cross-country road trip.

Yellowstone After

The photo set went viral in my 2018 Facebook video, “A Postcard from Yellowstone,” viewed by over 5 million people.

People found my story and changed their lives too.

We called our community “Eat Like a Bear” (which is its own story).

Yes, this is Quite a Before/After Eclipse Photo!

To cut through a whole lot of the story, here’s a cheat sheet:

  • I lost 140 pounds (!?!?!!)
  • A community formed around my story (!!?!) (Read the origin story here.)
  • I had not planned to lead a weight loss community **ever** and wondered what my message should be. I was deep in thought on that question during a cross-country road trip in August 2018, when we re-created that 2017 Yellowstone photo. The “after” photo had me completely emotional. On the drive home I stopped at a Utah thrift store to collect my head and, instead, I ran into a woman who looked just like I did the year before. I returned home and made the video “A Postcard from Yellowstone,” which would become the most impactful video in weight loss in social media. (Read the Postcard from Yellowstone story here.)
  • The community grew through friends and family referrals, in a slow viral way. (Read about the virality here.)
  • We began to count our “Century Bears” — people who lost at least 100 pounds since finding Eat Like a Bear. By May 2021, we hit the 100 Century Bear mark and surprised our 100th, Sondra, on her doorsteps north of Orlando. (Read about that here.)
  • We’ve since been featured on 9 magazine covers and 7 news segments. (!?!!)
  • Meta itself has recognized the impact of the video “A Postcard from Yellowstone.” (!!?!)

Here’s Meta’s statement about us:

Meta's statement highlighting Amanda Rose and Eat Like a Bear

An Eclipse Can Impact You Deeply

Viewing an eclipse in totality is a complete physical experience, nearly religious in many ways, and it will touch you deeply if you’re paying attention.

On my mind as I viewed the 2017 eclipse was my own current struggle with my weight and with simply getting around.

I had lost 20 pounds from my high weight, but I was still limping around on an injured knee at 260 pounds. My sons were active and eager to get out. I was eager too. That was my “why” and it formed the basis of my Big Goal of hiking.

Though viewing an eclipse requires little physical ability, I was reminded of my limits and my goal in the minutes leading up to totality.

The Wyoming Crickets of the 2017 Eclipse

In the minutes before totality in the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse, as the earth was going dark, I stood with my family on a grassy field in Douglas, Wyoming. My 15-year-old son announced that he would leave the group quickly to go out into a larger open field.

He wanted to see what was happening in that field.

He hurried off.

My spirit of adventure would normally have me running out into that field with my son, but I was still limping in August 2017 and I was tired.

As my teenage son reported back, that Wyoming field was filled with crickets jumping and chirping. The crickets quieted to silence in the two minutes that the moon completely covered the sun.

I did not see the crickets but I cherished the story and I was grateful that I was able to spend two minutes standing under that moon and sun, holding the hands of my children as we watched the sun’s corona dance around the moon.

Our entire group was silent.

Tears streamed down my cheeks in those moments, a connection with nature too incredible to communicate.

Solar eclipse
Solar eclipse

New Beginnings

They say that an eclipse is a time of new beginnings and an opportunity to set new goals and intentions.

For two minutes in Wyoming, my whole heart was determined never to miss the moments of running out into those fields with my children and those chirping crickets.

I was determined to return home and get a whole lot of weight off my injured and over-burdened knees.

I succeeded in a fairly big way.

Before Returning Home: The 2024 Eclipse Concept

The entire eclipse experience was so impactful for us there in Wyoming that we discussed what we would do in 2024 for the next total solar eclipse.

On April 8, 2024 a total eclipse would be observable across a large path in America’s heartland, from south Texas up into Maine. Our Wyoming group had ideas about where to go and what to do, but inspired by my son’s experience with the crickets, I offered this idea:

Let’s take the next six years to identify the best natural place on the planet to view the eclipse, one that offers a diversity of geographic features. Let’s invite all of the cool people we know — all of our friends and family.

We will form a larger group but then break off into distinct little locations that may offer unique experiences. A few people in our group might want to view the eclipse near a creek, some in a meadow, others with cattle or horses.

We will break off to view the eclipse and then gather back together afterwards to share our unique viewing stories.”

At that time, I imagined that we would be inviting a few people to camp with us on BLM land somewhere south of Missouri.

As it would turn out, we will be meeting in the Ozarks of Arkansas with family and friends, some of those key friends who have found me via this photo set and the Eat Like a Bear community.

Setting Your Intention is a Powerful Thing

I stood under that eclipsed sun in 2017 and set my intention to return home and change my life.

I would get out and hike with my family.

I would never miss the crickets again.

Seven years later, I am more physically capable these days than I have been in many years.

That is amazing!

I set my sights well into the future, into my life one year hence: out hiking, taking in the vivid colors and textures of the forest, taking in the aroma of pine and cedar, feeling the sweat and dirt on my brow.

I stayed focused on that goal and continued to measure my own progress in weight loss by this question: “If I stay focused and lose more weight, could I hike better?” That question and focus landed me at my lowest weight as an adult.

Your Life in One Year

As you read this, I challenge you with this question: What will you be doing one year from now, living your most vibrant life?

That is your own Big Goal and I want you to reflect on it right now.

I want you to picture what you will be doing in 2025.

I want everyone in the Eat Like a Bear community to focus on April 2025 and what you will be doing in your new life.

That is your assignment.

Make your goal big and bold and life-changing.

Picture it right now.

You’re setting that goal today, whenever it is that you find this story, and then you’re going to start living in that goal right now and start making it happen.

All of those little daily decisions that are so difficult and that have also landed you at a high weight? Those decisions are much easier when you keep your mind focused on your Big Goal.

If your goal is to hike and you can only limp, your assignment is to limp around a trailhead and picture your life in one year.

Take in all of the amazing sights, sounds, and aromas that nature has to offer.

Take in the point that nature welcomes you wherever you are and however you come.

Because…. on April 8, 2024, the entire Eat Like a Bear community, and maybe even the whole world around us, will make a giant, impactful goal.

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