Amanda Rose in a field of romaine with a Ridiculously Big Salad

When lettuce goes viral and adult comedy follows. You can’t make this stuff up!

I got a call from a comedy producer to audition for a show because, apparently, I’ve got a hilarious story and didn’t even know it….


I made lettuce go viral here at Eat Like a Bear!

She thought that was hysterical.

I do get a lot of reactions about what we’ve done here, but it just never occurred to me that it could land in the comedy category.

As it was, she got even more than she imagined as I told her about all of the outrageous things that have happened here at Eat Like a Bear.

(Read to the very end to see what ELSE had the producer shaking her head.)

Let’s review how we got here….

Amanda Rose holding 8 magazines and sitting with Ridiculously Big Salads and Skillets

I ate lettuce and got skinny.

You know, we’ve heard it our whole lives – that we’re supposed to be eating the lettuce.

Yet I spent nearly five decades pretty darned chunky. My high weight in 2017 at 48 years old was 280 pounds.

I’d eaten plenty of lettuce in those 48 years, but I guess I just hadn’t put it all together in the way I needed.

In the fall of 2017, I was desperate to lose that pile of weight and decided to limit my eating to one meal a day. Eating just one meal a day freaked me out a bit, so as I thought about what the one meal would be, I thought:

Heck, if I am just eating once a day, let’s make it giant!”
Really, why do something small when you can go big?

I went big in the fall of 2017 and got small. 😉

What I also knew was that if I went big and just ate a giant mountain of cheese, for instance, that I’d gain weight.

(I can eat about 9 million calories in cheese.)

I knew if I was eating something giant that I would need to be strategic in my excesses.

Lettuce is an obvious choice for a whole bunch of food bulk for almost no calories.

So I filled a giant mixing bowl with lettuce.

I added homemade dressings, crafted to have enough fat to make them taste good and to make the meal satiating.

I added protein.

I garnished the dish with some other calorie-minded choices.

Over months of implementing with a focus and precision that probably deserves an award of its own, I also made some cooked variations of basically the same meal, just replacing the lettuce with foods such as broccoli and cooking it all up in a skillet instead of eating it raw out of a giant trough-like bowl.

By spring 2018 I was basically unrecognizable.

In person, people often didn’t realize it was me.

On social media, friends knew it was me because of my profile. They started asking questions. I started sharing what I was eating.

You might know that trend on YouTube of “mukbang,” where people show what they are eating and you just watch them eat. In YouTube culture, the meals tend to be completely outrageous and have been associated with binging and weight gain.

My meals were outrageous as well but, turning mukbang culture on its head, I was losing weight with my meals.

There I was, living in a universe where I got to be my completely outrageous self AND get skinny.



Ha ha, okay, so I was doing these Facebook live videos eating and talking about what I was doing.

While these days – five years later – when speaking with a comedy producer, I can be showboaty about all of it, the fact is that during the spring of 2018, I had to push myself into sharing my story.

I couldn’t bear to look at the pictures.

I couldn’t bear to show the pictures.

I was getting more and more interest. I paced around for some weeks, working up the courage for the big photo reveal. I might have forgotten about all of it had the memories not been preserved by Facebook.

Amanda's Facebook posts from May 2018 showing fear of posting photos

I did the big reveal of the before photos in a May 2018 Facebook video I flippantly titled “Eat Like a Bear.”

In my Facebook mukbangs, the biggest concern about my eating was that with just one meal a day, I was starving myself.

How on earth could I be starving while eating so outrageously?

I pointed out that my 23 hours of “not eating” didn’t even hold a record in the world of mammals. Consider the bear who goes into hibernation for months, living off its body fat. For those 23 hours each day, I simply “Eat Like a Bear.”

The video got about 100,000 views but, more interestingly, people started following me and losing weight.

I took two months off of making those videos and went hiking all over the Pacific Northwest.

A collection of Instagram posts from Amanda's "Century Hike"

I came back from the hiking trips in early July 2018 and filmed a random live video. Two people showed up who had each lost over 30 pounds.

I was gobsmacked.

I started a little Facebook group so we could stay in touch a little easier.

We called the group “Eat Like a Bear!” back in July 2018 with about 500 people. It’s now called “Eat Like a Bear! Stories,” and has over 100,000 members.

And then two things happened.

Two things would happen in the next six months that would change the trajectory for our path here at Eat Like a Bear!:

The 2018 Facebook video “A Postcard from Yellowstone”

Pondering my message to this new little unexpected community, I was on a cross-country road trip and recreated a family vacation photo from Yellowstone National Park from one year before.

The day after the “after” photo, I would run into a stranger in a Utah thrift store who looked just like I did the year before. I wanted to run up and hug her and exclaim and cry “Look how much your life can change in one year!!!”

That would have been completely socially unacceptable…

I watched her at she sat on the floor, waiting for her daughter to try on clothes. She was scrolling through a feed on her phone. I wondered what I would say if I could pop into that feed, between cat videos on Facebook.

I drove home and made the video “A Postcard from Yellowstone,” a video with over 5 million views and, more importantly, thousands of weight loss success cases.

Our group began to grow, and people were joining us with real fire to get started, fire from that Yellowstone video.

And that giant bowl of lettuce

When I started the Eat Like a Bear! community, I had no intention of ever teaching people exactly what I was eating.

Really: Who cares if we eat the same thing?

I sure don’t!

I taught people to reduce their carbs and to eat in a tighter window in the day. Presumably, as you would cut more carbs and reduce the number of hours you were eating, you’d lose weight.

People surely did.

It’s a pretty simple and effective way to think about all of this.

But then community members starting asking me specifically what I was eating. I would respond with the bit about “reduce your carbs, reduce your eating window!”

And then a community member named Nancy was very direct with me: “No, Amanda, you don’t understand. I want to know EXACTLY what you are eating.”

I started teaching about my giant bowl filled with greens and other foods.

Amanda Rose holding a Ridiculously Big Salad for the Three-Day Challenge

Salads became popular in the group. People started asking for a salad book. I scoffed because making a salad is really very, very easy. Surely no one needed a recipe.

But I started to pay attention to the salad photos our community members were posting. I saw some salads that I thought did look like mine and many that did not. I saw photos of salads that I suspected would make me fat.

I took to my kitchen to recreate my meals from all those months in the fall of 2017 and winter of 2018. As I tossed in ingredients, trying to recapture the energy and focus of all of those months, I measured out what I was tossing into those giant salad bowls, and I was nearly knocked out of my kitchen by a revelation:

All of these giant salads (and the cooked skillet versions) are highly formulaic.

Yes, I can throw them together these days easily without thinking, but a whole lot of thought, both conscious and unconscious, went into creating this framework of eating back in 2017.

I had developed a framework but didn’t even really appreciate it at the time. Who cared anyway? I was just trying to lose some weight. I certainly never intended to teach any of it to anyone else.

From those months in the kitchen, I published a humble little $10 digital book in June 2019 and called it “The Ridiculously Big Salad.”

Our community’s success rate improved noticeably.

The lettuce caught fire!

It made the regional news here:

It nearly broke the post office:

It made it to the wintertime lettuce capital of the world.

Okay, so Eat Like a Bear! is a legit crazy story about viral lettuce….


The producer asked for other little nuggets about my life and about Eat Like a Bear.

It’s never been more clear to me that we are missing our opportunity around here (maybe especially among the late night set) …

What other entertaining nuggets have we got???

I live in a brothel

Okay, so to be super-clear, the brothel is no longer open for business, but it was thriving here in my very house 100 years ago. It is a point that my parents asked us to keep secret. It remained a secret for 30 years until….. (bahahaha! I will make a story video about this.)

I am a “bear,” not a cougar...

Here at Eat Like a Bear!, we obviously call ourselves “bears,” and I certainly didn’t expect that I would need to clarify this fine point. However, when I was on the cover of Woman’s World in August of 2020, a 25-year-old man asked for my phone number. (I had other inquiries that were perhaps more age-appropriate, though notably inappropriate in other ways, all stories for another time….)

In any case, I’m a bear not a cougar. 😉

(That said, we’ve had some cougar sightings in the Eat Like a Bear! community. Just sayin’ … You ladies need to behave a little better.)

What if you got “too sexy” with Eat Like a Bear???

It has happened.

Here’s our evidence and advice from the community:

How many magazines or lettuce leaves do you need?

That’s the question when you’re photographing a semi-nude in a hammock, which Anna Sul did of herself when that Woman’s World cover came out. I do believe that from the right angle, I could do it in one magazine. Anna’s photo required two.

The “lettuce leaf” question has not been tested, to my knowledge, but it is an oft-requested photo. (Note the “age appropriate, notably inappropriate” comment above, though I will admit I am curious….)

Yes, there have been what I call “cowboy misunderstandings”

The producer was fascinated by the point that I live in cowboy country in California, with real cattle drives and real cowboys wearing actual spurs that get used in their daily work.

And yes, you may “go viral” for unexpected things among this particular social group when you lose 140 pounds and it ain’t lettuce….

(In stories for another day when I work up the courage…)

I Zoomed with 45 Facebook employees from an Ozark jailhouse

I asked for bail money.

They laughed and apparently did not take me seriously.

It was a real jail!

Here’s a reenactment photo.

And there was that time we ate bologna naked…

I’ll just leave that YouTube video right here…


Come for the viral lettuce, stay for the adult comedy…

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