A woman has revealed that eating more calories and stopping skipping meals has helped her to lose a whopping 110 pounds.
Meghan Lenss, 27, from Moreno Valley, California, revealed in an article for Women’s Health that she grew up feeling self-conscious of her body. In high school, she began to restrict her food intake, as she thought this was the only way she could shed weight.
When she went to college and adapted different eating and drinking habits, her battle with her weight continued. ‘I definitely gained the freshman 15, and then some,’ Meghan, who weighed 280 pounds by the time she graduated college, said.
Wow! Meghan Lenss, seen before (L) and after (R) her weight loss, from Moreno Valley, California, said she was always self-conscious of her body growing up
Changes: The 27-year-old, pictured before (L) and after (R) losing weight, developed unhealthy eating and drinking habits in college, and by the time she graduated was 280 pounds
Transformation: Seen before (L) and after (R), she weighed over 300 pounds at her heaviest and ate fast-food for almost every meal
Meghan said she tried everything from weight loss shakes, working out, and simply reducing her food intake in order to shed weight. However, she always eventually ‘gave up’.
Meghan, who at her heaviest was over 300 pounds, said her turning point was at the end of 2016 as she began thinking about New Year’s resolutions.
‘I think that my friends and loved ones knew that I was overweight and unhappy, but I didn’t speak about how uncomfortable I was, my insecurities, or the fact that I wanted to change my body,’ she said.
Turning point: Pictured more recently, Meghan said her turning point was around the end of 2016 when she began thinking about New Year’s resolutions
‘I knew that I wanted to use the new year to help motivate me and create lasting change, but I still needed another push,’ she added.
The 27-year-old said at the time her boyfriend Chris was told that he was pre-diabetic and needed to lose weight, or else he would need to begin taking insulin.
Therefore, the couple set out on a weight-loss journey together.
Meghan revealed she used to eat fast food for almost every single meal, as she said she would often order ‘a combo, a side, a dessert and a soda.’
However, in order to lose weight, she began eating at home instead. If she had to dine out, she would choose a light option.
‘Looking back, the food choices that I was making still weren’t the best, but really anything was better than what I had been eating before,’ she said.
As well at eating more meals at home, she began preparing food and finding lower-calorie options of certain foods that she loved.
She said: ‘For instance, instead of ordering my usual Starbucks frappuccinos all the time, I swapped them for iced coffee with sugar-free sweeteners, and without milk or cream.
‘My favorite snack was (and still is) Hot Cheetos. But I began eating popcorn with cayenne pepper as a substitution. As time went on, I got into counting calories and macros,’ she added.
Partners: Seen before (L) and after (R), at the time her boyfriend Chris was told that he was pre-diabetic and needed to lose weight, so the couple set out to become healthier together
Changes: Meghan, pictured before (L) and after (R) began eating more meals at home, as well as preparing food and finding lower-calorie options of certain foods that she loved
Exercise: She began exercising by doing one hour of cardio, which included 30 minutes on the elliptical, and 30 minute on a stationary bike, every evening
Goal: Meghan said she reached her goal weight in 2018 however, she wasn’t happy with how she achieved it, as she was obsessed with counting calories and doing excessive cardio
Unhealthy: Seen before (L) and after (R), she said: ‘I remember standing in my kitchen, on the verge of tears because I was hungry, but if I ate dinner, I would go over my daily calorie count’
She began exercising by doing one hour of cardio, which included 30 minutes on the elliptical, and 30 minute on a stationary bike, every evening.
Meghan joined a gym in March 2017 and continued to focus only on cardio. In 2018, she had reached her goal weight, however, she said she ‘didn’t totally love’ how she got to the weight.
‘I felt like I was doing too much cardio and not eating enough,’ she explained.
She said: ‘At one point, I remember standing in my kitchen, on the verge of tears because I was hungry, but if I ate dinner, I would go over my daily calorie count.
So many people, including myself, have gotten caught up in believing you have to eat tiny calorie amounts and work out nonstop to lose weight.
‘I told my boyfriend that seeing how upset and anxious I was about calories and food scared me because I didn’t want to go back to my unhealthy ways of skipping meals.
‘It was that night that I decided to stop counting calories. It was not making a positive impact on my mentality towards weight loss,’ she added.
Discussing the unhealthy routine she developed, Meghan said: ‘Weight-loss culture is seriously so demented.
‘So many people, including myself, have gotten caught up in believing you have to eat tiny calorie amounts and work out nonstop to lose weight. I was doing cardio for over an hour every day.’
She realized her efforts to lose weight were unhealthy when she was doing a Q&A on her Instagram stories one day, and someone asked her about her cardio routine.
After revealing her workout regime, Meghan said: ‘One of my Instagram friends responded saying, “You do that much cardio every day!?” It really made me stop and rethink my long-term approach.’
Priorities: She realized she was doing ‘too much cardio and not eating enough’, so she changed her long-term approach to incorporate strength training and circuit workouts
Positive mindset: She said she stopped being so hard on herself in general, and began eating more food than she had previously been eating
Happy: ‘Most days, I’m still not sure what a “healthy weight” necessarily looks like for me, but I know that having a healthy mindset is just as important,’ Meghan, pictured recently, said
Inspiring: Meghan, who is currently maintaining a 110 pound weight loss, said losing weight and becoming healthier has changed her life in many different ways
Meghan, who now loves strength training and circuit workouts, said: ‘I think my weight gain was a combined result of not obsessing about cardio, lifting more weights, eating more, and being less hard on myself in general.’
She is currently maintaining a 110 pound weight loss.
Meghan’s sample daily weight-loss diet:
Breakfast: Southwestern Egg Beaters with one egg, two strips of reduced sodium turkey bacon, toast with calorie-free jelly and a coffee.
Lunch: Cauliflower rice with 4-oz. of lean ground turkey, steamed broccoli, and Alfredo sauce.
Snacks: Pure Protein bars, carrots, tuna packs, or hard-boiled eggs.
Dinner: Spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and vegetable meatballs.
Dessert: Rice cakes with protein frosting.
Her typical breakfast includes Southwestern Egg Beaters with one egg, turkey bacon, toast and a coffee. For lunch she tends to eat cauliflower ride with lean ground turkey, steamed broccoli and Alfredo sauce.
For dinner, Meghan usually opts for a spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and vegetable meatballs, while desert typically includes rice cakes with protein frosting.
Meghan said: ‘Most days, I’m still not sure what a “healthy weight” necessarily looks like for me, but I know that having a healthy mindset is just as important.
‘I still go through periods of having issues with body image and how I feel about myself. But I always remind myself that I have absolutely developed healthier mental and physical habits, and how to better fuel my body,’ she added.
The 27-year-old said she never realized the amount of her life she was ‘giving up’ because of her weight, as she was scared to try things like going to theme parks or go shopping with friends.
‘Losing weight has changed my life and helped me shed those fears. It’s wild to think about how simply believing in myself enough to take control of my health has transpired into so many other aspects of my life.
‘I am not as scared to try new things. I am more willing to try and fail than to have never tried at all. Gaining confidence (at work, at home, in the gym, in life) has been nothing short of life-changing,’ she added.