Nutrition

‘Counting Calories And Lifting Weights Helped Me Lose 115 Lbs.’

I’m Carlee Howard (@carlee_gets_gnarlee), and I’m 29 years old. I live in Cookeville, Tennessee, and work as a digital media specialist After trying and failing different diets, I decided to simply aim for a calorie deficit for weight loss while still eating my favorite foods. I also started lifting weights. Together, they helped me lose more than 100 pounds.


Growing up, I was always the bigger kid in class. Basically, I was tall and just bigger-bodied, and I can remember being put on diets in elementary school. I was never extremely overweight, but compared to the tiny kids my age, my build made it appear that way. I was super active and I played basketball my whole life, so my weight didn’t get out of hand until I graduated.

I tried so many diets over the years, but nothing ever worked. Eventually because of my weight, daily activities became hard to do. Simple things like buckling my seatbelt, tying my shoes, or standing for longer than 15 minutes were difficult. I also had high blood pressure.

Near the end of 2018, I thought, I’m tired of living this way. I have to do something or I’m going to be immobile soon! So, at the age of 27, as a New Year’s resolution, I vowed to never see 374 pounds ever again. This time, I knew that I needed something that I enjoyed and that would be sustainable.

I had learned that most diets require our bodies to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight, so that’s what I did.

I never tracked any macros, just calories. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with anything else, and I can’t imagine doing anything else now. I found what my caloric deficit was (you could work with a nutritionist or use a free online calorie calculator that gives a decent estimate!). I ate that caloric amount for a while, gradually adjusting it over time as I lost weight.

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As far as what specific foods I ate, I didn’t really have an eating plan. I really just aimed for things that I loved or things that would keep me full that will fit into my caloric intake for the day. I always say, “Start small.” In every failed diet that I tried to do in the past, I would cut everything that I loved out and eat such a small amount of calories that I ended up binging.

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Here’s what I eat in a day now.

  • Breakfast: I normally don’t eat breakfast, but if I feel hungry from the gym that morning, I will have a protein shake with some lactose-free milk and a protein bar.
  • Lunch: Canned soup has been a favorite lately, like low-calorie Progresso Potato Soup or Chicken Noodle Soup with a small salad.
  • Snacks: Protein bars, 100-calorie popcorn, and cereal bars.
  • Dinner: Breakfast for dinner! Eggs, turkey bacon, toast, and hash browns.
  • Dessert: Protein mug cakes have been my favorite lately.

    I also started walking for 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week.

    That was the only thing I knew how to do, and every week I would go for longer and my stamina got so much better! I was always scared to lift weights and become bulky, but now I lift five days a week. I do split sessions to hit all parts of the body. I used YouTube, Google, and Women’s Health for ideas and to learn how to lift correctly.

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    These three changes have led to my weight loss success.

    1. I started small. I made small changes that led to big results. Sustainability is something that’s important when you struggle with your weight. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
    2. I stayed honest with myself. If I don’t put work into my fitness or nutrition, I have no one to blame but myself. It sucks sometimes, but you only see major changes when you are honest with yourself if you don’t see the results you want. I got myself to 374 pounds, and only I can change it!
    3. I took care of my mental health. Weight loss is just as much mental and emotional as it is physical. If you are not in a good place mentally and emotionally, you won’t see those results physically. I started taking care of my mental and emotional health in ways that I needed to years ago!
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        I’m 115 pounds down and counting! I’ve been on this journey for two years now.

        Making this change was the greatest decision of my life. If you are thinking about making a change, just know that you cannot fail! This is a journey, just like life. You will have ups and downs. You are never too far gone. You can do this!

        This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

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