Fitness

‘I Used MyFitnessPal And Did Home Workouts To Lose 85 Pounds’

My name is Ashleigh Thurmond (@ashleigh_thurmond), and I am 33 years old. I live in Georgia, and I am a wife, mom to three boys, and a certified personal trainer. When I realized my weight possibly put me at higher risk for developing complications from COVID-19, I decided to make a change for the sake of my family. By working out 30 days straight at home and counting my calories, I was able to lose 85 pounds.


I had been overweight for many years. I gained 70 pounds with my first pregnancy in 2013 and never lost all of it. Truly, I was a bit overweight when I started that pregnancy in the first place. As the years went on, I just continued to gain. I ate for all emotions: happy, sad, mad, anxious. Food was my comfort.

I have never enjoyed working out. The only gym membership I ever had was in college, and I used it for the free tanning beds. My knees were in terrible shape, and I had a hard time going up the stairs due to my size and weight.

But I finally realized I was super unhealthy and medically obese when COVID-19 happened.

I remember watching Good Morning America every day during lockdown, and hearing that you’re at a greater risk of dying from COVID if you were medically obese.

Being in the obese category and scared me. I had a family. I had a husband and two young children who depended on me. I was terrified of dying and leaving my family if I got sick because of my weight. I decided right then I would make a change.

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So, in May 2020, I committed to working out every single day.

I watched YouTube videos, and some days I just did 15 minutes, but I let nothing stop me from working out in the living room daily. When I started, I couldn’t do a lunge because my knees hurt so bad. It was embarrassing. My son laughed at me—not out of meanness, but because I looked so ridiculous trying to do the moves. Jumping jacks were impossible.

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I struggled through every single move, but did my very best. Nothing stopped me, and I didn’t miss a single day for 30 days. At the end of the 30 days, I realized I would be wasting my time working out if I wasn’t going to change my eating habits.

I did some research and learned about a calorie deficit.

I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app and started tracking my calories. I started drinking water. I got focused, and the weight started falling off.

My self-control with food was getting so much better. I was using exercise instead of food to clear my mind. I realized I wasn’t mindlessly eating since I was actually paying attention to what I was putting in my body. I was able to have a bite of cake instead of the whole thing. I could eat a few fries from my kids’ Happy Meal instead of my regular large with an extra side of 10 chicken nuggets. I made small swaps like Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and lower-calorie bread.

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I never ate a strict meal plan. I just decided to stick to my calories and make the foods I wanted fit. If I wanted a cheeseburger, I would eat the cheeseburger and make sure it fit in my calories for the day. If I wanted something sweet, I would eat that, but adjust the rest of my daily calories in order to make the sweet treat fit.

I am able to enjoy the foods I love in moderation while practicing self-control and staying within my calorie budget. I have learned over time how important protein is and made it a priority at every single meal. I try to eat at least 20 grams per meal and snack.

Here’s what I eat in a day now.

  • Breakfast: Egg white sandwich. I do three egg whites (sometimes two whites and a whole egg) with American cheese on Carbmaster multi-seed bread. I use a wedge of Laughing Cow Light cheese as my mayo. Sometimes I add spinach. This has lots of protein and keeps me full for a while! I love black coffee at home. If I get coffee out, I order an espresso with sugar-free vanilla syrup and almond milk.
  • Lunch: Four ounces of deli meat, with a slice of cheese, mustard, lettuce, and tomato on a high-fiber, low-calorie wrap. I love Quest chips with this. They have lots of protein and I still satisfy my salty craving.
  • Snacks: Cottage cheese with blueberries! I have this daily. Sometimes I will sprinkle on Stevia if I need something sweet. I love low-fat Greek yogurt with fruit and honey or Stevia too. I like veggies with hummus or my own version of ranch that I make with Greek yogurt and a Hidden Valley Ranch packet.
  • Dinner: Whatever I cook for my family, I will eat and just tailor it to my calorie budget. I love taco salads. I just skip the shell, depending on my budget for the day, and have meat (93 percent ground beef usually), cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, low-fat Greek yogurt, salsa, and whatever else I feel like throwing on.
  • Dessert: Fiber One brownies warmed up in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds. These have been a staple. Sometimes I add a teaspoon of peanut butter if I’m craving it. Heating them up is key! They are not nearly as delicious straight out of the package. You can also have a scoop of low-calorie Enlighten ice-cream with your brownie.

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    I started exercising before I changed my diet.

    I committed to a workout every day for 30 days. Some nights I would get out of bed, do a 15-minute HIIT YouTube video, and get back in bed so I could say that I worked out. I refused to miss a day for those 30 days. That is truly what got my weight loss journey started. I have never gone to the gym. I am a busy mom of three, and I honestly do not have time to visit the gym. If I work out at home, I have no excuses.

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    For the first five months of my journey, I didn’t even own a workout mat. I started incorporating dumbbells about six months in and fell in love with weight training. I am a big believer that you don’t need much to get started or to even be successful in your workouts. Bodyweight exercises can transform your body over time if you are consistent.

    Currently, I work out five days a week, and on the other two days I rest or do a light workout to get my body moving. It makes me feel better to get some type of movement in.

    These three changes have led to my weight loss success.

    1. I tracked my calories and stayed in a calorie deficit. Learning what I was actually putting in my body was a huge eye opener. When I could see what I was eating, it made so much sense why I was so overweight. Once I learned about a calorie deficit, I made sure I was consistently eating in it, and the weight loss really started.

    2. I started moving my body daily. I move my body almost every single day. I don’t do super intense workouts daily, but I try to get some form of movement in. Working out helps my mental state just as much, if not more, than my physical body. I feel so much better and more energized after I move my body. I have truly fallen in love with it.

    3. I stayed consistent. There have been so many times the scale stopped moving. There have been so many times I felt like what I was doing wasn’t working. But I have learned that if I stay consistent, refuse to give up when it feels like it’s not working, and keep doing the things I know I’m supposed to do regardless of how I feel, results will come. It takes time. This is not a race. There is no finish line. When you get to your goal weight, you will not care how long it took you to get there. Motivation comes and goes, but discipline and consistency are key.

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    During my journey, I lost 85 pounds.

    I got pregnant in January 2021 and worked out throughout my entire pregnancy. I had never felt stronger. I gained 47 pounds, and had my son in September 2021. I am 13 pounds away from being at my goal of 150 pounds again!

    It is so important to set other goals besides just scale goals too. Some of my first non-scale goals were to be able to do a lunge and feel comfortable in shorts. It feels good to have other goals to check off, especially when the scale is moving slow. Instead, pay attention to measurements and progress pictures.

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    I have learned that I am so much stronger than I thought. My mind is strong. My body is strong. I am worth making myself a priority. What I thought would just be weight loss has changed my life in so many ways. Yes, I wear a size 6 now and not a size 20, but I also have grown in confidence. I feel healthy. I have a healthy BMI. I have a healthy relationship with food. I have self-control. I love to lift weights and see how much stronger I become as the days go on. I don’t hide behind my kids in pictures. I don’t cringe when I see a candid photo of myself.

    I feel good when I see myself. I feel good on the inside and the outside. I’m so proud of myself. I never dreamed I would be so healthy. I never dreamed I’d own a business helping women lose weight and gain confidence. I never dreamed I would feel better at 33 than I did in high school. It’s been an amazing journey filled with lots of sweat and even tears at times. The best part is that my journey is not over and never will be.

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