My name is Megan Leavenworth (@munchin_withmeg), and I am 24 years old. I live in Atlanta, Georgia, and I am a human resources manager. After years of yo-yo dieting, I decided to start reducing my portions at mealtimes while still eating the same foods and began weight training. I lost 90 pounds by making these changes.
Before I started my weight-loss journey, I did a lot of yo-yo dieting. I would stick to a diet for only two to three weeks and then revert back to my old ways. I was looking for quick fixes and not a lifestyle change–which led to inconsistencies and failed attempts to lose weight. At 21, my weight hit its peak of 240 pounds.
In June 2019, I decided to make a change. Honestly, what led me to it was when I finally had time to focus on myself. When I started my weight-loss journey, I had been dating my boyfriend for three years. I was codependent on him and didn't truly love myself or the way that I looked.
Then he moved to Atlanta while I was still living in Connecticut at that time. We decided to stay together and try long-distance dating. Since he was in a different state, this gave me the time I needed to focus on myself. I woke up one day and randomly decided to start the journey, but I really gave it my all this time. Through this process, I found myself, and now I love my body. My weight-loss journey gave me the independence I needed. We have been together for five years now, and our relationship is better than ever!
I didn’t change much about what I was eating—I just changed how much I ate.
Before my weight-loss journey, I would eat large portions at every meal, plus lots of snacks throughout the day. I still generally eat the same things I did when I was at my heaviest, but now I just eat moderate portions.
The most important thing I did was to not label any food as bad. You can enjoy all foods and still lose weight at the same time. You just need to be mindful about how much you are eating. Carbs are not the enemy!
Here’s what I eat in a day now.
- Breakfast: Egg white, turkey bacon, and cheese scramble plus everything bagel seasoning with light cream cheese.
- Lunch: Deli meat turkey wrap with grapes.
- Snacks: Protein bar (I like RXBARs, Kirkland, a.k.a. Costco brand, and Quest bars), Fiber One brownie, or a handful of Goldfish crackers.
- Dinner: Homemade taco bowl with shrimps seasoned with taco seasoning packet, rice, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, jalapeños, a dollop of greek yogurt, and salsa on top!
- Dessert: Ice-cream sandwich! (I usually eat the Skinny Cow ones.)
I started weight training right away.
At first, I wasn't truly consistent, and I did a ton of cardio. I would sometimes be on the StairMaster machine for an hour, and lift weights on top of that. I do not recommend that—you do not have to do this much cardio to achieve your weight-loss goals.
At first, the gym was super intimidating because I know I did not look like most of the people in there. I kept telling myself I deserved to be there as much as they did. This gave me the courage to keep showing up. If I didn't know how to do a certain exercise, I would look up tutorials on YouTube or Google. Any exercise you would like to do will have a tutorial online!
Now, I have a weekly routine. I do the same workout plan for a month, and then switch it up the following month. I have two rest days per week. It is super important to get your rest in! I get into my workouts by choosing music that pumps me up. Here is my current schedule:
- Workout 1: Legs (glute focus)
- Workout 2: Upper body
- Workout 3: Legs (quads focus)
- Workout 4: Upper body
- Workout 5: Full body
These three changes have helped make my weight-loss journey a success.
- I focused and found time for myself. By focusing on myself, it allowed me to put myself first. I started making time for myself to exercise, cook, and meal prep. I truly gave myself the self-care that I needed.
- I started believing that moving my body is a privilege. There are some people who are not able to move their bodies. It is a privilege that I get to move my body each day, whether it be lifting weights or just going for a walk. Stop looking at exercise as a chore and find a way to move your body in a way that works for you (and that you enjoy!). Fitness looks different for everyone—it's all about what makes you happy!
- I realized it’s a lifestyle change, not a diet. The word "diet" comes with the connotation that it is a short-term fix. If you look at it as a lifestyle change, you will have a better mindset going into it! This is what helped me push myself to stay consistent.
I’ve lost 90 pounds overall, and it took nearly one year.
My weight-loss journey has completely changed my outlook on life and my confidence. I am now confident and love my body! I also now look at exercise as fun, whereas I used to look at it as a chore! I love to move my body, whether it's lifting weights, going for a hike, dancing, etc. Don't wait for Monday or the next month to start your journey if you are thinking about doing it—just start now! You got this!