My name is Kelly Nieto (@kelly.nieto), and I am 30 years old. I live in Long Island, New York, and I am a bank operations trainer. After my husband committed to his weight-loss journey, I saw his amazing progress and knew it was my time, too. And now? I’ve lost 110 pounds.
I was always heavy as a child, but I really started noticing my weight around the age of 10, when I started to get made fun of at school. I was always confident and outgoing and never really let things bother me, but the teasing about my body started to get to me. I begged my mother to let me start WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) and, with my doctor’s blessing, she finally agreed. I lost about 30 pounds and I actually ended up a bit underweight. Naturally, the kids at school taunted me about that, too, spreading rumors I had an eating disorder.
I finally got to a healthy weight by the time I was 13, after getting involved in a lot of sports teams at school. Then, when I was 16, I met my now-husband, and some “happy weight” from being in a great relationship started to creep on. For example, we started going out to dinner a lot, and I gained 90 pounds gradually (and he gained 100 pounds).
When we got engaged, I knew I didn’t want to be unhappy and unhealthy on my wedding day, so I joined WW again—but something just wasn’t clicking. I didn’t feel the fire or sense of motivation. I only lost about 25 pounds ahead of my wedding, and that’s where I stayed for about a year. I eventually gained those 25 back, and then some.
Ultimately, it was my husband who got fed up with the way he felt about himself before I did.
He started eating healthier (bringing a sandwich to work instead of buying fast food, for instance) and working out. When he started experiencing real weight-loss changes, I was so motivated and knew that, this time, I was going to do it. We were a team through everything else, and I knew we needed to go through this as a team, too.
I knew we would be unstoppable if we were supporting each other and doing it together.So in August 2015, at 26 years old, I decided this time WW was going to work for me. I was finally going to commit to it. I lost a total of 70 pounds, slowly making changes to my nutrition to really fuel my workouts and meal prepping all of our lunches.
Eventually, my meals weren’t fitting into the WW points system due to the way I was trying to fuel my body with enough protein for my workouts, so I decided to continue on my journey on my own, without WW. It was so scary at first to stop WW and lose weight without the guidance, but I felt in my heart that I could do it.
Spoiler: I lost another 40 pounds on my own by doing intense workouts and meal prepping.
The toughest part was refocusing my mindset around macros instead of calories.
There isn’t anything wrong with counting calories. But for me, I had fitness goals I was determined to achieve, and I knew monitoring my carbs was going to be more of a necessity for me. I downloaded the app called myMacros, which is like a calorie counter for macros, and it was so helpful to determine where my levels should be, and how on track I was. The best thing was I could link my husband’s account to mine so he could track the meals I was cooking for us, too.
I know there are a lot of diets out there that restrict one of the macronutrient groups, generally either fat or carbs. Personally, I believe that every nutrient out is vital to my body in some way. So, I eat a balanced diet of a healthy amount of protein, carbs, and fats. Having a substantial-enough combo of all three fuels my workouts properly, helps me with recovery, and keeps me full and energized.
Here’s what I typically eat in a day now:
- Breakfast: A plant protein shake (I’m lactose intolerant) with almond milk and spinach (sometimes I add powdered peanut butter)
- Lunch: Two turkey meatloaf muffins, using a recipe by Jamie Eason that I found on bodybuilding.com, with cauliflower rice and carrots or zucchini
- Snacks: Greek yogurt, two rice cakes with powdered peanut butter, or mini sweet peppers with pre-portioned guacamole for dipping
- Dinner: 4 oz. chicken banh mi burger on a low-carb wrap with green beans and a mixed greens salad
- Dessert: A recovery protein shake with a 1/2 scoop of plant protein and a 1/2 scoop of casein protein for recovery, made with water
I work out six days a week: two leg days, two days of “push” movements (generally chest and triceps), and two days for “pull” movements (generally back and biceps).
My husband was and continues to be a huge factor in how I structure my workouts. He has lost so much weight (175 pounds) and gained so much muscle that he is the primary source of inspiration for me in the gym. I work out with him when I can and model my session after him when I can’t. He pulls most of his workouts from YouTube or Instagram.
I have lost 110 pounds in two years. I was successful in this journey because I committed to making my life and my future better.
I stopped making excuses, accepted what I had done to end up at that point, and became obsessed with fixing my ways. If you want to change the outside, you have to change the inside: your outlook. Find that one reason you are going to choose to live, and never stop fighting for it.
This journey has changed my life because it has allowed me to become the person I always knew I was. Sure, I was always an outspoken and outgoing person. But I always knew all people could see was my size, so I always felt I had to compensate somehow. Now, I am unapologetically me, and I love that.
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