Meghan Lenss used to like snacking on Hot Cheetos and sipping frappuccinos. In fact, the 26-year-ancient from Riverside, California ate quick food every day. But when her weight reached 300 pounds in January 2017, she chose to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
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Now, a year and a half later, she’s celebrating her 130-pound weight loss. Late last month, she shared a series of transformation photos tracking her slow but steady progress.
She launched her new lifestyle because she “was tired of everyday activities being hard,” she tells Health. “Walking to class, not being able to walk up stairs … It was embarrassing.” And she credits two key things with helping her lose the weight.
First, she gave up quick food and started cooking her own meals at home. Second, she committed herself to daily workouts—purchasing an elliptical machine and doing an hour of cardio every night. “It was dreadful and I struggled every night to get my butt in the garage to work out. But I did it, and every day it got a small simpler, and soon enough, I saw results. I realized I could do it.”
Lenss also downloaded MyFitnessPal to help her stay on track, and she made Instagram page @_iwokeupinbeastmode to keep herself accountable. And though she makes occasional exceptions, she bid farewell to pizza, fries, and high-calorie drinks.
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Today, her meals consist of lean protein and plenty of veggies. She’s swapped her go-to indulgences for healthy alternatives, like replacing her Cheetos for Skinny Pop with cayenne pepper.
“Through all of this, I started to have more energy,” she says. “My clothes started to fit better. I gained confidence. I joined a gym! But the real kick is that I really went to the gym instead of just paying for a membership I never used!”
She’s experienced countless highs on this journey, but Lenss also embraces the lows.
“Now, don’t get me incorrect. I still struggle,” she says. “I ate an entire box of cookies last weekend. But you know what I did after? I accepted it, went on, and made the next day better. Progress is a process.”