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38-Year-Old Woman Shares How She Lost 140 Pounds Without "Cutting Anything Out"

A mom of two in Tennessee just opened up about her non-restrictive weight-loss journey.

Most of us assume that we have to give up our favorite guilty pleasure foods if we want to lose weight. That means no more cheeseburgers, no more potato chips, no more ice cream—but that's not necessarily true. Many weight-loss plans allow for more diet flexibility, as one 38-year-old woman recently learned. In a new interview with Business Insider, she opened up about how she lost 140 pounds in two years without "cutting anything out."

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Andrea Pence, a mom of two living in Tennessee, told the news outlet that she decided she wanted to start making a change in summer 2022.

"I was tired all the time. I didn't realize just how fatigued I was, just how rundown I was. I had pain in my knees and pain in my back, I was getting out of breath just walking," she recalled.

While Pence's original goal was to lose 90 pounds, she lost a total of 140 pounds in two years, she told Business Insider. She started tracking her calorie counts using the app MyFitnessPal, but in the end, she said she didn't have to give up any food groups completely to drop the weight.

"What's helped me do this for the long haul is I've not cut anything out that I've wanted," Pence said. "If I want a cheeseburger, I'm going to have a cheeseburger."

She told the news outlet that she had tried losing weight in the past by restricting herself to "healthy" foods, but that left her unsatisfied and unsuccessful.

"Diet culture has people out here thinking you have to eat this bland salad with grilled chicken every day, and that is all you can eat," Pence said.

So how exactly did she end up losing so much weight this time around? According to Pence, the game-changer for her was finally figuring out that she needed more protein in her diet.

"I've given up in the past when I've tried because it's been so frustrating. You don't see results and then you're hungry all the time," she told Business Insider. "Protein was absolutely 100 percent one of the most important things. If you go heavy on protein, you're going to be full."

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By tracking her meals with MyFitnessPal, Pence said she was able to see that she was not getting enough protein. People's daily protein needs may be different based on their weight and health goals, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) current Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of daily protein for the average adult is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, according to UnityPoint Health.

That means a person who weighs 150 pounds, or 68.2 kilograms, should be eating at least 55 grams of protein every day. But this recommendation is only "the minimum to prevent deficiency," Gabrielle Lyon, DO, founder of the Institute for Muscle-Centric Medicine, told CNBC.

If you're hoping to lose weight, you may want to be focused on eating more than that. "When you prioritize protein, you're going to be less hungry at that next meal," Lyon explained.

Pence said this is true to her experience. Her shift to more daily protein helped her to feel fuller longer, which has allowed her to still eat her favorite foods—just in moderation.

The 38-year-old told Business Insider that she now aims to eat around 100 grams of protein every day. This usually includes a high-protein breakfast of Greek yogurt, along with higher-protein versions of foods like bagels and microwave meals for lunch and dinner.

But when it comes to snacks and desserts, Pence said she still sticks to things like ice cream instead of trying to come up with a healthier substitute.

"Sometimes there's not a lower calorie swap, and that's OK too," she said.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance.When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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