Inside: Learn the exact diet, exercise plan, and mindset I used to lose over 100 pounds naturally without surgery and keep the weight off, feeling healthy and thin for the first time in my entire life.
Before I get into the story of how I lost over 100 pounds without surgery: why is this crafts and DIY blogger talking about weight loss? Like all the home improvement and creative projects I do, I took my DIY know-how to my weight-loss journey.
This is me in September 2020 heading out for a date with my boyfriend, after losing over 100 pounds without surgery:
I've been sharing my story on my personal Instagram account for almost a year and have gotten many of the same questions over and over again:
- “How did you lose the weight?”
- “What diet are you on?”
- “You inspire me! I've struggled with weight loss and I think I can do it after reading your story … how do I start?”
- ” Are you exercising a lot?”
- ” What's your secret?”
Inspiring others while sharing my journey has been a sweet reward … then I realized I can do more than inspire.
I can share exactly what I did to lose over 100 pounds naturally
My goal is that if you're struggling as I was, that my story gives you the inspiration for your own journey to become the fit and happy person you want to be in this lifetime.
I am not giving you weight loss advice
I am not a weight loss coach. Or doctor. Or nutritionist.
I am not giving mental health or psychological advice.
This post is me sharing my own story and experience … you can take from it what you will.
In reading this post, you release me from any liability in your own actions and thoughts that come from reading this.
\If you are inspired by what I share here and truly do want help with your own weight loss journey, please seek help from a professional before starting any plan.
Thinking that you’re ready to lose the weight?
Keep reading my story to see how I did it and why nothing else worked before … I bet you’ll find some similarities with your own weight loss journey.
This post includes affiliate links. When you click and purchase from these links we may get a commission from the seller. The cool thing is, this doesn't cost you any extra money!
What triggered me to finally lose weight after a lifetime of obesity?
My feet started to swell uncomfortably as I was sitting in a meeting room during a conference I was attending in beautiful Austin, Texas.
I reluctantly switched to flip flops and pulled on the ugly compression socks I used for all my flights since I surpassed 300 pounds on the scale.
During a bathroom break the zipper on my jeans busted because my belly was protruding well beyond my pants' bounds.
I couldn't enjoy myself because of my obesity
Despite the pain, after 3 long days of learning at the conference, I was excited to be spending a few days exploring Austin with my son and husband. We had plans to visit famous barbecue spots, check out the cool arts districts and murals, see the museums and explore the history … it was going to be a glorious couple of days filled with miles and miles of walking.
My feet were screaming at me before we started.
I sat down every chance I could get.
I could not walk during this vacation
My legs were so big that my underwear chaffed … I bought the largest size of new underwear I could find at the store. The leg elastic rubbed my groin raw.
I had to buy bigger pants
My jeans ruined, I tried on jeans at the plus size women's clothing store I usually shop at and they didn't fit.
I asked for a larger size: 28.
The clerk informed me that they don't “go that big” and I needed to go to a different plus size store that carried the “larger sizes”.
I bought the ugliest pair of pleated navy chinos in size 28 and cried as I put them on.
I was miserable
I was puffy.
My feet hurt.
I only saw a fraction of what I wanted to see during our trip to Austin.
I felt guilty for any of the food I ate.
I felt guilty for making my family wait while I rested or miss out on things altogether because we were looking for more “fat” clothes for me or I couldn't fit, couldn't walk, couldn't do.
I dreaded the plane ride home because I knew I wouldn't fit in the seat, my feet would swell again, and I'd be embarrassed asking for a seat belt extender because I didn't fit in the “normal” seat like a “normal” sized person.
I weighed the most I ever weighed
I got on the scale a week after I got home and had started back on paleo.
I never imagined I'd be over 200 pounds.
I must have been over 325 in Austin …I was too scared to get on the scale until a week after I got home.
My health problems from obesity made life unbearable
I had a handicapped placard.
A couple years ago, I was issued a cane and a walker for my knees and back.
My doctor told me the next step was a wheelchair. And once I went to the wheelchair, I'd never be fully ambulatory again.
I suffered from a multitude of health problems:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Sleep apnea
- Chronic persistent gout
- Chondromalcia (chronic knee pain)
- Leg swelling
- Skin rashes
- Skin fungus
- Ear irritation and skin irritation with jewelry
- Stuffy and runny nose
- Constant chronic cough
- Cystic acne
- Body acne
- Swollen feet
- Swollen fingers to where I could not wear my wedding rings
- Out of breath
- Couldn't walk more than 20 minutes
- Inability to stand still for more than 5 minutes
- Avoid stairs at all costs
- Couldn't run
- Chronic dandruff and scalp issues
- Thin hair
- Thin fingernails
- Bad gas and digestion issues
- Acid re-flux and heartburn every night
- Waking up in a sweat every night
- Inability to nap without CPAP machine, even on a plane or in a car
- Tennis elbow
- Chronic shoulder pain
- Carpal tunnel … I even had surgery on one hand! And typing was so hard I spent years dictating most of my blog posts and emails
- Hip pain
- Back pain … I could not go to the movies or do long road trips for over a year because sitting more than 10 minutes caused me intense pain
- Muscle knots in back and shoulders to where I was taking muscle relaxers on the regular
- Neck pain and tension, regularly feeling like pulled muscles and pinched nerves
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Atrophied and weak muscles
- Painful, prolonged menstruation resulting in hysterectomy … I wish I could undo that knowing what I know now 😔
At age 41.
Seeing this list in it's entirety is embarrassing and overwhelming.
These health problems were not from old age
I felt like these problems were all from age and just par for the course with getting older.
I had no idea that it had to do with my weight … and all the other issues surrounding that weight gain, including emotional baggage and eating processed foods, even though they were labeled “healthy”.
Everything had to change.
Weight loss surgery seemed like the obvious choice. And my doctors agreed.
What happened when I tried weight loss surgery:
I've been “overweight” or obese my entire life. People were always trying to help me with unsolicited advice … . my weight was a sore point I was reminded of every day. I wrote a post about how to talk to fat people in response …
I tried every diet in the book: South Beach, Atkins, Weight Watchers, low-carb, low-fat, 6 meals a day, blood type diet, cabbage soup diet … I'd be hard-pressed to name a diet I had not tried and failed.
When I was trying to get into the Army at age 18, I was eating as little as 500 calories a day.
How I tried to lose weight in the past
I tried weight loss pills, fat blocking pills, weight loss shakes … none of it worked.
Every year I gained about 5 to 10 pounds despite all the dieting. And my physical activity had fallen to almost nothing.
On my Veteran's Administration (VA) doctor's advice, I had started the process to get weight loss surgery in 2016.
Going through the VA, I was required to complete more steps than through a typical doctor's office. This included counseling, a psychological evaluation, multiple GI tract tests, and more, taking almost a year to complete.
Why I decided against weight loss surgery
During a final orientation before surgery, the VA team shared the risks of the gastric sleeve surgery and Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass.
It might not work.
It might result in dumping syndrome for the rest of my life … that's diarrhea!
I left totally dismayed.
What if I got the surgery and it went WRONG?
I could never undo it.
My dad, my ex-husband, and many other people I knew got the surgery. They never fully reached their goal weight.
Worse, what they could eat was restricted forever.
Forever? And not even reaching the goal?!
The risks from weightloss surgery outweighed the benefits for me
I realized that if I could not eat properly to lose weight now, I would not be able to eat to maintain the weight loss from surgery. And with all the risks, there were more cons to weight loss surgery than potential upsides.
I called the nutritionist and cancelled my last GI appointment for February 2018 and pending surgery date.
I still had all the weight to lose.
All the health problems that went that weight.
I needed a solution
I had heard of the benefits of keto and watch several friends lose massive amounts of weight on the keto diet.
Keto seemed similar to Atkins, which I had done during the early 2000s.
I jumped right in because who doesn't love bacon and eggs, steak, and lots of butter?
I tried the keto diet
My intention with keto was to follow it while I lost weight and figured out another diet to maintain my weight the rest of my life.
I could not envision myself drinking bulletproof coffee and eating so much fat the rest of my life.
I knew keto was not sustainable for me long term yet I wanted to lose the weight so badly, it sounded like the only real option.
Looking back, keto wasn’t going to work for me for the same reasons that weight loss surgery wouldn’t work: if I didn’t find an eating plan that I could stick to for the rest of my life, none of the weight loss was going to stick long-term either.
My challenges with keto
I started losing weight with keto.
Yet, I had massive sugar cravings, lots of cheat days, and could feel the effects of any carbs I ate.
Because of my fibromyalgia, I tried to stick to an anti-inflammatory version of keto which meant no artificial sweeteners and limiting processed foods.
Not being able to have any kind of sweet made the sugar cravings almost unbearable.
I started keto in late March 2018 and by July I had stopped seeing any real results.
Hitting a plateau on keto
A friend of mine was running what she called the beef and butter challenge, consisting of ground beef with butter with a pickle or small amount of vegetables as your one meal a day in addition to bulletproof coffee.
I tried this diet several times in July and August 2018 and got results.
However, I ended up feeling extremely ill by my third or fourth round of it, suffering from severe leg cramps and a vitamin D deficiency.
Why I stopped keto
While I was on keto:
- my energy levels were very low
- I had lots of leg cramps and muscle pains
- it just didn't feel like quite the right fit for my body
I know a lot of people get amazing results with the keto diet but my body didn't like it and I was no longer getting substantial results.
I tried to go back to Paleo and a more natural way of eating.
The scale tipped back up over 300 pounds by Christmas 2018.
In February of 2019 a friend of mine had shared that she was reading “The Obesity Code” by Dr. Jason Fung. I checked him out online and his mission to stop vilifying obesity resonated with me.
I ordered the book on Audible and started listening right away. (Order yours here)
What made me decide to finally lose weight?
I started following “The Obesity Code” diet loosely as I listened to the audio book.
Filled with all the science behind what's happening in our bodies as we consume and digest various foods, the audiobook was painfully mind-numbing to work through.
My kids protested riding in the car with me because they knew they'd be subjected to Dr. Fung's recitations about insulin, ghrelin, and gluconeogenesis. I hoped the kids would persevere through the boredom and pick up the knowledge in addition to myself.
All of the information shared in “The Obesity Code” was essential to me truly understanding what's happening in my body when I eat or don't eat, undoing a lifetime of faulty nutrition and diet beliefs.
I finished “The Obesity Code” and immediately started reading “ The Diabetes Code“, also by Dr. Jason Fung.
I started intermittent fasting
I began with a 16:8 fasting plan, eating low-carb high-fat meals in an 8 hour window after fasting at least 16 hours.
I lost about 15 pounds between February 2019 and August 2019.
High fat low carb meals (LCHF) were expensive and difficult to find while traveling, which I did about once per month. I found every excuse not to follow the plan, as I'd done with every diet previous.
As a result, I spent a lot of time and money on food without fully following the plan. Thus getting results albeit slowly.
How I lost over 100 pounds… And how I keep losing weight
The secret to my weight loss isn't a diet or exercise alone; it's mental and emotional.
In March 2019 I met a prosperity coach at a conference. We hit it off immediately.
He told me that I deserved nice things, should move to an area that reflects my personal level of refinement, and that he believed in me. I didn't even believe in myself. What did he know that I didn't?
I started working with this coach in May 2019 to improve my business income.
In September, we did a Mental Emotional Release session, a technique for identifying and releasing emotional baggage based on NeuroLinguistic Programming methods.
The MER session was the missing link for my weight loss and more.
How NLP helped me lose weight
Through the MER session the coach helped me identify the core issue preventing me from getting what I want in life. We released the negative emotions that were causing me to self-sabotage my weight loss and everything else I wanted in my life.
Weight loss and weight gain are emotional
My coach explained that weight loss is emotional. It was a challenge to grasp the idea that weight loss is emotional when you’ve been raised up on the idea that weight loss depends on calories in and calories out (which “The Obesity Code” debunks as well).
Emotional baggage is why we gain weight
When I think about the things in life that are challenging, it's often emotional baggage that gets in the way. Considering the challenges I’ve had in my business, career, and life in general, I can trace them all back to emotional baggage that I did not know how to release.
MER allowed me to safely and swiftly identify and release the emotional baggage that was holding me back from the things I wanted in life.
What happened when I released my emotional baggage through MER?
Once the emotional baggage was released, following the eating plan was easy.
Exercising was easy.
How an MER session happens
The coach led me through a discussion and series of questions to help narrow down what was stopping me, the core issue behind my emotional baggage. Then we followed a process for releasing the negative emotions tethered to that baggage. This procedure took a few hours to complete.
Your journey and your baggage will be different and what mine was is not important; the real take away here is that MER can be used to release ANY emotional baggage holding someone back from what they want.
When I left the MER session I felt lighter. Calmer.
I drove through 3 hours of bumper to bumper traffic with a peace and calm I had never felt before.
I wasn't hungry
More than the peace and calm, I wasn’t hungry.
I realized I had been feeding my emotions with food all of these years.
Maybe I was never really “hungry” … I was emotionally starving and hurting, feeding myself with sugar, sweets, and processed foods, trying to salve my emotional wounds. It as a relief to no longer feel a deep, dark urge to fill my inner void with “bad foods” that would only make me feel worse.
I was elated
I could not stop smiling.
A permanent smile plastered on my face.
I felt happy. I was really happy!
How I started intermittent fasting, empowered by MER
I didn’t eat the whole day after the MER session.
When we scheduled this coaching session, I thought we were going to be setting business and income goals for the next quarter.
Running late, I rushed out the door, stomach upset from my chronic irritable bowel syndrome, and decided not to eat until after the session. I was afraid another bathroom visit would put me even further behind schedule.
So I didn't eat. That day. And for 5 full days after that.
Intermittent fasting is a crucial part of the lifestyle taught in “The Obesity Code”, a part I had been struggling with since I first started following Dr. Fung’s teachings.
My first multi-day fast
Inspired by the long fasts I’d read about in “The Obesity Code” and related Facebook Groups on intermittent fasting, I challenged myself and my newfound resolve after MER.
Could I fast for 3 days? A week? A whole month?!
I fasted for 5 days, consuming:
- black coffee
- Miso soup
- bone broth
Dinners out during a multi-day fast
At a sushi dinner with friends I ordered a pot of hot green tea and a cup of miso soup. I felt completely satisfied and not tempted in any way by the delicious food on their plates.
On the evening of the fifth day, I felt hungry so I cooked burgers at home for my son and I, making mine lettuce wrapped. I broke my fast with that delicious bacon burger made with beef raised by my parents on their Arizona ranch. It was glorious.
My first weight loss after MER
In August 2019 I had gained 1.4 pounds.
By the end of September 2019, the month in which I had the MER session, I had lost 20 pounds.
Intermittent fasting was key to my weight loss
I continued fasting between 16 and 24 hours a day, eating low carb high fat meals when I wasn’t fasting.
Between September 2019 and January 2020 I lost over 80 pounds.
More emotional baggage slowed my weight loss
I am continuing to lose weight, though the process has slowed as I encountered more emotional baggage standing in the way. I now know that the reasons I am eating are emotional.
And yes, the diet I am following has been crucial in my success.
My ability to follow that diet and my success with it can be attributed to finally releasing the emotional baggage that made it impossible to stick to the plan in the past. No matter what plan it was.
What did I eat to lose the weight?
Following “The Obesity Code” I chose low-carb high-fat foods the majority of the time.
On a typical day, I’d eat as follows:
- Morning: black coffee, fasting
- Between 3-4 pm: a handful of almonds or olives to break my fast while I prepare my one meal
- Between 4-5 pm: one large meal, usually a salad with a whole avocado, one hard boiled egg, 8-10 kalamata olives, 5-7 cherry tomatoes, 1/2 English cucumber, 1-2 chicken thighs or a steak sliced on top, keto style ranch dressing or vinaigrette, and a sparkling mineral water like Pellegrino
- Evening: Hot tea, water, and black coffee
General meal guidelines I followed to lose over 100 pounds
Salad isn’t the only thing I ate but it was certainly one of the easiest meals to prepare. Largely I ate:
- Protein as meat, fish, eggs, poultry
- Fats like butter, ghee, bacon, olives, cheese
- Nuts in small amounts
- Berries every once in a while
Here's a meal I had in October 2019:
- 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes grown in my garden
- 1 cup swiss chard grown in my garden, cooked with fresh garlic and sea salt
- 2 scrambled eggs with Mexican tarragon, cracked black pepper, and pink salt, cooked in butter
In December I stopped eating dairy for about 7 months and recently added cheese back to my diet. In my research I found that dairy can cause inflammation, exacerbating some health issues I had in the past. I've since added cheese back to my diet but am foregoing cream and most other dairy products.
Favorite Low Carb High Fat Recipes
How much am I exercising to lose 100 lbs?
The main exercise I do is walking.
I walk about 1-2 hours daily.
For me, exercise is about trying to improve my strength and muscle tone and not so much about weight loss or burning calories.
I do some yoga, some resistance work with bands, and crunches and squats using a Bosu ball while I watch TV.
“Life In The Fasting Lane” explains the fallacy of calories-in/calories-out mindset that has made us think exercise is essential to weight loss. For me, exercise hs had little to do with losing weight.
What's the biggest thing that made this weight loss journey successful?
- Realizing weight loss/gain is about emotional baggage
- Getting the tools and resources to deal with it on a psychological (MER) + physiological level (“The Obesity Code“)
My weight loss formula:
This is the part I know you’ve been wanting so I am going to make it very simple.
Here’s the weight loss formula I followed:
- Diet: “The Obesity Code” – intermittent fasting with LCHF eating 90% of the time
- Exercise: 1-2 hour walks daily, yoga or stretching a few times a week
- Self-care: Daily meditation, salt baths, journaling, etc. More than I can share here but loving myself was critical
- Emotional: MER session with a trained NLP Master Practitioner
Weight loss was the easy part … my life changed in more profound ways
My life changed far beyond and far deeper than weight loss alone.
As a result of all of the coaching, self-care, and inner work I’ve done, weight loss became easy. Working out got easier to do. The resistance I felt in the past as I sabotaged my own progress and dreams fell away.
And when the resistance did come back, I had the tools to recognize what it was and work through it as opposed to the confusion, frustration, and self-directed anger I had experienced in the past.
Weight loss is a byproduct of the larger changes I made in my life.
Weight loss is the sexy part of this conversation … my goal is for you to take away that life optimization is really what I am sharing here. For that, you’ll need a coach and to go deeper on this journey than buying a book like “The Obesity Code”.
When you’re ready to change your whole life, if you ever are, and to stop sleep walking through life and instead be seriously woke about your purpose, that’s where you hire a coach.
I hope you discover that for yourself … it’s been one of the best things I could have done for my life, myself, and those around me.
Where am I now?
I’ve been on this weight loss journey since March 2018, with a huge pivot happening in September 2019 when I had the MER session.
In that time, so much in my life has changed for the better … here’s where I am now:
- All of my health ailments have gone away. ALL OF THEM.
- I take no medications or supplements regularly.
- I can run up to a 5K without stopping.
- I weigh between 203-209 pounds, hoping to cross into the 100s soon. I want to lose another 65 pounds to a goal weight of 140 pounds.
- I eat … I eat a lot and enjoy my life. I do LCHF 80-90% of the time.
- I fast 36 hours one day a week. And do 20-4 hour fasts and a few 16-8 fasts per week the rest of the time.
- I walk 1-2 hours every day, usually barefoot on the beach at the water’s edge, doing between 10,000-19,000 steps per day.
- I shredded my handicapped placard … watch the video here!
Have questions? I know I would … here’s where to start:
- Get and read “The Obesity Code” to understand the science behind eating, obesity, and why diets fail.
- Get an read “Life in the Fasting Lane” for a step by step process to get into fasting.
- Get a smart scale that connects to a phone app to track your progress, like this smart scale that I use.
- Ask me questions in the comments on this post
And the best place of all the get answers, is to follow my journey in-depth at instagram.com/jenniferppriest
I’ll see you there …
Congrats to you for reading this far … you definitely want transformation in your life, I can tell. Start today.
Today is the first day for the rest of your life. I did it … I know if I could do this, you can do whatever you put your mind to as well. You got this.