Reader Story: 70 Pound Weight Loss Through Eating Real Food

This is the first in a series of reader stories that I’ll be sharing this month, and maybe even beyond, depending on how much you guys like them! Today’s story is by Emily Allen with That’s What I Eat. Thank you, Emily, for sharing your inspiring story with us! If you’d like to submit your story, you can do so here.


I didn’t recognize myself.

I’ll never forget the day I looked in the mirror and realized that I didn’t recognize the person who was looking back at me. It was about a year after my youngest was born, I was clinically obese, felt sick all the time, and was simply miserable in my body.

As I looked at my reflection, I was shocked and horrified that I had let it get to this point. At that moment, I decided that I didn’t want to feel that way anymore.

70 Pound Weight Loss Through Eating Real Food on 100 Days of Real Food

I had tried to lose weight several times throughout the years, trying every different diet plan out there. The problem was that nothing ever stuck. For some reason, this day in the mirror was different, and it changed everything. I decided that I wanted to do this right.

I wanted to actually nourish my body and focus on health rather than calories and the size of my jeans. So I started researching what I should feed my body, and the more I learned, the more I realized that what I needed to do was cut out processed food.

My study naturally led me to Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food, and to Lisa and 100 Days of Real Food. I started cooking more from scratch and found lots of great recipes, and without even really trying, 70 pounds simply slipped off my body.

70 pounds! Gone!

What Helped Me

Cutting processed food was definitely not an easy process, but here are a few things that helped my family along the way:

  • Baby Steps
    First and foremost, we had to cut ourselves some slack. If we had thrown away all processed foods from the beginning, we would have failed, big time! Instead, we took baby steps, replacing one thing at a time. I started with cereal, making granola as a replacement. Any little improvement is still a success!
  • Lots of Produce
    The easiest way to eat real food for us is to reach for fruits and vegetables. We always have tons of apples, oranges, carrot sticks, etc. on hand for those times when we want to eat but don’t want to do any prep work.
  • Planning Ahead
    Meal planning has been essential! I put our meal plan in my Google calendar so I can see the family’s weekly activities as I plan. For example, I know that on Wednesdays I need to have a crock pot meal planned because that night we have dance class and otherwise would be hitting a drive-through.
  • Making My Own Convenience Food
    Batch cooking and stocking the freezer helps so much! Everyone has days where they simply don’t want to cook. I love knowing that when I have one of those days, I can grab a lasagna from the freezer because the last time I made lasagna, I made three of them and froze the extras.

It has now been more than five years since we started the process of cutting processed food, and my weight loss has been very easy to maintain. I have had such an incredible change in the way I feel that I had to share that feeling.

So I went to school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Holistic Health Coach. I love teaching other people how to nourish their bodies with real food! I share my journey and my recipes on my site, www.thatswhatieat.com.

Eating real food has changed my life in so many ways. Most importantly, it has completely changed the way I feel. I’ve never felt healthier, happier, or more capable of handling whatever life throws at me. Everyone should get to feel this good!

70 Pound Weight Loss Through Eating Real Food on 100 Days of Real Food

Emily Allen is a former obese girl turned Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She lost 70 pounds by cutting processed food, an experience she documented on her site, www.thatswhatieat.com. Emily now teaches families how to cut processed foods and live their healthiest lives. She teaches cooking classes, does public speaking about healthy living, and has even appeared on local news programs featuring her recipes. Emily believes that anyone can live a healthier life, no matter their schedule or budget.

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21 thoughts on “Reader Story: 70 Pound Weight Loss Through Eating Real Food”

  1. My ex-wife lost 7 pounds in 2 weeks doing a diet she found online. After not seeing her for 4 years, it was a shock to see the change in her. She looked like her 20Something pictures she had pasted up on the walls all over the house as motivators. She stuck with the diet till all the weight was gone. It would be interesting to see if her diet plan follows the guidelines above. I think motivation is the biggest battle in weight loss. No plan will work if you aren’t motivated to go all the way to the end of the line.

  2. I never thought that losing weight could be this easy! I have been on it about three weeks, and have lost 5 pounds—and this was done effortlessly! I tried to revamp my favorite dishes so I would not be feeling deprived! My first change was dumping the flour tacos for corn tortilla tacos. The most wonderful thing was being able to eat bread as long as it is healthy—best I could find was HEB 7 grains—delicious! I switched my Nature Valley granola bars for fruit—mostly oranges and apples, because that’s my preference! We even had a birthday celebration and I dared to eat a serving of cheesecake—still lost weight! The plan is not difficult because if I get hungry, I grab a fruit, and that satisfies me! You can even maneuver your way (somewhat) around fast food! The last time I went to MCD, I ordered a bun less pico guacamole grilled chicken, and an unsweetened tea—there are ways—you just look for them! I know it will be slow forthr weight loss, but it will be effortless and certain AND lasting! Thank You, God, for sending this message through Lisa!

  3. Congratulations! It takes courage to do it but it’s so worth it…and all that hard work actually tastes great with whole foods!

  4. Loved hearing your story! And your tips are great. We’re doing our best to take baby steps too. Burn out is too easy when you just jump all in. Thank you and congrats!

  5. theresa henderson

    i would rather see these types of posts, along with the way your blog first started out, instead of all the sponsor posts. these types of posts are really why people liked your blog from the beginning. these offer inspiration, the other sponsor posts-not so much. those are a turn off.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      We get that but Lisa is very careful about who she works with regarding sponsors and companies. Without them, she would be unable to continue to bring you this blog.

    2. Agree! I am weighing in at 230 lbs these days! I did weigh 240lbs a few months ago taking care of a seriously sick child . I eat when I am emotional; and getting through each day was my goal. My child is still recovering but better overall. We are out A LOT plus hot dogs a lot. Many trips to hospital for my child plus 3 emergency visits for me for exhaustion and such. Now that we are not in crisis mode anymore , I am trying too cook real food for dinner 5;times a week. My husband does not like change but he even are my real food chocolate balls for dessert! He even said they were Good! (He loves country-fried steak and mashed potatoes and gravy.) He has since stopped commenting on the “adult food” I serve to our kids, meaning healthy. I grew up eating produce, broiled fish, baked chicken, green salads, no sweet desserts except during Easter and Valentine’s Day. I didn’t eat peanut butter and French fries until after we married. My husband is starting to come around to appreciate real home-cooked meals that are also healthy.

  6. That was a very encouraging story, thank you for sharing. I too have to change my eating habits and can’t afford to fail again. I have literally tried so many diets and am at my heaviest right now than ever. I have been at the point of giving up, last week I actually had 3 small strokes-I should have seen it coming. I weighed in at 217 pounds at my doctor’s visit. I do feel best on no processed foods, I just don’t know enough to know what to do. This a.m. I saw the article about signing up to get rid of processed foods and felt it was exactly what I need. I hate to fail again. I hope it will show me the “how to” of making different menus. I usually get so bored with my eating plan that I slip back into my old ways. And please I hope it will be with foods that aren’t too exotic or hard to find or are too expensive. I don’t mind cooking more, I like to cook just need training on what and how. I too am an emotional eater.

    1. I recently finished reading the book she mentioned “in the defense of food” and it is amazing! It really drives home why we need to stop restricting certain types of food and focus on just eating real food. I haven’t eaten as much butter as I do now ( which don’t get me wrong is not a lot) but I’m losing weight easily! All I am doing is keeping it real!

    2. I did a similar diet to the 100 days of real food –
      EXCEPT
      I only ate foods that I raised on my farm.

      It was CRAZY to see how much my body & health changed by eating only foods I raised. Weightloss, energy, better sleep.

      I never expected to see the changes I did. Thanks for the inspiration.
      XO,
      Candi

  7. This is great. Way to go Emily, and thank goodness for 100 Days of Real Food. A trusted resource and one of my ‘go to’ sites for information, recipes and ‘how to’ guidance. Thanks, Lisa and team!!

  8. This is awesome! I too topped the scales after my son was born. I have lost 100 pounds by just eating real foods and cutting the processed foods! It has helped not only me but my whole family! I only wish I could make a career out of it because I love food and I want others to love food but in a healthy happy way for the whole family to enjoy! You go girl!!

  9. Eight years ago we began our journey into eating like you describe and it worked and has continued to work. At first it was about weight loss but the more we learned the more we realized that correct eating and the related lifestyle habits were about being healthy. Eating and being healthy “naturally” lead to less unneeded weight. Some people need to gain weight to be healthy especially many “older” adults who lack muscle mass and bone density. Correct diet and exercise makes them healthy again in a regenerative manner. Anyway, that has been our experience.

  10. Michelle Christine

    Lisa,

    I enjoyed reading about Emily’s success! For me, eating real food has not lead to weight loss. However, I do feel best when I eat real food. Thank you for your blog. It continues to be a source of inspiration and simple recipes, for me.

    Michelle Christine

  11. Wow Emily. That’s incredible that you have kept a 70 pound weight loss for 5 years. Amazing. I really appreciated that she said she took one step at a time and she didn’t just do it over night. I would love more articles on the subject of weight loss and real food. But there is another component that she didn’t cover that doesn’t have to do with real food, but is very relevant to the subject of weight loss. Assuming she was eating too much, and for the wrong reasons, and not just the wrong kind of food, how did she learn portion control and how did she learn to turn to other things instead of food to fill her emotionally. There is soooo much more to weightloss besides what goes into your body. If it was simply about food few people would be heavy. It’s what is going on in our head, sabatoging ourselves with food, compulsive eating, and addiction–addiction to food that is as real as a heroine addiction. It is that real to me. I deeply believe Lisa’s concept of eating is the best way. And I love her recipes. I own both her books and read this blog all the time. But changing what I eat is the easy part. It’s the “why I eat” and “how often” and “how much” that is the challenge for me. That might not be the direction you want to take with this blog, but trust me on this one, you can eat 100% healthfully, and exercise and still have a weight problem. I recently started going to a 12 step program that has given me a lot of hope. Encorporating those principles with Lisa’s philosophy on food is working for me but the weight is not just simply falling off like Emily says it will and I doubt it really did for her either. Everyday I have to focus on the 12 step principles. If I don’t I go right back. Yesterday I felt sorry for myself because my daughter had just gone to college. I mad Lisa’s banana muffins and ate 4 in one sitting heaping with coconut oil, when I was probably only hungry enough for one. I absolutely love this blog and think Lisa is amazing. I think she and her husband are very special people to be able to change their eating habits overnight and to never turn back.

  12. This is very inspiring, thanks for sharing your story Emily and I can’t wait to read more stories on the blog.

    Cutting loose over the holidays has led me to a weight I’m very unhappy to be at and I had work to do before this! I’ve lost a good deal of weight before but I took an all-consuming calorie-counting and exercise approach that was exhausting. I’m hoping to find a more sane way this time and I think eating real food could be it, I just need to get started. I appreciate all the motivation I can get!

  13. I love reading about people that have lost a lot of weight. I need to lose it too and it inspires me to know I can if I just will. I hope you keep doing these. They give me the push I need sometimes to keep going. LOVE the new cookbook!

  14. Thank you, I needed this story…… Went to my yearly check up and after two years for surgery for thyroids, cervical issues and heart problems I am up another 12 pounds I am tipping the scales at 281 pounds now, Have tried the diets tried tossing the junk and have always failed well I guess its time to get serious and start the baby steps before I die because at this rate they say will be my outcome if I do not change. So I will start with baby steps cooking at home using more veggies and work form there. Thank you again to read its possible just one step at a time

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