Weight loss – it’s something that often sounds like a good idea in January or when we try on swimsuits. Yet, losing weight is often harder than it sounds, and many people give in to old habits and end up gaining back any weight they managed to lose.

Ree Drummond is commonly known as The Pioneer Woman. Many people love her cooking show and her line of kitchen and home products. While she is known for creating delicious food for her family, she is not usually thought of as a weight loss expert. Yet, the chef managed to drop an impressive 43 pounds in just 4 months.

After being asked how she lost weight several times, Drummond decided to write a post on her website explaining what worked for her and what didn’t. She started by writing, “I’m writing this not as a self-celebration (since it’s still very recent, and since I’m still working on it), but (hopefully) as inspiration—because as a 52-year-old lover of food and avoider of exercise, I just really want to share what worked for me.”

Drummond shared that she wasn’t really concerned about the number on the scale. She simply wanted “to feel better and have more energy.” She also wanted to look slimmer for her daughter Alex’s wedding. Like many dieters, Drummond decided to make changes in January.

First, let’s start with what didn’t work for Drummond – keto and intermittent fasting. While these diets work for many, Drummond was not able to stick to these restrictive diets. She also didn’t buy any special foods created for diets. When it comes to exercise, she didn’t hire a trainer, and she didn’t join any weight loss program. Basically, she did it on her own with the help of her husband.

What she did do is keep track of her calories and make sure that she was burning more calories than she was eating. She wrote, “I used online calculators to get a rough idea of what that weight maintenance calorie count might be, (though it’s only a general rule), then I tried to undershoot that number on most days. I counted the calories of the things I ate every day (using websites like FatSecret.com or CalorieKing.com) and wrote each item down to get a daily total.”

In order to correctly count her calories, she paid close attention to how much she was really eating, and she described it as “eye-opening.” She started weighing her food on a food scale which she found to be more accurate than measuring food with a measuring cup. She never realized how small a serving really was.

Along with cutting back on how much she was eating, Drummond also incorporated exercise. She decided to prioritize exercise and stop making excuses that she didn’t have time. She would go for 2-3 mile walks, often with her dogs. Sometimes she would exercise in front of the TV instead. She would do Windsor pilates on the floor or use the rowing machine that is in the middle of her living room. Sometimes she would exercise two times a day by going for a walk and using the rowing machine or doing pilates. Sometimes she would only exercise once a day, and on average, she only took one day off a week.

To make sure she didn’t sit still all that much, she also put her computer on a standing desk. She was writing a cookbook and didn’t want to end up spending a lot of time sitting while she worked. She wrote, “It made a huge difference, and what I found more than anything was that when you are working in a standing position, you are a lot more mobile and prone to step away and take breaks.”

About six weeks into her weight loss journey, she hit a plateau and realized that she needed to focus on building muscle in order to continue to lose weight. She asked her husband, Ladd, “How do I build more muscle, anyway?” She didn’t know that he would actually have the answer. He told her she needed to focus on building muscles in her legs and butt since those muscles were the biggest. Then, he showed her how to do exercises like lunges and squats. 

These new to her exercises didn’t come naturally, but Drummond still focused on her muscle building exercises four days a week. She went from not being able to walk because the exercises were so hard for her to finally being able to do squats and lunges correctly. She wrote, “It’s exciting! And most importantly, I now have palpable muscles in my legs and my butt.”

Along with changing how she exercised in order to gain muscle, Drummond also changed how she ate. She incorporated more protein in her diet. When she first started trying to lose weight, her diet consisted of about 15-20% protein. She changed what she ate to increase it to 30-40% protein.

Besides helping her break through plateaus in her weight loss journey, Drummond found that eating more protein also gave her more energy and helped her feel full faster.

While Drummond ate more protein, she cut back on calories in other areas. She didn’t drink any alcohol, and she cut back on her sugar intake. That doesn’t mean that she didn’t give into her cravings from time to time, but she was more restrained than before she decided to lose weight. For example, if she was going to eat a piece of cake, it was a small piece and it wasn’t something she would eat every day.

Although Drummond didn’t use any diet plans in order to lose weight, she did find one app particularly helpful. The app is called Happy Scale. She explained that it’s a place to track the number you see on the scale each day, and it helped motivate her to keep going. She wrote, “If I had a day where I was up half a pound or had a couple of days where the scale didn’t budge, it helped me visualize that the overall trend was still moving in the right direction.”

Drummond hopes that her weight loss experience helps motivate others that they can do it too and they don’t need any fancy trainers or diet foods. She also shares that what works for her may not work for everyone, but she hopes her fans find her story helpful. She ended her story by writing, “Remember that feeling good, realistic goals, being healthy, and having fun is the way to go!”

Do you find Drummond’s weight loss journey inspiring? Did you learn any weight loss tips from her story? Do you think she’ll be able to keep the weight off long term?

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