'I Lost 125 Lbs. With This Low-Carb Diet And Finally Got Off Diabetes Medication I Was On Since My Teens'

·16 min read
Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy

From Women's Health

My name is Samara McKellar (@samara.fit.wlj), and I am 21 years old. I live in Kansas City, Missouri, and I am in college working towards my degree in early childhood education. After having to go on blood sugar medication and struggling to find clothes I felt comfortable going out in, I realized my weight was holding me back. I decided to change my eating habits and lifestyle, and I've lost 125 pounds.

My weight issues have always been apparent in my life. When I was younger, I was slightly overweight, and it made me uncomfortable at times. When I was around 12 years old, I went to an endocrinologist for a check-up, since both of my parents are diabetic. They never officially diagnosed me as pre-diabetic, but my hemoglobin A1C levels (used to screen for diabetes) were high enough to put me on medication to try and lower them and keep me out of the diabetes range.

As I got older, I went from being overweight to medically obese—to then being identified by doctors as morbidly obese. I would try out unhealthy fad diets in high school that would only last a week at most, then I would overeat after giving up. I had many supportive friends and peers in high school, but there were definitely people who also made rude comments that made me feel less-than due to my weight and looks. I saw food as a comforting way to deal with my emotions.

I decided I wanted to lose the weight for good on New Year's Eve in 2017.

I was 18 years old and 294 pounds—and I was trying to find an outfit to wear to a get together with friends. I was getting so upset about how I looked in everything, and how I felt about myself. I couldn’t confidently go out and wear the clothes that I found most girls my age wore. I decided in that moment that I had to stop feeling this way and living out that scenario.

On the first day of January 2018, I told myself that I would work on boosting my self-esteem and my health. I would really try to eat healthier, and just start with one habit at a time.

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Goodmorning & happy fri-YAY!! 🥳 I rarely take non-snapchat dog filtered selfies (lol whoops) so I seized the opportunity to use one for a #facetofacefriday ¿? ** there is about 95 pounds of a difference between these photos ** . . The first picture I took was in April of 2017 and the second I took two days ago 😂 the first picture was my “senior picture” aka what was sent out for family grad party invites... I refused to take actual senior pictures because of how unhappy I was with my looks at the time (my mom was not the happiest about my stubborn-ness on the subject 😅) and how bad I was afraid I would look and feel about myself when afterwards would see how the picture turned out. So as a result- I have an iPhone camera close up as the only “senior picture” of me in existence 🤦🏽♀️ . . . Looking back on the subject honestly makes me sad that I felt that low about myself and I wish I hadn’t let things like that get to me or stop me from normal things like taking senior pictures BUT- a positive for me is the fact that I’ve noticed my confidence has grown since then, and that is a huge non-scale victory for me. I feel 10x more happy/confident with myself since then, and it’s not even solely weight wise or looks wise, but also just coming from within and having confidence with who I am as a person. DEFF a work in progress but I’m happy with the direction that it is going in ☺️ ok I’m done w/ my life novel now but I hope everyone has a fantastic Friday and makes it great! ✨ • • • • • • • • • • • • • #journeytofit #progressnotperfection #transformation #weightlossjourney #motivation #journeytohealth #naturalweightloss #friyay #nonscalevictory #gymmotivation #healthyliving #healthymotivation #weightlosscommunity #weightlosstransformation #nonscalevictories #fitness #beforeandduring #nsv #progress #health #healthylifestyle

A post shared by samara (@samara.fit.wlj) on Apr 19, 2019 at 7:02am PDT

I focused on eating lots of low-calorie, yet filling, foods.

There are *so many* low-calorie foods that are still very dense. This helped me a lot in the beginning because it was hard for my body to adjust from over-eating a ton of food to eating a healthy amount for my weight. However, eating lots of foods like fruits, vegetables, and eggs helped me to feel full for longer, even though they were low calorie.

I chose an eating plan that recommended using a calorie calculator and determined how many calories I could have a day if I wanted to lose one to two pounds a week. I followed that range of calories and used apps like Carb Manager to help me track my foods. I liked the Carb Manager app because it easily displayed calories as well as macronutrients. I also followed a low-carb diet that allowed for about 50 net carbs a day.

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change your mindset = change your lifestyle Yay for officially losing 120 lbs :) happy #transformationtuesday . . The only person who can truly change your life is you. I give all props to myself when I was at my heaviest for realizing I needed to change the way I was living. That time period of my weight loss was the hardest. And sticking with and fostering those changes I needed was NOT easy, but going through everything really made me into the person I am today. I’m not where I want to be but what matters is that I’m working towards it, and living a happy and healthy lifestyle regardless :) . . The picture on the left was about a year before I started. I felt so uncomfy in my body and felt my weight holding me back from doing the things I wanted to do in life. Being 18 and almost 300 lbs really was a hard fact to face, and seeing my weight go up at almost every doctors visit would scare me. . . My change has not only been physically, but mentally too- as well as my whole lifestyle!! So even if you don’t think that you can do it, know that it is SO possible because I was in the same boat. Pushing myself was the best thing I could’ve done and I can’t thank myself for it. ** 290+ lbs in pic on the left 170 lbs in pic on the right ** • • • • • #transformation #transformationtuesday #weightlossjourney #motivation #weightlosscommunity #progressnotperfection #gymlife #fitnessmotivation #gymmotivation #lowcarb #intermittentfasting #nutrition #caloriecounting #workoutmotivation #beforeandafter #healthyliving #weightlosstransformation #fitness #naturalweightloss #naturalweightlossjourney #weightlossmotivation #beforeandduring #progress #weightloss #health #healthylifestyle #100poundsdown #100poundweightloss #120lbsdown

A post shared by samara (@samara.fit.wlj) on Oct 29, 2019 at 8:34am PDT

Here’s what I typically eat in a day now:

  • Breakfast: A banana smoothie with powdered peanut butter, almond milk, and a little Stevia.

  • Lunch: Protein burger (chipotle black bean burger, chicken patty, or turkey burger) on a low-calorie bun with light or sugar-free condiments. For my sides, I usually have grapes or an orange and veggie chips. Chicken Caesar salads are also one of my go-to lunches.

  • Snacks: Mini cheddar rice cakes, veggie chips, hard-boiled eggs, sweet potato chips, or Wheat Thins with light string cheese. Frozen fruit with vanilla Greek yogurt is also one of my favorite snacks.

  • Dinner: Some sort of healthy carb with protein and veggies, like a chicken stir fry or salmon with a baked potato and mixed vegetables.

  • Dessert: Chocolate hummus with frozen strawberries, or a chocolate rice cake with peanut butter on top. Also, a fruit bowl with a little bit of Stevia and light whipped cream usually satisfies my sweet tooth.

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Hi and happy Sunday! 🤗 This is a random assortment of stuff I got at hyvee the other day! Spent a lil less than $50 on all this. Planning on using the vegetable broth to make a good homemade veggie soup. :) . Something I have not shared on here yet: I have cut out meat from my diet for the past two weeks! I lost 120+ lbs while still having meat so it isn’t really a weight loss based decision, just decided I wanted try going meatless for various different reasons. However, I am trying to do this until I get down to my goal weight, since after then I will want to focus on gaining muscle and will honestly have to change my eating habits compared to how they have been the past 2 years! I’m not sure with what weight I’d be happy with as my goal weight before then but I’m guessing 140-145 lbs. . . I got some vegan options for the days I’m craving the taste of meat and kind of as a “treat.” Trying to keep my meals filled with eggs/plant based and only have those options when I crave something similar to meat. Same with the light ice cream 😂 . . As for being sick and my gym time! I got on a steroid for my tonsillitis and sinus stuff wednesday and still don’t feel well.. I felt good the following day, then the next I was back to being sick. They told me to call back today if I need the antibiotic so I did that but they put me on an antibiotic that hasn’t worked for me the past 3 years and didn’t want to change the prescription when I told them it had not worked for me in the previous years.. the whole situation and not having a doctor I see easily and having to go to these clinics has been very upsetting. I haven’t felt healthy in 2 weeks, and also haven’t been able to go to the gym in 2 weeks and it is affecting my progress physically, as well as mentally making me feel down. So! If you are physically feeling well and can go to the gym.. do a workout for me please because I miss it and feeling well more than ever. 😕 I hope everyone else is having a great week though!! Almost to Christmas 🎄 . #weightlossjourney #100lbslost #nutrition #healthylifestyle #weightlossmotivation #vegetarian #healthyfood #fitnessjourney

A post shared by samara (@samara.fit.wlj) on Dec 22, 2019 at 8:41am PST

I also cut out almost all beverages with added sugar. Before I started trying to change my habits, there were days I’d have two sweet teas or lots of soda. Now, I stick to water, green tea, and Crystal Light beverages. I realized the empty calories in sugary drinks never actually filled me up.

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goodmorning + happy thursday guys!! 🤗 i finally used the riced cauliflower i had a couple weeks ago and never posted an update (v late haha) but, it is a new favorite! literally have had it with most of my meals that entire week that I made it. . . The bag I made lasted like 5 days but I also only used 1/3 of a cup of it in most of the wraps I made which is why I think I had so much of it! . . It’s a new favorite of mine also because it is so filling and low carb/low cal- so I don’t feel hungry still after I eat! all of these meals were low carb too so that is a plus :) . . one of my fav tortillas to have is the spinach herb carb balance one! it is only 60 calories and 3 net carbs so I never feel like I’m missing out when I have it. . . i would give it a shot if you haven’t already!! i have some friends who think it’s gross but honestly, I haven’t had rice in about 2 months and having the cauli rice mixed in with stuff was a nice alternative so- i’m glad I gave it a chance! there’s also pre seasoned types you can get that I heard are really good as well :) i hope everyone has a great day today! fingers crossed 🤞🏽 . . also- back at my pre-weekend weight today so yay! ready to NOT let the same thing happen again this weekend and am excited to get into the 160’s soon 😂 • • • • • • • #lowcarb #countingmacros #intermittentfasting #naturalweightloss #lowcarbfood #weightlosstransformation #weightlossjourney #dirtyketo #ketomeals #portioncontrol #healthyliving #healthylifestyle #carbmanager #countingcalories #balanceddiet #ketofriendly #fitness #health #weightlossmotivation #cauliflowerrice #caulirice #lowcarbdiet #weightloss #lowcarbhighfat #100lbsdown #lowcarbburrito #lowcarbwraps

A post shared by samara (@samara.fit.wlj) on Sep 26, 2019 at 7:10am PDT

By April 2018, I was going to the gym three to five days a week.

I believe that weight loss is 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise. Going to the gym helped motivate me to keep my eating on track. I wanted to keep my word to myself to eat healthy and make sure all the hard work I put in at the gym wouldn’t go to waste by cheating too much on my diet. The gym also helped lift my mood and put me in a positive mindset when thinking about my weight-loss journey.

Usually my workouts consist of walking one-and-a-half or two miles on the treadmill, then doing 5 to 10 minutes on the StairMaster. After that, I will do some arms, abs, or legs.

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good morningggg and happy friday!!! 😁 the past month has been chaotic for me so i haven’t posted onto my feed in a while but! i am back and will try to post at least 2 times a week to keep myself accountable :) but today will be a #flashbackfriday! . . the photo on the left I took a couple days ago and was 172 lbs, the photo on the right I believeee was taken in June of 2018 and was about 260 lbs, 30 pounds down from my highest weight! . . these photos just give me extra motivation to reach the rest of my fitness goals!! I’m about 4 lbs up from my lowest weight but I am not surprised/disappointed with that considering how bad some of my meal choices were at the beginning of this month. I was struggling to get back on track and be how I was before the holidays but I am finally 100% back! . . Weather + my school and work schedule has been making it hard to hit the gym so, I’m making sure to really stick to eating 1,300 calories a day and make healthy eating choices, which this has been the first week i 100% did that so yay! 🥳 . . I hope everyone had an a great week and a good weekend as well ☺️ . . . . . #weightlossjourney #motivation #weightlosscommunity #beforeandduring #gymlife #fitnessmotivation #gymmotivation #lowcarb #intermittentfasting #nutrition #caloriecounting #workoutmotivation #beforeandafter #healthyliving #weightlosstransformation #fitness #naturalweightloss #naturalweightlossjourney #weightlossmotivation #beforeandduring #progress #weightloss #health #wlj #weightlossstories #healthylifestyle #120poundsdown #100poundweightloss #transformation

A post shared by samara (@samara.fit.wlj) on Jan 24, 2020 at 6:57am PST

I’ve lost a little over 125 pounds in about two years.

I knew nothing about fitness and health before I had decided to seriously change my habits, but I became informed and dedicated. I went from a size 22 to a size 8. I am also happy to say, I no longer need that diabetes A1C medication. My blood work has come back at normal levels since losing so much weight.

I feel like a truly happy person on the inside, and so much healthier and free. I still enjoy my treats and my cheat meals in moderation, but I have found a new passion in my life. This journey made me realize how important self-love is regardless of size or weight. My weight and health were holding me back, and getting healthy was the best decision I’ve ever made.

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happy #transformationtuesday!! also a late #motivationmonday becuse I know that’s what I’ve been needing 😂 Since I’ve hit 170 lbs my weight has been fluctuating between 170-175 this past week, and I think that was mostly due to consistency, water weight, etc. and a bit of stress from school. SOO i’ve been trying really hard this week to be on track to see a change in the scale (even though that is definitely not the only way to measure progress!!) The best way for me to do that (even with a HECTIC schedule) is to PLAN. Plan out meals, plan out workouts, and try your best to plan out cheat meals/treats and not over-indulge! Planning while also tracking what I eat has been key in the times I’ve been the most successful and consistent. I know for some people they don’t enjoy that, but for me I will end up accidentally overeating if not so! It sets up a nice guideline for me to follow. . . I’ve also decided I want to start back up intermittent fasting! I made a post about it when I first started this account but I be doing the 8/16 hr method! Eating time frame will most likely be from 1 pm-9pm, since that works the best with my work schedule. That was something I did in the past when I first had started to work out, and with the holiday season coming up I think it will a good way to ensure I don’t over eat at night w/ the sweet treats available around me 😂 I hope everyone is having a great tuesday so far!! 🤩 **290 in the first photo, 170 in the second** • • • • • • • #transformation #transformationtuesday #weightlossjourney #motivation #weightlosscommunity #progressnotperfection #gymlife #fitnessmotivation #gymmotivation #lowcarb #intermittentfasting #nutrition #caloriecounting #workoutmotivation #beforeandafter #healthyliving #weightlosstransformation #fitness #naturalweightloss #naturalweightlossjourney #weightlossmotivation #beforeandduring #progress #weightloss #health #healthylifestyle #100poundsdown #100poundweightloss #120lbsdown

A post shared by samara (@samara.fit.wlj) on Nov 5, 2019 at 12:44pm PST

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