On WW, I Ate a Plant-Based Diet and Applied the CICO Rule to Lose 65 Pounds

Sharee Grimsley, as told to Emily Shiffer
Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy

From Prevention

My name is Sharee Grimsley (@reewriting__mystory) and I'm 31. I live in North Carolina, and I'm a stay-at-home mom. I was motivated to lose weight after developing high blood pressure and struggling to take care of my newborn. I practiced calorie counting with WW, running, and doing Fitness Marshall dance videos at home.

I had always been an overweight person. To be honest, I don't remember a time growing up where I was not overweight or obese. My main issue was that I didn't care about what I ate or how much I ate. I just ate. I was not brought up to care about nutrition or fitness, and those bad habits stuck with me throughout most of my adulthood. At my heaviest weight, I was over 320 pounds.

I have three children, and every time I was pregnant, I was told I had high blood pressure. After my third child, I was put on blood pressure medicine temporarily. I was so young, and it was a very scary feeling knowing I needed medication to help regulate my blood pressure.

On March 7, 2017, I was getting ready for work when I realized my pants no longer fit.

I even noticed I had rips in the inner thighs of my pants where they had been rubbing together for so long and gave way. I looked in the mirror and decided I had to change.

Between March 2017 and April 2018, I lost 80 pounds. Then, I learned that I was pregnant in April 2018, and with that all my motivation and interest in living a healthy lifestyle went out the window.

I gained *all* the weight back plus more during my pregnancy. I had my son on January 16, 2019, and I was out of breath trying to care for my newborn along with my other two small children. I knew I needed to get back to living a healthy lifestyl—and I started back on my weight loss journey in February 2019.

So, I became a vegetarian and have been eating that way since 2017.

It was just a personal choice at the time, but I now love how eating plant-based makes my body feel. I also practice calorie counting and stay in a calorie deficit, following what's known as a "calories in, calories out", or CICO, diet rule.

This is easy for me because I can still enjoy carbs and treats that fit into my daily calories and I do not feel deprived of any foods. Before, I was extremely strict about what I ate, and it caused me to binge eat. It was a vicious cycle. Calorie counting is a great way for me to enjoy all foods and still lose weight.



In April 2020, I chose to give WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) a go with the coronavirus pandemic going on.

With having to stay at home more, I knew I needed a simpler way of tracking my food intake. I had a lot going on with adjusting to homeschooling my kids, and I needed more tools to keep me on track. With WW, I can just scan the barcode on different foods and points will keep track of themselves. It has made my life a lot easier.

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

  • Breakfast: Two large eggs with cheese, strawberries, and coffee.

  • Lunch: Cheese tortellini with pasta sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

  • Snacks: Anything with peanut butter paired with it, like celery, apples, and pretzels. I also *love* cheese.

  • Dinner: Plant-based meat substitutes (I love Gardein products!), brown rice, and a veggie.

  • Dessert: Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt. So many flavors and only 100 calories.

When it comes to working out, I enjoy cardio.

I love running on the treadmill, and I have one at my house. It’s so convenient and leaves me no excuses to not work out. I also enjoy doing dance cardio using YouTube videos. The Fitness Marshall is my fave! Anything that is fast-paced and gets my heart and blood pumping is good for me.

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#flashbackfriday #facetofacefriday . -Xo Ree💋

A post shared by R E E || WW (@reewriting__mystory) on May 15, 2020 at 10:45am PDT

These three changes have made the biggest impact on my overall weight loss.

Change one: I decided to truly love myself where I was. I had to learn to love me right where I was in order to be successful in my weight loss journey. In the past, I would talk negatively to myself and it made it hard to lose weight. Once I truly loved who I was, I was able to lose weight and enjoy who I am.

Change two: I stopped comparing my journey to others. I found myself always comparing my weight loss story to someone else's. I would go on Instagram, telling myself it was to look for inspiration and motivation, but once I looked at others’ accounts, I found myself depressed and miserable. I would say things like, "I wish I looked like her! I want to have her body. How can she lose weight so fast and I can’t?" These thoughts made it hard for me to progress on my journey. So, once I stopped comparing and actually used others as motivation, I was able to use their techniques and apply them to my life how I saw fit. And I have made some great friends online, people who lift me up and keep me going.

Change three: I made small, realistic changes. In the past, I tried all the latest fad diets and would wonder why so many people could be successful and I couldn’t. But then I did research and figured out what worked best for me and my lifestyle for the long term. Just making small and simple changes to my everyday life has made the greatest impact. I made changes gradually. For example, I used to drink two large McDonald’s sweet teas a day, which I cut down to three a week, and now I only drink unsweetened tea.

I have lost 65 pounds—and I'm still going!

I want to encourage other women to do their own research on healthy living and figure out what works best for them in their life. I know there are a ton of amazing weight loss programs out there, but not everything is for everyone, and that’s okay. It's your life, and you must live it for you.

Once I figured out how to eat clean, and how to still have treats while losing weight, it was a game changer for me. You do not have to cut out all carbs and sugars to lose weight. All you must do is figure out how it can work for you, which is why I love calorie counting. It is possible to live a healthy life, enjoy cookies, and lose weight.

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