Sunday, June 13
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I Counted Calories And Did Resistance Training To Lose 60 Pounds—And Ive Kept It Off For 3 Years – Womens Health

My name is Michelle Cortes (@michellelosing70), and I am 34 and from New York. I am a stay-at-home mom. After experiencing some health issues, I started using a calorie counter app and added resistance, weight training to my workouts and lost 60 pounds.


In 2012, I had my first baby. I was fortunate enough to have no problems conceiving, during the pregnancy, or in labor. After I welcomed my baby, I was a first-time mom working long hours, tired and making unhealthy nutrition choices. I gained a total of 20 pounds during my pregnancy, and I gained 40 pounds after giving birth.

I started trying for baby number two in 2013, but I experienced three miscarriages that year. I decided to stop trying to conceive and focus on my health instead. While my doctor never told me directly that my weight was the cause of my miscarriages, I was convinced that the extra weight I was carrying was causing problems and preventing me from carrying to full-term.

My doctor did recommend that I consider losing some weight so I could have a healthier pregnancy in the future. My blood pressure at the time was high, and my doctor had concerns about me having preeclampsia. I also had joint pain and was always extremely fatigued. I knew I had to make a change if I wanted to eventually have a healthy pregnancy—and a healthy life.

I started my weight-loss journey on August 26, 2014. By May 2015, I had lost 35 pounds, and I was able to get pregnant in June 2015.

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I knew I wanted to continue my weight-loss journey after I had the baby, so six months postpartum I created my Instagram to keep me accountable and to document my journey.

When I started this journey, I knew absolutely nothing about health and fitness. All I knew was that eating fewer calories than you expend in a day was how weight loss happened, at the most simple level. So, I downloaded the free version of MyFitnessPal and started tracking my calories and protein intake. My goal was to eat as much as I could and still lose weight.

I ate a balanced and non-restrictive diet. Even today, I make healthy choices and eat mostly whole foods, but I also include fun foods, like Twinkies and Oreos. I make healthy versions of my favorite fast-food meals, too, like pizza and burgers.

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Here’s what I eat in a day now.

  • Breakfast: Coffee with CoffeeMate sugar-free hazelnut creamer, half a bagel with cream cheese, and two slices of Oscar Mayer turkey bacon.
  • Lunch: Three corn tortillas, 5 oz. of steak, salsa, avocado, and 2 tbsp. of Bolthouse Farm cilantro avocado yogurt dressing.
  • Snacks: Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop Kettle Corn, a pineapple, mango, and spinach smoothie, or a papaya protein shake.
  • Dinner: Chicken breast, homemade fries, and green beans with 2 tbsp. of ketchup and 2 tbsp. of mustard.
  • Dessert: A Twinkie or three Oreos

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    At the beginning of my journey, I started walking five days a week for 45 minutes with my 2-year-old son.

    At the time it was perfect because I could burn some calories while spending time with him.

    After losing 60 pounds with only cardio, I was still self-conscious and not totally happy with my body. I remember coming across an Instagram account of a woman who had a similar weight-loss story to mine—and she appeared strong. I started following her account and realized that what I was missing in my workout routine was weight training.

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    After that revelation, I started doing resistance training at home, and it truly changed my life.

    I began a little over a year ago. I was able to build muscle that completely changed my body composition. Weight training not only helped me build muscle, it also built up my confidence.

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    Now I mostly weight train in the form of two upper-body days, two-lower body days, and one full-body day per week. I include 15 to 20 minutes of cardio, such as running, walking or using my elliptical after my resistance training session. I also like to stay active on my rest days by going on short walks.

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    These three small changes have made a huge impact on my overall weight loss.

    • I cooked most of my meals at home. I prep and pre-planned all my meals. This really helped because I was able to control the ingredients and serving size. I became more knowledgeable about nutrition, and more creative in the kitchen.

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      • I tracked my calories on MyFitnessPal. Tracking calories really taught me how to properly read nutritional labels. I learned how to make healthier choices. Tracking my calories allowed me to include fun foods within my daily calorie without feeling guilty. I am now more knowledgeable about calories and make better food choices without tracking.

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        • I promised myself that I wasn’t going to give up. I told myself I was going to keep going no matter what until I reached my goal. In 2016, I had my second child and had to start over with my weight loss, but I didn’t give up. When I saw no change on the scale, I kept going. When I saw no change in my body, I kept going. I realized health and fitness will always be part of my life. This started as a weight-loss journey and became a lifestyle.

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          I lost a total of 60 pounds in three years, and I have maintained it for three years.

          I want other women to know the most important part of this journey is patience and consistency. You must continue even when you aren’t seeing results because proper weight loss takes time. I realized there is no due date for my health, and I had to trust the process and not rush the results.

          This journey has completely changed my life. I no longer suffer from high blood pressure, extreme fatigue, or joint pain. I gave birth to a healthy second child. I can now keep up with my boys and teach them healthy habits.

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