Name: Tyler Renee E.
LIVESTRONG.COM Username: Tylerrenee88 (member since 2015)
Age: 28 years old Height: 5 feet 6 inches
BEFORE Weight: 221 pounds Dress/Pant Size: 18/20
AFTER Weight: 130 pounds Dress/Pant Size: 2/4
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your life like before joining LIVESTRONG.COM?
Tyler Renee: Before I discovered LIVESTRONG.COM and the MyPlate Calorie Tracker I was tired all the time. I was extremely sedentary and completely oblivious to how out of shape and unhealthy I was.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your inspiration to make a change?
Tyler Renee: I remember getting on the scale in my apartment one day and beginning to cry when I saw how much I weighed. I hadn’t previously thought of myself as being that out of shape. I realized in that moment that now was the time to make a change in my lifestyle because I no longer wanted to feel disgusted and ashamed of myself.
LIVESTRONG.COM: How did LIVESTRONG.COM help you lose weight?
Tyler Renee: I tracked my food on the MyPlate Calorie Tracker app, and that is the most important way LIVESTRONG.COM helped me in my weight-loss journey. When I began to realize what I was eating (and how many overall calories) I started making healthier choices. Those changes in my diet helped the weight come right off.
I lost 10 pounds in my first week, and I had never been so ecstatic. Eventually, I started doing some of the workouts I found on the LIVESTRONG.COM website. And later I started riding my bike places instead of driving. All in all, it took about four years to lose the weight and keep it off.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your support system like?
Tyler Renee: My best friend Kara was my biggest support during this journey. When she saw I was ready for a change, she decided to jump on board and make healthy changes right along with me. We started making dinner together every night and trying new healthy recipes. Then we joined a gym together and became workout buddies to help keep each other motivated. There is no way I would have been able to do any of it without her support.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s your favorite way to work out?
Tyler Renee: My favorite thing to do now is boot camp classes — 30 minutes of high-intensity cardio mixed with strength training. My alternative favorite workout when boot camp doesn’t fit into my schedule is the elliptical machine for cardio and a circuit of strength training on the weight machines. I love to feel my muscles burning: That’s when I know I will see results.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s your weekly exercise schedule?
Tyler Renee: I usually do two 30-minute boot camp classes Monday through Friday after work. If I can’t make it to those, I usually do either the elliptical or another cardio machine and then a short strength training circuit with weights or resistance bands (or machines if I’m able to get to the gym).
LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s a typical day of meals and snacks?
Tyler Renee: I generally eat three or four meals a day. I’m not usually hungry in the morning, which results in my sometimes skipping breakfast. When I do eat breakfast, I most often opt for a low-carb, high-fiber tortilla with eggs, cheese and either meat or veggies. A typical lunch would be chicken breast and steamed veggies. Mexican cuisine is my favorite, so my go-to dinner several times a week is a rice bowl or low-carb, high-fiber burrito. A favorite snack is apple slices with coconut peanut butter.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s the range of calories you eat per day?
Tyler Renee: I typically eat between 1,300 and 1,600 calories per day, and I focus on getting the majority of my calories from protein.
Although I still track my calories every day, these days I’m more focused on hitting my macronutrient goals as a result of learning more about nutrition and needing to properly fuel my body for the type of workouts I do. I aim for between 130 and 150 grams of protein, 60 to 75 grams of fat and 50 to 75 grams of net carbs daily.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What are the healthy staples that are always in your kitchen?
Tyler Renee: I keep no-sugar-added vanilla almond milk on hand for smoothies if I’m in a hurry. Earth Balance coconut-peanut spread and apples are a must-have snack for me (I literally eat this almost every day). And I always carry Quest bars in my purse for a healthy snack option in case I’m out and about and starving.
LIVESTRONG.COM: How do you strategize for meals?
Tyler Renee: I try to prep my meals for lunch and dinner for Monday through Wednesday on Sunday night, and then I prep for Thursday through Friday on Wednesday night.
Prepping my food makes my week easier, especially after working all day and going to the gym. For food prep I usually cook four to five pounds of chicken breasts and then weigh and portion them out into 4- to 6-ounce servings that I can easily grab during the week. I also steam fresh veggies ahead of time for the next few days of sides.
I occasionally run to the store if I’m out of something during the week, but I try to make my work week as easy as possible, so I do my primary grocery shopping on the weekend.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s the biggest challenge you faced?
Tyler Renee: My biggest challenge came when I was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma at 23 years old. I had been working to lose weight for about a year and had lost about 75 pounds before my diagnosis. Because I was unable to work out (and also because I responded really well to chemo) I gained back 45 pounds by the time I reached remission.
I felt so defeated at first, but ultimately I realized that this was only a hiccup, and I was back to the gym in no time. I eventually got down to less than my original goal weight and felt better than ever.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s your biggest secret to success that you want to share with others?
Tyler Renee: I have heard a lot of people say that rewarding yourself for successes is good, but you shouldn’t do it too often. Personally, I allow myself a cheat meal once a week. Sometimes it’s ice cream, sometimes a burger. But I know that if I don’t let myself have what I really want in that moment, it will bite me in the butt down the road. Also, always celebrate little victories, because each little victory is a stepping-stone to the big victory.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s your life like now?
Tyler Renee: Now, I am a confident, strong and healthy 28-year-old. I will be celebrating five years in remission in just under a month (woo-hoo!), and I still follow almost everything that I shared above. I log my food every day, I go to boot camp and exercise every day and, most importantly, I feel beautiful and empowered when I look in the mirror. I never thought that I would have accomplished any of the things I have so far at my age, but I did, and they changed my life. Anyone can do it — you just have to start.
Ann Rusnak is LIVESTRONG's Sr. Community Manager. Her quest to lose the baby weight before the baby finished elementary school sparked an interest in health and fitness that continues to be a passion to this day. She loves hiking and yoga, and thinks the best exercise is one you can do with a good friend. Over the years, Ann's desire to fit into a certain size has evolved into what she feels is the more important goal of feeling good and having energy to live life to its fullest.