Shandra Redwine was cleaning out her closet last month when she found her old size-22 wedding dress. She used this time to reflect on her weight-loss efforts and celebrate how far she has come. "What a crazy journey!" she wrote in an Instagram post.
POPSUGAR caught up with Shandra, who gave us some insider details on her journey. She has lost 92 pounds in total so far, and she did it all on her own! "I lost the first 62 pounds by reducing my caloric intake to 1,200," she explained. Rather than following a strict diet, though, Shandra said, "I eliminated all processed food from my diet." By eating healthier foods on the regular, she was able to drop those 62 pounds in a healthy and sustainable way.
In addition to this diet change, Shandra also started exercising more regularly. "Lots of cardio!" she said, which helped her gain confidence in the gym, burn calories, and strengthen her cardiovascular system.
Recently, Shandra made another change in her diet, which she says was the very thing that helped her lose an additional 30 pounds. She told POPSUGAR, "About four months ago, I started the ketogenic diet. Keto is a high-fat, low-carb diet." She eats fewer than 20 grams of carbs a day, but she upped her calorie content to about 1,400 calories a day, depending on her level of activity. "I feel amazing and have never found it easier to lose weight."
She also switched up her workout routine. She's now training for a half marathon, so in addition to the running schedule she made for herself, she also adds in 30 minutes of strength training here and there. "I also do squats and lunges every morning — gotta work on those buns!" Because her body has adjusted to using fat for energy, the keto diet has given Shandra a great amount of energy, and she never feels tired during her workouts.
However, Shandra says the biggest challenge in her weight-loss journey has nothing to do with what she eats or how often she works out. "The biggest challenge in losing a large amount of weight is hands down the mental work. It's really not about the food or the nutrition as much as the life and eating habits," she shared. She has to make the effort every single day to "love myself and to change the habits that led to the weight gain."
"The best advice I could give to someone is to start small but start strong," she suggested. "Pick a change that you can stick to and make a commitment to do it for 21 days." Shandra suggests giving up processed and junk food, as that was the change that gave her the biggest results.
"It only takes a little momentum to start turning things around. If you fall off the wagon, just get back on and start again." BRB, we're getting this etched on a plaque.