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This 25-year-old dropped 80 lbs. and still ate 5 times a day

PopSugar logo PopSugar 6/17/2019 Jenny Sugar

For most of 25-year-old Mara Smith's life, she was a bit overweight. She shared with POPSUGAR, "I feel like I've always been trying to lose weight." She was even let go from the Navy because of her weight. She decided something had to change. Keep reading to learn how Mara finally was able to lose 80 pounds in just under two years.

Mara's history with food and weight

Mara had always struggled with her weight, and when she joined the military, it continued to be an endless battle. She barely made it through boot camp, and said, "I was one pound away from being out of standards."

Living with that amount of stress caused her to gain over 70 pounds in four years. "I was trying every detox, pill, wrap, shake, and insane hack I could, but nothing was working," Mara said. She was desperate to lose the weight but didn't want to change a single thing about her life.

"I was let go from the Navy two months before my original contract was over because I failed to stay within BCA (body composition assessment) standards," Mara said. After that, she spent six months depressed, trying to convince herself to just lose the weight. "I didn't have a giant stressor in my life anymore so there was no excuse."

Mara's weight-loss journey begins

"I was stuck in an endless cycle of waking up, wishing I had made changes the day before, getting upset that I didn't, to then binge and go back to bed," Mara shared. "Everything was starting to fall apart so I knew I needed to change something, or I was going to become a statistic." She tried for a few years and failed and then finally started her journey on February 27, 2017.

She decided to start with the Beachbody program called Insanity. "I told myself if I could actually complete this program, I could do anything!"

Mara finds a supportive group

After Mara completed Insanity and noticed a change physically but not internally, she decided to try something new again. She was invited to join a challenge group and try other Beachbody programs with other women.

"It sounded so weird, but I thought, why not? I had nothing left to lose. Turns out, having a safe place to share my journey was everything I needed," Mara said. "There was zero judgment, we just supported and related to one another. They made me want to show up for myself daily, even if it was just for 30 minutes."

A lot of Beachbody's programs are HIIT-style workouts, which Mara loves because they're quick and convenient, but you still get results. "Plus I can always take them with me when I'm traveling," Mara added.

Mara becomes a Beachbody coach

Working with such a supportive group of women inspired Mara to become a coach to help other women. "Since then I have completed about 13 different Beachbody programs. Because of the different training styles I had available to me, I didn't have a problem breaking plateaus when the time came."

Mara's diet

Mara followed the Beachbody nutrition plans as well as she could and said, "I'm still human, and I was learning a lot when I first started."

Counting calories and logging her food just wasn't her thing. In an Instagram post, she wrote, "When I first started my journey I had no idea how to find or create a meal plan. I was trying to count calories on an app, and I assumed 1,200 was my max every day. Well, boy, was I wrong!"

With the Beachbody portion control container system, eating was so simple for her. Each colored container corresponds with a type of food (such as veggies or protein), so you know exactly what to eat and how much.

Mara said, "because they use the container system in every program, I never had to relearn anything; just adjust the amounts based on the program's intensity."

What Mara eats in a day

When Mara was first losing weight, here's what a typical day of eating looked like:

  • Breakfast: protein shake with two servings of veggies in it, she said, "because I didn't like eating my vegetables."
  • Snack: yogurt with berries
  • Lunch: leftovers from dinner the night before
  • Snack: toast with half a banana and peanut butter
  • Dinner: "Dinner was simple because I always made sure to have a veggie, protein, and carb container for my meal. Chicken tacos are made every Tuesday in my house!"

"I still use my containers, but now I just eat more of them to maintain my weight," Mara said.

When Mara reached her goal

Mara began her weight-loss journey at 212 pounds, with a goal to lose 77 pounds. On November 6, 2018, she reached that goal! The last three pounds came off on their own when she was completing the Transform 20 program in January of 2019, making it a total of 80 pounds lost!

Mara's nonscale victories

Mara's biggest pant size was a 14, and now she's down to a size four. So many pairs of her pants went from too tight to too loose. "I no longer have issues with towels wrapping around me or being able to walk around Disney all day!" She also said, "I can do an actual push-up and pull-up now, something I've never been able to do!"

How Mara stays motivated

"Motivation isn't something that keeps me going, discipline is," Mara said. When she's struggling to stay on track, she always thinks of her "why." "I make my why extremely personal so it can be enough to make me press play for 30 minutes that day."

Mara also checks in with her challenge group because she said if these women can show up daily with zero excuses, so can she! "You'll always see me on my IG stories having a dance party in my kitchen because shaking my *ss always puts me in better mood!" Mara said.

Mara's advice

Mara's biggest piece of advice is "just keep going, because either way, the time is going to pass, so you might as well do something good for your body." She wants to remind us that results won't happen overnight — she's gained a lot of patience throughout this journey.

"Even when you see the scale go back up or maybe it doesn't move, just know you are heading in the right direction," Mara said. "So don't give up; you only fail if you quit!"

Here are some inspiring words from Mara to leave you with: "This is a journey to start living your life the way you've always wanted to. You're going to mess up, miss some workouts, or have way too many cheats in a weekend, and it's going to be OK! There's nothing saying you can't wake up the next day and try again!"

(VIDEO) Having a desk job has led the average person to gain this much weight (Courtesy: Buzz60) 

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