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3 simple steps this woman took to lose 65 pounds in 1 year

Leigha Pindroh found that making healthy substitutions and exercising more helped her shed 65 pounds and keep it off.
/ Source: TODAY

After Leigha Pindroh had her second son, she visited her doctor for a six-week checkup and received a surprise when she stepped on the scale: It read 240 pounds.

“I was like ‘Oh my God I can’t take this anymore.' That was my something needs to change (moment),” the 28-year-old marketing professional, based in Pittsburgh, told TODAY.

When Pindroh was in high school she was overweight, according to her body mass index (BMI), but she always exercised, which kept her weight manageable. During her freshman year of college she gained about 30 pounds, and each year after, she gained another 10 pounds. At the end of college she weighed 215 pounds thanks to late night junk food like nachos and pretzels — and she was also drinking more.

Soon after, she married her childhood sweetheart, Todd, and became pregnant with her first son. After having the baby, she lost some of the pregnancy weight, but never returned to her pre-college weight. Then she became pregnant again and the cycle repeated itself.

“I was not active or eating well,” she explained.

After that appointment in December 2017, Pindroh decided to set a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and subscribed to WW (formerly Weight Watchers). At the time there was a promotion: People who lost 10 pounds in three months received a free month. Pindroh thought she could accomplish that. It also gave her a modest goal to work toward. She quickly learned that losing 10 pounds was easier than she thought. In just one month, she shed her goal weight and felt more comfortable already.

“I was feeling a little better and thinking I could actually do this,” she said.

Why WW worked

Pindroh liked that she didn’t have to cut any foods from her diet. She still eats carbs, for example. But she does make healthier choices. Instead of nachos with cheese as a side for tacos, she pairs them with black beans or brown rice. If she wants chicken nuggets, she gets them with of fruit instead of fries.

“We eat so many fruits and vegetables,” Pindroh said. “It is really easy not to deprive yourself of things you like.”

After losing consistently in the first three months to weigh about 200 pounds, she started exercising by following a couch-to-5K program. That April, she ran her first 5K.

“I have been running three to four times a week. I think that has been really helpful,” she said.

As she continued losing weight she incorporated more exercise, such as cycling.

“I feel so much better now that I am moving more,” she said.

Finding motivation

About a month into her weight loss she started her Instagram account, Watch Leigh Get Fit, as a way to keep herself accountable and track healthy recipes. But Pindroh found that seeing others’ successes motivated her.

“Watching people, sharing information and seeing how much weight they lost I thought ‘I can do this, too,” she said.

From January 2018 to January 2019 she lost 65 more pounds and she has been maintaining her weight between 173 to 176 pounds. She loves how far she has come.

“There are just so many things you don’t think are holding you back when you’re overweight. This is a lot easier,” she said.

Pindroh shares advice to others hoping to shed some weight.

1. Don’t drink your calories.

Prior to 2018, Pindroh enjoyed a caramel latte every day, but skipped breakfast. She didn't realize how caloric her java was.

“The amount of sugar in them is insane. You don’t even realize how many calories you are putting in your body,” she said.

2. Make plans.

Pindroh still enjoys going out to eat or eating indulgent foods, but she sticks to a healthy diet beforehand.

“I think planning your day is a huge thing. If you know something big is coming up … enjoy it,” she said.

3. Find a little help.

Her husband, Todd, often grocery shops and cooks. He uses an app to figure out what foods to buy and which ones to skip. Having Todd in her corner, along with people from social media, really helps Pindroh stay strong.

“Support is huge,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without my husband.”

For more weight-loss inspiration, check out our My Weight-Loss Journey page. Interested in changing your habits? Sign up for our One Small Thing newsletter for extra support.