What a difference six months can make. Lucy Bergin, a 20-year-old personal trainer, documented her weight loss in a viral TikTok video that shows half a year of exercise and eating right go by in 30 seconds.
Bergin started in November of 2020, taking a photo in front of a calendar every day dressed in the same bikini, and continued until April of this year. She weighed 168 pounds at the beginning of the video diary and 140 pounds at the end of it — a striking difference on her 4-foot-11-inch frame.
It wasn’t Bergin’s first time to try to slim down: She’d been overweight as a child and the weight started rising again in college.
“I struggled with a few things and life hit me really hard. I wasn't expecting it,” Bergin, who lives in Tampa, Florida, told TODAY.
“Growing up, I was home schooled and so I didn’t play any sports. I have siblings, but we didn't really do anything active and so I turned eating into an unhealthy habit. When I was feeling sad, I would eat.”
Bergin had scoliosis and had to wear a brace for 22 hours a day for a year when she was 11. Doctors warned her not to exercise heavily because she could cause more injury to her body.
By the time she was 17, Bergin weighed 215 pounds with a body mass index that put her firmly in the obese category. When she started working out, Bergin became certified as a personal trainer to make sure she wouldn’t hurt herself, she said. Still, slimming down was a challenge.
“I've tried to lose weight over the years and I was never able to stay consistent with it,” she noted.
As she started training for a bodybuilding competition last fall, Bergin saw other TikTok body transformation diaries and decided to create her own. She hopes to help others achieve similar results with Gritttfit, a personal training service she started with her best friend.
Here’s how Bergin lost the weight:
Start by eating right
Though she spends almost every day at the gym lifting weights and doing cardio, Bergin focused on what she was putting on her plate.
“It really did come down to my diet because you can't outwork (a bad) diet in the gym,” she said.
She ate about 1,600 calories a day and consumed the same meals every day because that strategy worked for her.
A sample menu included:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with protein powder, blueberries and peanut butter mixed in.
Lunch: Chicken with vegetables and rice.
Dinner: Salmon with asparagus and rice.
Snacks: Rice cake with peanut butter and a protein shake.
There’s no one plan that works for everyone — you have to figure out what works for your body, she advised. Her best friend lost a similar amount of weight by doing the ketogenic diet, while Bergin preferred to do a more carb- and protein-focused diet. She also tried to avoid sugar.
Don’t starve yourself
Many women make the mistake of eating too few calories — 1,200 a day or fewer — which can send the body into starvation mode and make it hold on to fat because it doesn't know when it's going to get its next meal, Bergin said.
“I was eating a lot more food actually” during the six-month challenge, she recalled.
Find exercise that works for you
For Bergin, that meant going to the gym six days a week and working out about two-and-a-half hours a day for the months depicted during the first half of the video diary. The sessions included an hour-and-a-half of weights and abs, plus an hour of cardio.
“I was going extremely hard core,” she said. “I didn't have a job at the time and so I had a lot of time on my hands.”
Bergin viewed a session at the gym in the same way she thought about brushing her teeth or taking a shower: a must-do task that had to get done every day. The other motivation came from her best friend who was training with her and would keep her on track on days when she didn’t feel like exercising.
Remember: You’re not alone
Scrolling through social media, it may feel like everyone has been active their whole lives and has never overcome being overweight, but that’s not true — with Bergin hoping she and her best friend can serve as fitness models to get inspired by.
“We decided to help other girls know that they're not alone and know that they're never at a place where it's too late to start to put themselves first,” said Bergin, who has gained about 10 pounds since the end of the viral video.
“I didn't know that we’d be able to touch so many people and it makes me want to cry.”