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My name is Colleen Raines (@colleen_getslean), and I am 34 years old. I’m from Hesperia, California, and I’m a stay-at-home mom. By walking every day and following an “in, calorie out” or CICO diet, I lost 90 pounds.



I have always been overweight, even as a child. But in my heavier daily tasks, such as maintaining my hygiene and putting on shoes, became difficult. I was constantly tired, brooding, overwhelmed and unhappy, and I didn’t recognize myself. I was definitely not the woman and mother I wanted to be.

My turning point was seeing three photos of myself at three different events in February and March 2020. I had no idea my weight had changed so much. I never really saw myself as overweight. It was truly a shock. It was as if the blinders had pulled back.

By April 2020 at the age of 33, my weight had peaked at 268 pounds. The ladder kept climbing. I knew I had to do something. On May 9, 2020, I started documenting my journey on social media as a form of accountability and maybe to help people in the same boat as me.

When it came to choosing a diet that would work for me, I looked at my situation.

Being a mom of two toddlers, I knew I needed something simple. I already felt overwhelmed in life, and I didn’t want to add more. I couldn’t pay for a program and didn’t want something that restricts entire food groups. I wanted something that I could do and maintain all my life.

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I started out by just counting calories and tracking everything I ate and drank. It really opened my eyes to how much food I was eating and what foods were “worth” the calories. This lifestyle can be defined as CICO (calories in calories out).

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Using several online calculators, I determined what my calorie deficit should be and started to eat at the level. I’ve been doing this for 15 months and have consistently lost weight month after month, still eating all the foods I love, just in moderation. It works because I don’t limit too much and then I stuff myself. I can put anything in my day if I want to. If I want a cookie or ice cream, I can still work on it and keep my deficit going.

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Here is what I eat in a day:

  • Breakfast: Proffee (coffee with a protein shake) and a Fiber One bar.
  • Breakfast: Any wrap, fruit and a salad or protein (chicken or fish) with raw vegetables and a ranch yogurt dip.
  • Snack: Chips, popcorn, a bowl of yogurt parfait or a protein bar.
  • Having dinner: Cabbage-rice, sautéed vegetables and chicken or shrimp, fajitas or do-it-yourself pizza.

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    I started exercising right away.

    It was mostly walking. It is still my primary form of exercise. I started by walking because that was what I had access to, it was free and it was not intimidating. I try to take at least 8,000 steps a day. (Most days are higher!)

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    The walk is easy and very underrated. I also like it because I can do it with my kids. When I can’t go for a walk, I do step exercises on YouTube. I also occasionally do stationary biking, yoga or HIIT sessions.

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    These three changes made the biggest difference in my weight loss results.

    1. I maintain a calorie deficit. Figuring out my deficit, eating within my calorie budget, and staying consistent over a long period of time has led to results every month.
    2. I traded low calorie foods. For example, cauliflower rice instead of regular rice. Plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. Almond milk instead of whole milk.
    3. I stopped calling foods “good” or “bad”. All the food is good in moderation. There are no “good” or “bad” foods.

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      I lost 90 pounds in 15 months.

      I want people to know that weight loss doesn’t have to be extreme, complicated, or all or nothing. You don’t have to delete entire food groups. You don’t have to go to the gym seven days a week or not at all. Keep it simple and get your body moving in some way. You can still enjoy all the foods you love in moderation.

      It is not a race. Keep on going. You can’t ruin everything until you stop. Consistency is the key. If you can be consistent at least 80 percent of the time over a long period of time, you will see results. You will succeed.

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