“I used MyFitnessPal and did home workouts to lose 85 pounds”

My name is Ashleigh Thurmond (@ashleigh_thurmond) and I am 33 years old. I live in Georgia and am a wife, mom of three and a certified personal trainer. When I realized that my weight might put me at a higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19, I decided to make a change for the sake of my family. By training 30 days in a row at home and counting my calories, I was able to lose 85 pounds.


I had been overweight for many years. I gained 70 pounds in my first pregnancy in 2013 and never lost it all. Really, I was a little overweight when I first started this pregnancy. Over the years, I have continued to win. I ate for all the emotions: happy, sad, crazy, anxious. The food was my comfort.

I never liked to train. The only gym membership I ever had was in college, and I used that for the free tanning beds. My knees were in terrible shape and I had difficulty walking up the stairs due to my height and weight.

But I finally realized that I was in very poor health and medically obese when COVID-19 occurred.

I remember watching Hello america every day during the lockdown, and hearing that you are at greater risk of dying from COVID if you were medically obese.

Being in the obese category and scared me. I had a family. I had a husband and two young children who depended on me. I was afraid of dying and leaving my family if I got sick from my weight. I decided at that point that I would make a change.

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So, in May 2020, I made a commitment to train every day.

I watched YouTube videos and some days I only did 15 minutes, but nothing stopped me from working out in the living room daily. When I first started I couldn’t do a lunge because my knees were aching so badly. It was embarrassing. My son laughed at me, not out of spite, but because I looked so ridiculous for trying to make the moves. Jumping jacks were impossible.

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I struggled in every move, but tried my best. Nothing stopped me, and I didn’t miss a single day for 30 days. At the end of the 30 days, I realized that I would be wasting my time training if I wasn’t going to change my eating habits.

I did some research and learned that there was a calorie deficit.

I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app and started tracking my calories. I started to drink water. I concentrated and the weight started to drop.

My self-control with food improved so much. I used exercise instead of food to clear my mind. I realized that I didn’t mind eating because I was careful about what I put in my body. I was able to have a bite of cake instead of everything. I could eat a few fries from my kids’ Happy Meal instead of my usual big ones with an extra side of 10 chicken nuggets. I made small trades like Greek yogurt in place of sour cream and low calorie bread.

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I never ate a strict meal plan. I just decided to stick to my calories and adapt the foods I wanted. If I wanted a cheeseburger, I would eat the cheeseburger and make sure it fit in my calories for the day. If I wanted something sweet I would eat it, but adjust the rest of my daily calories to fit the sweet treat.

I am able to savor the foods I love in moderation while practicing self-control and staying within my calorie budget. I’ve learned over time how important protein is and made it a priority at every meal. I try to eat at least 20 grams per meal and snack.

This is what I eat in a day now.

  • Breakfast: Egg white sandwich. I make three egg whites (sometimes two whites and a whole egg) with American cheese on Carbmaster multigrain bread. I use a piece of Laughing Cow Light cheese as the mayo. Sometimes I add spinach. It contains a lot of protein and keeps me full for a while! I love black coffee at home. If I go out of the coffee, I order an espresso with sugar-free vanilla syrup and almond milk.
  • Breakfast: Four ounces of cold cuts, with a slice of cheese, mustard, lettuce and tomato on a high fiber, low calorie wrap. I love Quest chips with it. They have a lot of protein and I always satisfy my craving for salty.
  • Snacks: Blueberry cottage cheese! I have this every day. Sometimes I sprinkle with Stevia if I need something sweet. I love low fat Greek yogurt with fruit and honey or stevia too. I like veggies with hummus or my own ranch version which I make with Greek yogurt and a Hidden Valley Ranch package.
  • Having dinner: Whatever I cook for my family, I’ll eat it and just fit it into my calorie budget. I love the taco salads. I just skip the shell, according to my budget for the day, and have meat (93% ground beef typically), cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, low-fat Greek yogurt. fat, salsa and whatever else I want to throw away.
  • Dessert: Fiber One brownies are reheated in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds. These have been a staple. Sometimes I add a teaspoon of peanut butter if I feel like it. Heating them up is the key! They don’t taste as delicious right out of the box. You can also serve your brownie with a scoop of low-calorie Enlighten ice cream.

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    I started exercising before changing my diet.

    I made a commitment to exercise every day for 30 days. Some nights I would get out of bed, do a 15 minute HIIT YouTube video, and go back to bed so I could say I had worked out. I refused to miss a day during those 30 days. This is really what started my weight loss journey. I have never been to the gym. I’m a busy mom of three and honestly don’t have time to go to the gym. If I train at home I have no excuse.

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    For the first five months of my trip, I didn’t even own a training mat. I started incorporating dumbbells about six months later and fell in love with weight training. I firmly believe that you don’t need much to get started or even to be successful in your workouts. Bodyweight exercises can transform your body over time if you are consistent.

    Currently I train five days a week and the other two days I rest or do light workouts to get my body moving. It makes me feel good to have a certain type of movement.

    These three changes led to my weight loss success.

    1. I kept track of my calories and stayed in a calorie deficit. Learning what I was really putting into my body opened my eyes. When I could see what I was eating it made so much sense why I was so overweight. Once I found out about a calorie deficit, I made sure to eat it regularly and the weight loss really started.

    2. I started to move my body daily. I move my body almost every day. I don’t do super intense workouts every day, but try to get some form of movement. Training helps my mental state as much, if not more, than my physical body. I feel so much better and more energized after moving my body. I really fell in love with it.

    3. I stayed consistent. There have been so many times the scale has stopped moving. There have been so many times that I have felt like what I was doing was not working. But I’ve learned that if I stay consistent, refuse to give up when I feel like it isn’t working, and keep doing the things I know I’m supposed to do no matter how I feel, the things I know I’m supposed to do. results will come. It takes time. It is not a race. There is no finish line. When you hit your target weight, you won’t worry about how long it took you to get there. Motivation comes and goes, but discipline and consistency are essential.

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    During my trip, I lost 85 pounds.

    I got pregnant in January 2021 and have been training throughout my pregnancy. I had never felt stronger. I gained 47 pounds and had my son in September 2021. I have 13 pounds left to hit my 150 pound goal again!

    It is very important to set other goals in addition to goals of scale. Some of my first off-scale goals were to be able to lunge and feel comfortable in shorts. It feels good to have other goals to check off, especially when the scale is slowly changing. Instead, pay attention to the steps and pictures of progress.

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    I have learned that I am so much stronger than I thought I was. My mind is strong. My body is strong. I deserve to make myself a priority. What I thought was just weight loss has changed my life in so many ways. Yes, I am wearing a size 6 now and not a size 20, but I have also gained confidence in myself. I feel in good health. I have a healthy BMI. I have a healthy relationship with food. I have control of myself. I love lifting weights and seeing how much stronger I get as the days go by. I am not hiding behind my children in the pictures. I don’t back down when I see a candid photo of myself.

    I feel good when I see myself. I feel good inside and out. I am so proud of myself. I never dreamed that I would be so healthy. I never dreamed of owning a business that would help women lose weight and gain confidence. I never dreamed that I would feel better at 33 than in high school. It was an amazing trip filled with a lot of sweat and even tears at times. The best part is, my trip isn’t over and never will be.

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