“Macro counting and weight lifting helped me lose 100 pounds”

My name is Shannon Snider (@thehighdeserthaven) and I’m 36 and a mother of two. We live in Oregon and I work full time as a clothing buyer for a retail store. I wanted to be the best, healthiest mom possible for my daughters, so I got into macro counting and weight lifting and lost at least 100 pounds in five years.



I had been overweight my whole life, but the memory that always stood out was my second year orientation in high school. One of the beautiful senior girls made a nasty comment about my weight, a painful moment that I will never forget.

I wasn’t feeling good about myself or feeling confident so I tried all the diets and fads. I often saw results, but they were never lasting because fad diets did not allow me to make a real lifestyle change or provide a way of eating that I could maintain my entire life.

Fast forward to my two pregnancies – I gained weight after both. I also struggled with asthma, an autoimmune disease, and was pre-diabetic.

I started my weight loss journey at the age of 31 after having my second daughter.

I decided after having my second daughter at 31 that I had to change my life. I hated the direction I was going in life and was miserable. I didn’t want my daughters to grow up with a depressed, unhealthy mother who wasn’t 100% there for them. I wanted to set a good example for my daughters and knew that I had to start taking care of myself to be the best possible mother for them.

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I did a 21 day diet challenge to start my journey and started walking every day.

I had tried a lot of plans (Advocare, Keto, HCG diet, low carb diet, intermittent fasting), and generally I would have had great success, but then I would have recovered everything, and sometimes more.

This time I started training three times a week (mostly cardio), and that’s when I really started to notice a change in my body that was lasting. I lost around 70 pounds by following a low carb diet and exercising regularly. I have also used the MyFitnessPal food and nutrient tracker app. My weight was 235 pounds at this point.

It took me about two years to lose most of that weight. Then about two years ago I hit a plateau and couldn’t lose any more weight despite regular training.

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Enter: count macros, which was a game changer for me.

I started working with a macro and workout program trainer, and I’m in a place I never thought I would be! In six months, I lost 30 pounds and hit my goal weight and more.

I have also seen the most changes in my body over the past year. It’s just amazing. With macro counting, I have discovered that the main keys to my success are realizing that carbohydrates are not the enemy (your muscles need it to function!), and this protein is extremely important.

This is what I eat in a day.

  • Breakfast: Bburritos with a whole egg, egg whites and turkey bacon. I use Carb Balance tortillas because they are high in fiber. I am trying to achieve 30-35 grams of fiber per day.
  • Breakfast: Grilled chicken, jasmine rice, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions and sweet chili sauce.
  • Snacks: Protein bar or protein shake.
  • Having dinner: A large salad with a sugar-free dressing, chicken, and sometimes rice or bread (depending on how much carbs I have left or what stage I’m in with my macro count).
  • Dessert: I have a local friend who makes high protein snacks like truffles, cinnamon buns, pronuts, etc. I usually have a truffle after dinner.

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    I started walking right away then started jogging / running but weights always scared me … until now.

    I never considered myself athletic, coordinated, or competitive, so I always avoided lifting. But weightlifting has been the most rewarding and beneficial change for my body. Lifting weights is how you build muscle (and in turn, burn more calories even while at rest) and build muscle definition in your body.

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    Now, I do cardio four times a week (usually 20 to 30 minutes of incline walking) and lift five times a week.

    Typically, I start with stretches and a warm-up and then move on to a push day or glute day, something with a specific game plan.

    For me, the key has been to incorporate ‘progressive overload’ to build muscle, which means I add weight as I get stronger to keep putting more stress on my muscles, so that they adapt and grow. My favorite lifts are the overhead press, Romanian deadlifts, hip thrusts, mine press, and Arnold curls.

    My coach and I change my training plan every month. I love going to the gym at 3 am every morning! It starts my day off right, and I miss the days off. I love to move my body, and in fact, seeing the results has been so rewarding!

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    These three changes led to my weight loss success.

    • I started counting macros. It allows me to enjoy my favorite foods while reaching my calorie goals. I do not deprive myself, but I also make sure to achieve my macro goals. If I want a pizza or want a drink, I plug it in and adjust my meals according to it. If I deprive myself of something on a diet, I will fail … and I know it for myself. For me, macro counting has given me a better understanding of what foods I eat and how much I should be consuming. I feel like I could eventually switch to intuitive eating given the tools macro counting taught me.

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      • I started doing less cardio, more weight. If you want to see real progress and long term success, stop going for miles on the treadmill and pick up some dumbbells. Once I got the basics of lifting and getting in shape, I started increasing my weight, and it’s an endorphin effect like no other. I feel strong and powerful. And most importantly, my daughters are noticing the changes, and they say they want to be strong like a mom.

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        • I drink a lot of water and eat a lot of fiber. If you start to log your water and fiber intake, you will likely learn that you are not getting enough. Once I started hitting my water and fiber goal, the weight started to drop. I started by filling a gallon jug every morning and bringing it to work every day.

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          I have lost at least 100 pounds in five years.

          I’m so proud of myself, and the joy I feel when someone walks up to me and tells me that I inspired them to make a change is unlike any other feeling. Happy people help people. I am so much happier and think I am a better person for those around me because I have decided to take charge of my life and make a change.

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