Ree Drummond, 52, just shared new details about her recent weight loss journey.
The Pioneer Woman lost 43 pounds in four months following 10 specific strategies.
Ree focused her weight loss goals on feeling better and having more energy.
Here's what's happening on the ranch: Ree Drummond, a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman, is living her best, healthiest life with Ladd and the kids. The blogger and cooking show host, 52, is opening up about her 43-pound weight loss journey on her website.
"I'm writing this not as a self-celebration (since it's still very recent, and since I'm still working on it), but (hopefully) as inspiration—because as a 52-year-old lover of food and avoider of exercise, I just really want to share what worked for me," she wrote.
Ree got real with her readers about her health and fitness goals: "'Skinny' has not been my primary goal," she wrote. "What motivated me the most was just wanting to feel better and have more energy."
So, how exactly did she do it? Here are the 10 tips and tricks that helped Ree lose weight, build muscle, and see real results.
1. Ree maintained a calorie deficit.
Ree was honest when she told her readers that diets like Keto and intermittent fasting didn't work for her. Instead, she maintained a calorie deficit, meaning "I expended more calories (through exercise and just basic daily activity) than my body required to maintain my then-weight."
Ree said she used an online calculator to get a rough estimate of her daily calorie count and tried to undershoot it each day. "I'd completely lost track of the calories I was consuming on a daily basis, so it was very helpful to get a handle on what I was looking at," she said.
2. She weighed her food.
Ree also used a digital food scale to weigh everything she ate. "It really woke me up to the portions I had grown accustomed to eating!" she wrote. As she lost more weight and had a better idea of what portion sizes looked like, Ree stopped relying on the scale.
"I still ate good food," she said. "I just ate less of it, and I valued the calories more and made sure I ate things that offered more nutritional bang for the buck."
3. She incorporated exercise into her daily routine.
Ree also said she made exercise part of her day-to-day. "I learned that making time each day to exercise simply had to be done," she wrote. She stopped letting her busy schedule get in the way and instead focused on small moments in her day when she could exercise, like walking her dogs.
"During the past few months, I just chose to be late on a deadline or put off work until the next day so that exercise could happen. It was a simple shift in mindset, but it was important!" she said.
Her favorite ways to get moving? Walking, using a rowing machine, and Pilates. "I exercised 6 days a week," she said. "Sometimes twice a day (morning walk, evening rowing machine), sometimes just once."
4. Ree focused her workouts on strength training.
One of Ree's fitness goals included muscles, so she started building strength training into her workout routine. Ladd (her husband) helped her come up with a rotation of exercises that targeted Ree's legs and butt.
"I had zero strength in my lower body and my legs trembled and gave out," she said. "And I couldn't walk for the first few days!" But now, after lunging, squatting, and deadlifting for four days a week, Ree is seeing real improvement.
"It feels good (as someone who isn't a spring chicken) to actually see and feel new muscles in my bod," she said.
5. Ree added more protein into her diet.
Once she was comfortable with her calorie deficit, Ree also started tracking how much protein she was eating. "Turns out that on a typical day, I had been landing at around 15% to 20% of my calories from protein...so I pivoted and steered my eating so that I was around 30% to 40% protein," she wrote.
Some of her favorite new high-protein foods are low fat plain Greek yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, lean meats, fish, egg whites, and almonds.
6. The cookbook author also ate less sugar.
Ree wanted to get the most out of the foods she was eating. "Most days, I made choices that didn't involve a lot of sugar," she said. "Over time, it really resulted in quite a reduction of wasted calories."
She still treated herself to a slice of cake every once in a while, "but the piece of cake was the size of Rhode Island instead of Texas."
7. Ree completely cut out alcohol.
That's right: Ree went dry. She lists a few reasons for going booze-free. Alcohol is a bunch of empty calories, she reasoned and Ree wanted to give her body a break from drinking while she ramped up her daily exercise.
"Bottom line, I didn't drink a sip of alcohol for over four months," she said. Now, she still drinks occasionally, but she steers clear of high-calorie cocktails.
8. She used an app to track her progress.
Ree also used Happy Scale, a weight-loss-tracking app that shows you your progress toward your goal weight. "It doesn't tell you how to lose weight, and it doesn't track calories, exercise, or anything other than your daily weigh-in," she said.
She says Happy Scale was a big part of her motivation. "It's not ideal if you just want to lose five or ten pounds, but since I had a larger target to hit, it was the right kind of tool for me," she wrote.
9. Ree switched to a standing desk.
As part of her plan to make exercise part of her daily routine, Ree set up a standing desk. "The sheer amount of time I had to be on the computer at my desk was shocking," she said. "I knew that would translate to a lot of sitting, so I dragged an old standing desk out of our mud room and stuck it squarely in our living room."
She says the desk helped remind her to take more breaks and move around throughout the day. "It made a huge difference," she said. Fun fact: Ree was writing another cookbook while losing the weight.
10. She's still losing weight.
Ree says her journey won't be ending any time soon. "I'll keep weighing in every day to have all the information I need going forward, but the number isn't what I'm paying attention to now."
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