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A 27-year-old woman has shared how she shed 127 pounds in 18 months after giving up her Dunkin’ Donuts breakfasts and making other transformative lifestyle changes.
When she was 24, Keenan Siegal weighed 272 pounds and was a size 18, and started her day with sugary coffees and calorie-dense meals, frequenting fast-food outlets multiple times a week.
After coming to the shocking realization her knees were swollen after taking part in a Pilates class, she decided she needed to make some dramatic changes to her lifestyle.
Fast forward a few years and Keenan, from Connecticut, is now a fitness instructor – advising others on how to achieve the heathy habits that changed her life.
At 24, Keenan was struggling with her body and was experiencing alarming physical symptoms from low-impact exercise
She decided to try WeightWatchers just to see if she could lose a few pounds- but found herself completely changing her lifestyle
After having the terrifying experience of realizing she won’t be able to physically continue to take part in even low-impact exercise classes, Keenan first decided to reassess her eating habits when tackling her unhealthy lifestyle.
She started with nixing her morning stop to Dunkin’ Donuts, where she would buy a large sugary iced coffee and a bagel – or two – laden with cream cheese.
‘Then I would get lunch out, and dinner would be a very highly caloric meal,’ Keenan told Newsweek. ‘There was no intentional decision-making for any of my food choices.’
She admitted constantly eating sugary foods – even when she wasn’t hungry or didn’t particularly want anything – leaning towards meals that were easy.
‘I think that it was just easy to grab it, and I didn’t really care about what was involved or the ingredients I was putting into my body,’ Keenan explained. ‘I wasn’t concerned with any of that. I never counted calories and I didn’t weigh myself.’
While Keenan didn’t hate her body, but admits she felt physically limited with what she could do.
After taking a Pilates and barre class in February 2021, Keenan found her knees swelled up immediately – which concerned her. She recalled not being able to exercise regularly, and when she tried new exercise classes it was wrecking havoc on her body, leaving her unable to continue without being in pain.
According to Mayo Clinic, knees can swell as a result of direct injuries to the joint, but excess weight also contributes to the wear-and-tear damage that can lead to a swollen knee.
Keenan said she used to eat fast food multiple times a week and not care about what she put in her body, leaning for foods that were easy to find
Keenan lost 127 pounds from dropping her caloric and sugary meals and instead, opting for healthier options and starting to exercise
She admitted she never thought she would wear between a size four to six, after previously wearing size 18
Determined to not be sidelined at 24 from taking part in physical activities, Keenan sought to change her lifestyle immediately, not having a specific weight loss goal in mind but wanting to be physically more agile.
‘I was driving to work one day, and I drove past a WeightWatchers billboard, so I thought maybe I’ll just go check it out and maybe lose 20 pounds,’ she explained. ‘I thought it would just help take the pressure off my knees, and that was the turning point for me.’
She added she never ‘hated’ her body, nor was she ‘depressed’ about the way she looked but she didn’t feel good doing things.
‘That was kind of what prompted all of it, as I was exercising one day, and I just wanted to lose a couple of pounds,’ she said.
Keenan admitted she was wasn’t expecting much from WeightWatchers – even going to Dairy Queen and getting a burger and fries before she went to her first session.
‘I said I was going to commit for a whole year, but I’m telling you, after fitting in that first workshop, I felt different,’ she gushed, adding having advice and support from the other people in the group helped her immediately.
‘I heard people sharing different ideas about what helped them, so then I went to the grocery store afterwards and I started cutting up my fruit, and I put it on the top shelf of my fridge like somebody suggested,’ she said.
‘In the first week, I started seeing improvements,’ she recalled. ‘After my first two weeks, I was down 9.5 pounds. So, I saw change immediately.’
For Keenan, joining WeightWatchers has allowed her to reset her lifestyle and make new healthier habits, as well as teaching her how to properly fuel her body with the right foods.
Only 18 months after starting the program, she lost a massive 127 pounds, and since then has been working on maintaining her weight. She now wears between a size 4 to 6 in clothes, which she says she never would have dreamed of before.
Keenan even enjoys exercise so much now she’s become a certified fitness instructor
Keenan says focusing on healthy habits helped her achieve her impressive weight loss – adding that anyone can do it too
‘The biggest difference I’ve noticed is that WeightWatchers taught me how to eat,’ she explained. ‘I’m not hungry and I don’t necessarily have all these cravings since I’m getting all the food groups that I need to keep me satiated throughout the day.’
Keenan has even started enjoying exercising so much she’s become a certified fitness instructor, completely overhauling all her previously unhealthy habits.
‘I learned that the food you put into your body keeps paying you forward, in the way that you feel about yourself,’ she said.
She added: ‘It’s like a form of self-respect to fuel your body and make sure you get the movement you need. It’s changed my mindset, my physical appearance, my everything.’
Keenan said it was also vital to remember not to focus on how quickly you can lose weight and think about where you’ll be in the long term.
‘Everyone is so focused on how fast they can get there, and I always tell people to focus on the direction and not the speed it takes,’ she encouraged. ‘You can’t control the speed that the weight is going to come off your body because there are so many factors that come into play, like age, health conditions, stress levels.’
More importantly, she continued, you have to respect yourself along the way.
‘You can’t hate yourself into a smaller body, you have to love where you’re currently at and realize you’re more than that,’ she said. ‘Think about how you can get to a place where you can love the skin that you’re in.’