One woman has put her incredible 39kg weight loss down to eating McDonald’s almost every day of the week.
She claims their easily accessible nutritional information makes it simple for her to track her calories.
Speech-language pathologist Karina Villarreal from Raymondville, Texas, USA, started to gain weight when she reached her twenties.
Rushing into a toxic relationship after a previous long-term relationship broke down, the 26-year-old battled depression and anxiety and used food as a way to cope with her negative feelings.
At her heaviest in 2019, Karina tipped the scales at 111kg and struggled to fit into size 20 clothing.
Believing that the numbness and tingling she felt in her toes was a sign of her being pre-diabetic, Karina knew she had to lose weight fast in order to save her physical and mental well-being.
Ditching her ex-boyfriend and the huge plates of carbs and snacks she was eating, Karina headed to the local high school running track to start her training.
Initially, Karina found it impossible to jog for more than a few metres at a time and her feet cramped for days after exercising.
However, Karina battled through the pain and worked out four times per week in order to shift the kilograms.
Due to being constantly on the move at work, Karina previously found herself grabbing snacks, without taking much notice of the calories she was eating.
The 26-year-old claims that McDonald’s has played a huge part in her weight loss journey since the calorie content is easily accessible, allowing her to track how much she is consuming and ensure that she does not overeat.
She visits the restaurant most days per week, usually ordering ten chicken nuggets and a diet coke.
Karina’s friends and work colleagues are shocked when she tells them that part of her secret is visiting the golden arches but for the young woman, ensuring that she is in a calorie deficit is the key to her weight loss.
Losing 39 kilograms
Overall Karina has lost 39kg and now weighs 72kg.
Since losing the weight, Karina’s self-esteem has improved and she feels like a ‘normal person’ again.
Karina’s physical well-being has improved too and fortunately, she no longer suffers from numbness in her toes.
Friends and family often tell Karina how much better she looks.
However, Karina’s favourite comments are from those who tell her she looks happier.
Whilst Karina admits that weight loss doesn’t equate to happiness, her fitness has improved her mental health.
“It wasn’t until age 22 that I noticed my weight gain,” Karina said.
“I continuously battled depression and anxiety, and used food as a coping mechanism to mask my true issues.
“It didn’t phase me until I took a good look at my before and after pictures and I had no idea this was the person who was staring at me in the mirror.
“I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship and almost immediately met someone new.
“I thought everything was great, until he turned out to be a pretty awful person, so I lost weight as a way to cope with everything that had just happened.
“I’ll always say that I’m not proud of my reason, just my progress.
“’ll never forget my first workout; I walked three miles on the treadmill and had cramps on my feet for days.
“It was one of the most painful experiences ever, but I kept pushing.
“I owe everything in my weight loss to a calorie deficit and making simple substitutions. I honestly owe a lot of my weight loss to McDonald’s too.
“I’m constantly on the go at my job and I’m able to stay within my calories thanks to them because they display the calories on every box, so it’s really easy to keep track of what I’m eating.
“When people see how much weight I’ve lost, they’re usually pretty shocked.
“I hope that I can inspire others to improve not only their physical, but their mental health as well.
‘I hope that I can inspire others to improve not only their physical, but their mental health as well.’
“People usually freak out when I say I consistently eat chicken nuggets, but at the end of the day, it’s what works for me.
“The hardest thing about losing weight was the initial three weeks of building the habit, but once you get into the swing of things it becomes a lot easier.
“The most complimentary comment that I’ve received is that I ‘look happier.’
“While my mental health has improved slightly, I don’t exactly ‘feel happier.’
“Fitness doesn’t equal happiness and that’s something I wish more people would understand.”
Before her weight loss, Karina’s diet consisted of high carb foods such as bowls of pasta, burgers with fries, pizza and soft drink totalling over 3000 calories per day.
Her exercise regime was non-existent.
Now, Karina typically has ten McDonald’s chicken McNuggets and a diet coke for lunch and for dinner, she has baked salmon with vegetables and rice or cauliflower mash totalling 1400 calories per day.
Karina visits the gym four times per week, focusing on cardio, and spending an hour on the elliptical trainer machine on each visit.
Despite her own weight loss being a speedy process, Karina warns those trying to lose weight that they most likely won’t see results overnight.
Patient and perseverance
For Karina, patience, perseverance and ensuring a calorie deficit are the keys to success, even if that does mean eating chicken nuggets each day.
“If I were to give advice to someone who was just starting their own weight loss journey, I would say that no reason is too dumb for wanting to lose weight,” said Karina.
“I lost weight due to relationship issues, so I’m not one to judge.
“It won’t happen overnight, so don’t expect it to – you have to be patient.
“The most important thing to remember is that a calorie deficit goes a long way in losing weight.
“Seeing my progress has been addictive and it’s fun to watch yourself transform overtime.
“If I could do it, really anybody can. It’s a challenge, but it’s extremely rewarding and worth it in the end. Positivity is key.”