A woman who lost 55 pounds by making 2 simple changes shared 10 fat-loss lessons she learned (2024)

Megan Tjelle's weight had fluctuated for over a decade. She would try a fad diet and lose some weight but then always gain it back — and more.

As her 30th birthday approached, Tjelle had lost her self-confidence and knew she needed to make a change.

This time, she wanted to get healthier and lose weight in a way that was sustainable. In October 2022, she started small, and by eating in a calorie deficit and walking, Tjelle, from Chicago, lost 55 pounds in six months, she told Business Insider.

Struggling with "food noise" and worried about plateauing, Tjelle saw her doctor, who suggested she try the appetite-suppressing weight-loss drug Wegovy (which contains the same medication as Ozempic), which she promptly did.


Tjelle lost a further 50 pounds over eight months and is now taking a maintenance dose of the medication. She has also progressed in her workout regimen, having built up to running a half-marathon and doing strength training. Those on such drugs, known as GLP-1 agonists, are advised to eat healthily and exercise while taking them.

Tjelle's experience reflects how approaches and attitudes toward weight loss are changing. A report by Research and Markets found the global weight-loss-drug market was estimated to grow from $3.83 billion in 2023 to $44.12 billion in 2029 as more people looked to combine medication with healthy diets and exercise to lose weight, often after struggling to hit their goals "naturally."

Tjelle, now 30, shared the 10 fat-loss and fitness lessons she learned during her journey.

A woman who lost 55 pounds by making 2 simple changes shared 10 fat-loss lessons she learned (1)

1. Patience is key

Tjelle said she found it frustrating at times when she didn't see fast progress.

"I had to remind myself that I didn't gain the weight overnight and I am not going to lose it overnight, either," she said.

She learned to focus on taking things one day at a time, describing it as considering the step in front of you, not the whole staircase.

2. Consistency is important

Tjelle realized she didn't need to do grueling workouts or eat an overly restrictive diet every day to make progress: She just needed to do something that was a step in the right direction.

"The most important (and the hardest) part of the process is to start," she said.


3. Drinking your calories makes fat loss harder

While alcohol is a big source of liquid calories for some people, Tjelle realized she was consuming too many creamy, sugary coffee drinks, some of which contained over 400 calories each. Cutting down on them helped her hit her goals, she said.

"When you're trying to lose weight, these calories really add up, and they don't even fill you up or really provide any nutritional value," Tjelle said.

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Nutrition experts have previously told BI that there's nothing wrong with occasionally eating less nutritious foods that you enjoy, but consuming them less frequently can improve health and help you hit your fat-loss goals.

4. Walking is great for fat loss

"Walking was by far the most effective exercise for weight loss early in my weight-loss journey," Tjelle said.

She felt overwhelmed and self-conscious walking into a gym for the first time in years, but she knew she could walk for 30 minutes every day.

"It's great for beginners because it's low impact with very low risk of injury," Tjelle said.

Walking can be great for fat loss because it burns calories without ramping up hunger, which higher-intensity cardio does for some people.

A woman who lost 55 pounds by making 2 simple changes shared 10 fat-loss lessons she learned (2)

5. Calories count

Whether you count calories or not, they count. Tjelle learned about the calorie content of different foods and made sure she was in a deficit by ordering meals from a healthy delivery service called Seattle Sutton.


"Once I got into a true calorie deficit, I saw results right away," she said.

6. You can still eat foods you enjoy

Tjelle learned that she could enjoy everything she likes in moderation and still lose fat, and she didn't need to cut out any food groups.

"I found that overrestricting just led to me eating even more of the food that I was restricting," she said.

On her weight-loss journey, Tjelle celebrated milestones by going out to eat at her favorite places, including sushi restaurants, because she thought it was important to still enjoy life and celebrate her wins.


7. Falling off track doesn't ruin your progress

Tjelle used to throw in the towel and go back to her old habits whenever she had a day or even a meal that took her out of her calorie deficit. But now she knows to just get back on track.

"It's important to remember that a slipup or bad day is not going to ruin your progress, and you just have to keep going," she said.

A woman who lost 55 pounds by making 2 simple changes shared 10 fat-loss lessons she learned (3)

8. Having a positive attitude toward exercise helps

Tjelle exercised consistently when she stopped thinking of it as a chore and instead focused on the benefits.

"Changing my mindset from, 'I have to,' to, 'I get to,' was key for me," she said. "I realized how grateful I am to be able to move my body every day and do something that makes me feel good."


9. You are your greatest investment

Previously, Tjelle always pushed exercise and healthy eating to the bottom of her priority list. But now she realizes how important it is to prioritize her health.

"What helped me on the really hard days was thinking about what my life will look like at my ideal weight and how different everything will look (in a good way)," she said.

10. You won't always feel motivated

For the first few months of her weight-loss journey, Tjelle really didn't want to go to the gym, she said. But she stayed consistent even when she didn't feel like it, instead of relying on motivation, and she gradually started to enjoy it more.

"I really struggled to get there every day, but I reminded myself that this was not going to be easy but the long-term results would be so worth it," Tjelle said.

A woman who lost 55 pounds by making 2 simple changes shared 10 fat-loss lessons she learned (2024)
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