‘The 80-20 rule and intermittent fasting helped me lose 240 pounds.’

My name is Erin McMichael (@erin_shrinking), and I am 36 years old. After battling food addiction all my life and reaching my heaviest weight of 402 pounds, I began to focus on a balanced diet that incorporates low glycemic foods, the 80/20 rule, and fasting. intermittent.


I know it sounds cliché, but I tried everything losing weight. I couldn’t stick to anything, and I didn’t understand why. I was making progress, then quitting when it was too hard or I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. I would shame and punish myself when I “messed up” my diet. It started a few decades of a horrible relationship with food.

I had a food addiction and I ate because it was the only thing in my life that I could control during a very difficult season. I also battled PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and had some hormonal issues to deal with. It’s no fun when it feels like your body is working against you. At 33, I hit my peak weight of 402 pounds.

Being 402 pounds came with some health downsides. My body ached all the time, I never felt comfortable, I had no sexual desire or motivation, and I couldn’t move well.

This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.

My kids (who were 2 and 4 at the time) were starting to notice that mom couldn’t do the fun things they wanted. My mental health was the hardest hit though. I had very little love for myself and didn’t take care of myself like I needed to. I abused myself with food and lost myself in the process.

My turning point came on May 15, 2018.

I was with my kids and we were at my favorite clothing store looking for an outfit to wear for our next family photos. I struggled to find clothes that fit and cried for a while in that dressing room right in front of my kids.

On the way home, I made a commitment to myself that I would never feel that way again. I asked myself, What if this time you don’t give up? I decided that I was going to start and continue no matter what! And I did.

This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.

I started by identifying anything in my daily eating habits that was not supporting my health goals.

I worked constantly to make better choices for myself. When I started my journey, I knew very little about nutrition. But I knew I could learn. I knew I could slowly figure things out if I was intentional about it.

Small changes over time have led to big results. I struggled with food addiction so anything restrictive wouldn’t work for me. I made sure I always had my staple foods in the fridge and prepared as much as I could. Meal planning and preparation are key to success.

This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.

Repairing my relationship with food has always been one of my main goals, so my meal plans always focus on balance, and I follow the 80-20 rule (eat healthy 80% of the time and treat yourself 20 % time). I like to aim for a balance of low glycemic foods, moderate carb intake, whole foods, and intermittent fasting. I have a window to eat between 12 and 8 p.m. and try to drink 90 ounces of water a day. Healthy portions are essential.

It works for me because I don’t feel restricted or on a diet. It’s my way of life, and I love it!

This is what I eat in a day now.

  • Morning: Coffee and water
  • break my fast (12 p.m. to 1 p.m.): Chicken salad on a low carb wrap with vegetable soup
  • Second meal (3 p.m. to 4 p.m.): PB Chocolate, Berry & Almond Protein Shake
  • Third meal (5 p.m.): Turkey and Cheese Wraps with Mustard and Sesame Seasoning Everything But the Bagel
  • Fourth meal: Turkey meatloaf made with sugar-free ketchup, loaded mashed cauliflower, and a side salad
  • To taste: Ranch Sunflower Seeds and Cherry Coke Zero (balance!)

    This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.

    I started by slowly focusing on moving my body more than I had been before.

    I cannot stress enough the importance of starting from where you are and moving forward! When I first started, I tried to do way too much, too fast, and I remember feeling so exhausted all the time. Everything hurts so badly! I remember feeling ashamed when I went to the gym, and I was really embarrassed. It was a wonderful process for me as I was able to grow in the gym, meet friends in class and learn a ton.

    This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.

    Now I’ve found a good balance between strictly at-home workouts that include strength training, cardio, resistance training, and moving my body for less than 30 minutes a day in a way that I love every day. They include hiking, dancing, and bodyweight movements (squats, handstands, pushups, sit-ups). I remember it’s a privilege to be able to move your body, and we only have one, so I have to take care of it.

    These three changes led to my weight loss success.

    1. I found the 80-20 nutrition plan. I make sure that 80% of what I eat every day supports my goals, period. It leaves room for balance and makes the process less painful as I navigate the journey. Restriction doesn’t work long term, but I know balance does. I make sure to plan my day daily. I call them my “day sheets” and I do what I put on them no matter what. Playing an active role in planning my life has made a huge difference!
    2. I let go of the on-travel/off-travel mindset. There is no ‘on the way’ or ‘out of the way’. We all have one life to live, and we make choices every day that determine what kind of life that will be. When we are on a health journey, it is important to remember that our choices (whether good or bad) continue to integrate into our lives. I really enjoyed breaking the mindset that there is such a thing as being out of my journey. He put more responsibility on myself. I still need to take care of myself, no matter!
    3. I developed the mantra, “What if this time you don’t give up?” This has been my mantra every step of the way. I literally had this conversation with myself when I started my journey. What if this time I don’t give up? What if this time was the time I actually did it? What if this was when I continued when I wanted to quit? And if this time I had finished? I challenged myself and every time I wanted to quit (and there were a lot of them, y’all!), I remembered that pledge and asked myself this question: What if this time you don’t give up?
      1. I lost 240 pounds in three years and nine months.

        After losing this amount of weight, I have a ton of excess skin left, so I will be having a 360 degree lower body lift in November 2022. I’m excited to see how much this will add to my overall weight loss, but more excited to finally get rid of the excess skin. I feel like I have a new home to live in, and I couldn’t be happier!

        This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.

        Weight loss is the *last* thing I celebrate on my journey.

        The person I have become along the way is by far the greatest reward. I’m happy, not because of the weight loss, but because of the woman I won. My whole life is different now.

        I am a healthy and balanced woman. I am the mom who has more patience, fun and love to give to her children, and I can show them on rollerblades. I’m the friend who can hike, jump off cliffs, and be raw and vulnerable, and really show up for the people in my life. I’m the woman who can be fun, silly, sexy, playful and can let her husband love her fully because she finally loves himself.

        This content is created and maintained by a third party, and uploaded to this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content on piano.io

    Leave a Comment