‘I Tracked Macros, Stayed In A Calorie Deficit, And Did Strength Training To Lose 154 Lbs.’

My name is Dawn Smith (@thedawnelizabeth), and I’m 21 years old. I live in Austin and Houston, Texas, and I’m a fitness entrepreneur. Once I learned to love myself, I was able to focus on getting healthier by eating foods I enjoy in moderation, sticking to a calorie deficit and tracking macros, and working out with a combo of weight lifting, cardio, and HIIT.

Before starting my weight-loss journey, I struggled a lot with accepting I was a plus-size girl. I was always bigger-bodied growing up, and a lot of people used to talk about me and my size. But I just couldn’t understand why. I always knew I was beautiful, but when society rejected images of girls like myself, it was hard to see that beauty in the mirror.

One day I decided I was going to work on self-love and accepting my body for what it truly was. I attempted to lose weight several times to prove things to people, but never for myself. That’s why I didn’t get the results I wanted to see. Over time, I learned to love myself. I was living life to the fullest and losing weight was the last thing on my mind.

But when I was a freshman in college at The University of Texas at Austin in 2018, I lost my best friend. I tried to stay busy to deal with the loss, but I really was depressed. A month later in March 2018, I was bitten by a snake on my foot. It really changed my life. I struggled with walking because I had a boot on my foot.

Being overweight and walking around campus was very hard, and I knew that it would be easier if I became healthier.


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I was at my heaviest weight of 311 pounds, and I was only 19. It gave me time to sit down and analyze my life. Not being able to walk around because of how overweight I was really made me realize that a change needed to happen.

After my foot healed in January 2019, I made a decision to become healthier. I didn’t go into this journey wanting to change my body, but just to be a healthier person and to be able to be more physical.


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I started by adjusting my diet. My best friend taught me about macros and staying in a calorie deficit.

This method made being on a weight-loss journey easier for me because I was able to eat whatever I wanted as long as it fit inside my daily calorie goal and macros. Before, I had tried many fad diets that were very restrictive and hard to stick to. But once I learned about staying in a calorie deficit, it was super easy to maintain. The key was learning how to eat in moderation.


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Here’s what I eat in a day now.

  • Breakfast: Breakfast scramble including egg whites, spinach, mushrooms, turkey sausage, bacon, and cheese with a vanilla Kodiak Cakes protein buttermilk waffle.
  • Lunch: Grilled chicken taco with yogurt ranch dressing, bell peppers, onions, and cheese.
  • Snacks: Fairlife vanilla protein shake with mixed berries.
  • Dinner: Grilled shrimp stir fry with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and broccoli.
  • Dessert: Yasso chocolate fudge Greek yogurt ice cream bar.


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I slowly started working out two days a week, doing basics like jumping jacks, squats, bicep curls, crunches, and walking.

I would write out a workout and stick to it for about two weeks, increasing the reps and time on each exercise. At first it was very hard because I would get out of breath easily. But once my body began to get used to it, I increased my workouts to three days a week and focused on full body for each day.

Now I work out five to six days a week, and my workouts focus on pushing exercises, pulling exercises, and legs, with a full-body cardio day as well. I also incorporate HIIT cardio three times a week, and mainly focus on strength training.


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These three changes made the biggest difference in my weight-loss results.

  • I focused on growing spiritually. Being on this journey was very emotional. Every time I would lose 10 pounds, my emotions would bottle up, and it seemed as if I was scared to see myself grow through this journey. Making healthier choices and getting more physical became draining. I would question if the journey was really for me. I began to talk to God and asked him to help me find my strength, passion, and get to know myself more. Once I grew that relationship with Him, I became more determined and motivated to reach every goal I set for myself.
  • I learned about eating the foods I love in moderation. This allowed me to realize that I didn’t have to restrict myself from foods I love, because that would only make me crave it and binge eat when I did allow myself to have it. Making this change helped me get this far because everyone has this idea that you have to ‘eat clean’ all the time, when you really just need a good balance.
  • I started to love myself. When I learned to love myself, I was able to change in any way I wanted to. I had to learn that until I accepted what I saw in the mirror, losing weight was not going to change the way I felt about myself. Loving the body that you are in now is the key to transforming.


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I’ve lost a total of 154 pounds in two years.

You have the power to be and achieve anything you want and life. If that’s becoming healthier, YOU CAN DO IT. Self-love is the key. Knowing that your inner strength is stronger than all the negativity around you can elevate you above it all. Start by taking small steps, setting small goals, and working your way up to those big goals. Weight loss isn’t a race—it’s a marathon. Slow and steady will always win.


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