Ever since Ree Drummond revealed that she shed nearly 40 pounds at the end of May, she’s been flooded with questions about how she did it. Now, that number is up to 43 pounds, and Ree wrote a lengthy blog post to divulge her secrets. The Pioneer Woman star explained that her daughter, Alex’s, wedding in May was part of what motivated her to drop the weight she’d gained over the last three years, but said there was more to it than that. “In January, just before I bit the bullet and took the leap, I was tired, puffy and desperate — and I knew I shouldn’t be feeling that way,” she wrote.
Before sharing her tips and tricks — which, she pointed out, might not work for everyone — Ree revealed some of the diet and exercise go-tos that she did NOT use. She didn’t do the Keto diet or intermittent fasting, and she did not buy any “specialty diet foods.” She also didn’t use a professional trainer and didn’t sign up for an official weight loss program, like Weight Watchers.
Instead, Ree focused on “eating fewer calories” and using an online calculator to try and achieve a “calorie deficit on most days.” The 52-year-old admitted that counting calories was “eye opening” for her, and “essential” for her weight loss. Part of having success with counting calories involved weighing her food with a digital scale, which allowed her to really understand portion size. “I still ate good food, I just ate less of it and I valued the calories more and made sure I ate things that offered more nutritional bang for the buck,” she explained.
Of course, exercise played a part in Ree’s journey too. Between daily walks (2-3 miles), a rowing machine in her living room and pilates, Ree found a routine that felt good for her. During her weight loss journey, she worked out six days a week, and sometimes committed to two workouts a day. About six weeks in, after hitting a plateau, Ree also started focusing on building muscle, which burns more calories than fan. Her husband advised her to focus on her legs and butt muscles, since those are bigger. She began incorporating lunges, squats, straight-leg deadlifts and calf raises. It was difficult at first — “I couldn’t walk for the first few days!” Ree admitted — but, now, she’s gotten used to it and muscled up big time!
During the weight loss plateau, Ree also began tracking the amount of protein she ate daily, in addition to the calories she was consuming. She started eating 30-40% of her calories from protein on a regular basis, with foods like low fat plain Greek yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, lean beef, chicken, turkey, salmon, cod, egg whites, raw almonds, 1% milk and Swiss cheese. Adding more protein, of course, meant cutting out calories somewhere else, and Ree cut down on sugar big time during her diet phase. She also did not drink alcohol for four months, which not only eliminated some calories, but also made her feel better.
Ree also said that a standing desk “made a huge difference” for her throughout the day because it helped her to “shave off the cumulative sedentary nature of a desk job and just helped overall motivation and movement.” She concluded her post by confirming that she’s “still working on” herself, but insisted that it isn’t about the number on the scale for her anymore. “Feeling good is really all that matters, and because of that, weigh-ins are becoming less and less important to me,” she wrote. However, she’s continuing to keep up the good habits she learned in the past five months.