Whatever your endgame—from weight loss to a sculpted six-pack—it’s always inspiring to hear real-life success stories about how other individuals have achieved their fitness goals. We caught up with Renee Noel, who shares exactly what she did to go through a nearly 20-pound weight loss transformation, followed by a healthy pregnancy and postpartum recovery. If you’re wondering how to lose 20 pounds before pregnancy, read on to learn more about Noel’s motivational path to weight loss.
Courtesy of Renee Noel
Noel reveals that she had two big end goals in mind. “[I wanted to] I went off birth control to get pregnant (was on it for 17 years because of heavy cycles) and I wanted to stop making excuses for not eating healthily because of all my food allergies,” she tells us.
In April 2020, Noel weighed 158 pounds and was a size 12 when she started her journey. Fast forward to February 2021 when she hit 148 pounds (size 10) and stuck there for a while. “That’s when I started working with them [my trainer] Jacquie and understood how mental and physical health work together to achieve greater success,” she says. Noel dropped to 140 pounds and a size 4/6 in August 2021 before becoming pregnant. Overall, that’s a weight loss of almost 20 pounds.
The photo above shows Noel on the left in late 2019, before fully embarking on her weight loss journey; On the right, Noel tries on a new pair of size 6 jeans after losing weight.
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How did Noel lose 20 pounds? Working with her personal trainer, Jacquie Smith, Noel was able to shift the mindset from rigorous exercise to daily exercise and let her body “define what that means for the day.” She focused on moving her body for five to 35 minutes each day, focusing on sculpting, Pilates, yoga, strength, stretching or just walking around the block. “Jacquie’s workout classes range from 10 to 40 minutes and have helped me ensure I’m getting my daily exercise without excuses,” she says.
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Diet-wise, Noel deals with some food allergies, so she calls this more of an “elimination diet.” She says she spent about an hour each week planning, shopping, and preparing meals. This really helped her eat healthy and clean week after week as the food was immediately available for her to grab and enjoy!
Noel loved working with Smith and told us, “Jacquie has helped me understand so much more about nutrition and how to properly fuel my body. She also helped me change my mindset, which opened the door to greater success with my weight loss. Mental and physical health really go hand in hand.” She adds, “I can really focus on eating real food with real ingredients and properly fueling my body.”
Courtesy of Renee Noel
What served as an endless source of motivation? Noticing your transformation “in real time”, both mentally and physically. “I had a lot more energy, significantly less stress, and my mental health was the best I’ve ever experienced,” says Noel.
Noel’s life has improved tremendously. She now knows how to make herself and her needs her top priority because it makes her feel happier and healthier all around. Smith’s “Little Adapts” approach was instrumental in Noel’s routine, as it helps to make small changes that turn into life-changing habits. “Because of the work I put in, I had an incredible pregnancy journey — the complete opposite of what I imagined,” she tells us.
For those starting their own weight loss or fitness journey, Noel has some solid advice: “Invest in yourself. Love yourself. It’ll take you places you never dreamed of going to cup — remember, first.” to fill your cup. You will find yourself becoming a better version of yourself.”
Alexa is the Associate Editor of Mind + Body from Eat This, Not That!, which oversees the M+B channel and brings readers compelling fitness, wellness and self-care topics. Read more about Alexa