Laura Chose Strength Training and Clean Eating Over Surgery and Lost 120 Pounds in a Year

Faced with serious health issues, Laura Micetich, Gold’s Gym Fitness Expert knew that she needed to lose weight. After many unsuccessful attempts, Laura considered getting weight-loss surgery. Before having a consultation with a doctor, she instead challenged herself to a 30-day lifestyle change that led to her losing 120 pounds naturally. Continue reading to find out exactly how she lost the weight, and kept it off, without surgery.

How She Got Started

“When I returned home for the holidays in 2013 at over 300 pounds, my parents and I had a serious conversation about my health,” Laura told POPSUGAR. “I’d attempted personal trainers, weight-loss programs, even fat camp in the past, but none of those had stuck.” She explained that binge-eating combined with hypothyroidism and high blood pressure had her “teetering on the edge of prediabetes.”

Due to the serious nature of her health issues, Laura said she had begun to research weight-loss surgeries. She learned that her weight would increase her risks during surgery and, if she did follow through with it, she would need to “completely overhaul my lifestyle.” Before having a consultation with a doctor, Laura decided to try to make the necessary postoperation changes.

“What began as an attempt to implement those necessary changes quickly grew into an intense love of health, fitness, and nutrition. I started going to the gym, lifting weights, and eating a clean diet tailored to my body’s needs.” After a few weeks of changing her nutrition and workout regimen, Laura said she came to a realization: “I didn’t need to go under the knife. I needed to get under the bar.”

How Lifting Weights Helped Her

In order to lose the weight, Laura began a 30-day challenge with herself. “I began overhauling my nutrition and my exercise routine simultaneously. I joined my university gym and began weightlifting.” She also got rid of the junk food in her home, replacing it with some of her healthy favorites, like roasted broccoli and sashimi-grade tuna.

In the first month, Laura lost 20 pounds and said she had “fallen in love with my new lifestyle. Out of desperation, I found my greatest passion: fitness and health.” Within the first year of strength training and eating clean, Laura had lost a total of 120 pounds. Because Laura does bodybuilding, she explained, “My weight fluctuates with my programming depending on building and cutting seasons, but I’ve maintained the 100-pound weight loss throughout.”

Her Nutrition Philosophy

Laura said that she typically eats five to six small, protein-rich meals with lots of vegetables and a clean source of fat and/or carbs. She said, “When I’m trying to gain strength or add muscle, those calories will increase and I’ll allow for a few more indulgences,” such as a cheat meal once a week.

Depending on her goals at a given time, Laura said that she may count calories. “If I’m trying to get lean or drop weight, I’ll tailor my calories and specific food choices to that goal. If I’m in the offseason, my calorie counting is traded for intuitive eating and a few more treats.”

Her Nonscale Victories

Laura said being able to deadlift 415 pounds and squat 315 pounds are two of her top nonscale victories. Working as a cave-guide instructor, surfing, and “working as a professional bodybuilding coach in a sport I never dreamed I’d feel a part of” also made her list.

Challenges She’s Faced and How She Stays Motivated

One of the greatest challenges for Laura was “learning to start over every single day instead of determining a misstep as a failure and quitting.” The mindset of starting over every morning, focusing, and being kind to herself has “changed the game,” she said.

“I realized I had the strength within me, both physically and mentally, to make this change all along and that I was standing in my own way because I feared failing,” she said. “Changing how I perceive failure and my capacity to accomplish whatever I set my mind to opened my eyes to so many opportunities that I had been holding myself back from.”

Laura said her love for health and nutrition and “propelling people toward their own self-growth” keeps her motivated.

Her Advice For Others

For Laura, there was no magic pill or secret to losing weight. She faced her medical issues head-on and challenged herself to change her lifestyle. For anyone looking to start their own weight-loss journey, Laura said, “Start over every single day. If you miss a day or have a bad workout, eat a candy bar, or even the entire candy store . . . wake up and start over.” Laura also wants you to know that “you don’t fail unless you quit. Even if you think it’s over, you might not be done. Stand back up and start over.”