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I Lost 160 Pounds by Making These 5 Fast Food Swaps

Shave thousands of calories off your fast food order with a few easy modifications. 

Just because you are trying to lose weight, doesn't mean you have to eliminate fast food from your diet. Making a few simple swaps can shed thousands of calories from your usual order, according to Amber Clemens (@amber_c_fitness), a weight loss warrior and influencer on TikTok. Amber lost a whopping 160 pounds by changing her approach to diet and fitness, and still managed to eat delicious fast food. In a viral video series she reveals her before-and-after orders from popular places like Cold Stone, Applebees, and Subway.

Before Meal at Cold Stone: 1,540 Calories


"Yes, you can still have Cold Stone and a calorie deficit in moderation," Amber promises in one of the videos. Prior to losing weight she would order a Gotta Have It size of the Founder's Favorite, "but I would add Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Oreos all for a grand total of 1,540 calories," she admits. "This one shocked me, but not really 'cause it's cold stone. But seriously, I would inhale this and it was like 1,540 calories. Like that's insane but worth it sometimes."

After Meal at Cold Stone: 665 Calories

Greenwood - March 16, 2024: Cold Stone Creamery ice cream parlor location. Cold Stone Creamery makes their premium ice cream on site.

"Once I tried this, I have not gotten anything since," she says about her "after" Cold Stone treat. "Anytime that I go to Cold Stone now I get a Like It size of the cheesecake ice cream, adding golden Oreos and graham cracker crust, raspberries, and white chocolate chips," she reveals. "I'm telling you, it tastes like the best raspberry cheesecake ever up there is. The total? 665 calories.

Before Meal at Mexican Restaurant: 2,080 Calories


Next, she offers up her "before" order at "a generic Mexican restaurant." "Before I lost 160 pounds along with the chips and salsa that comes to the table, I would also get a thing of cheese dip and usually eat like a whole one to myself. I would get a chicken chimichanga," she continues, revealing that she would get two sides of rice and a Dr. Pepper totalling 2,080 calories.

After Meal at Mexican Restaurant: 550 Calories:

Mexican food. Beef Fajitas - Traditional dish of Mexico.

"Now here's what I get after losing 160 pounds," she continues. "I either get chicken fajitas and yes, I eat the tortillas, and one side of Mexican rice with a Diet Coke," she says, revealing the total of 870 calories plus about 100 for chips and salsa. Her alternative meal?  A chicken fajita salad, a diet Coke "and a few chips and salsa, for around 550."

Before Meal at Applebees: 3,420 Calories

Applebee's casual family dining grill and bar restaurant, Saugus Massachusetts USA, December 11, 2019

Amber is a big fan of Applebee's. "I used to go there all the time before I lost weight," she says. "Before I lost 160 pounds I would do an appetizer combo just for me as my meal, 2,230 calories. I would get extra ranch because I need it for all the dipping, 320 calories. And then I would do the flavored lemonades. My favorite was always the peach. And I would have at least three for 290 calories a piece, which brings that one meal to 3,420 calories for one meal."

After Meal at Applebee's: 680 Calories

Delicious sauteed shrimp with cajun seasoning and lime on a maple plank.

While she admits she doesn't go to Applebee's as often now, her order is much healthier. "I do the Bourbon Street Chicken and shrimp" and the garlicky green beans. "These are delicious," she says. Along with a Diet Coke the meal totals 680 calories.

Before Meal at Subway: 1,676 Calories


Like so many of us, I used to think Subway was like a safe space, right? And it is, but it's also very easy to go overboard there," she says, revealing her "before" meal. "I used to get a footlong Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki," she says. "I would get a side of Sun Chips, a double chocolate cookie, and a medium Coke. So I would get a footlong on Italian herbs and cheese with mayo and provolone cheese," she continues. The grand total?. 1,676 calories. "And I used to get it a lot because again, I was like, 'Oh, Subway, weight loss.' You can go overboard."

After Meal at Subway: 503 Calories


"Now here's what I get after losing 160 pounds," she says, revealing that she gets chicken, a side of Baked Lays cheddar and sour cream, and a medium Diet Coke. "I get it on multi-grain bread. I ask for the sweet onion sauce and I do pepper jack cheese 'cause I like a little bit of spice," she says. The order is just 503 calories.

Before Meal at KFC: 1,070 Calories

Calgary, Alberta - May 30, 2021: Exterior facade of a KFC restaurant in Calgary, Alberta.

At KFC she would do a Famous Bowl Combo with a chocolate chip cookie and Dr. Pepper. The order totalled 1,070 calories

After Meal at KFC: 320 Calories


Now when she goes to KFC she gets an 8-piece chicken nugget order with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy, a side of BBQ sauce, to dip the nuggets in. Sometimes she does a small fry instead of the mashed potatoes. She always gets a zero sugar drink. "All four are 320 calories," she maintains.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more