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I Lost 65 Pounds in 2 Years With the Help of Diet and Rowing

Woman explains exactly how she went from 212 to 155 pounds.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

Losing weight can often feel like an uphill battle. However, the only way to achieve your goals is to take one step at a time. Raven Norwood, 28, of Huntington Beach, California, is a great example of a weight loss warrior who made a few simple life changes to transform her life dramatically. Starting at 212 pounds, she has managed to drop down to 155 pounds, losing 165 pounds in two years. In an interview with Body Network, she explains exactly how she did it.

She Struggled with Healthy Eating


Raven previously struggled with eating healthy. She would eat foods with several dyes, fast food, and packaged food with GMOs, too much MSG, and preservatives. She didn't eliminate "any specific food groups because balance is the key to longevity," but did cut the above from her diet and started cooking her own meals "as much as possible." Creating healthy relationships with all food groups is so important when it comes to keeping the weight off, she stresses. "Balance is key, so if I want a cookie here and there, I eat the cookie… no biggie!"

Here Is What She Eats in a Day


Breakfast: Coffee with a bit of cream, eggs, and an apple. "I love apples," she says.

Lunch: Lunch is "something easy to make or pack that has protein and veggies," Raven says, "so a good chicken wrap with a side of crunchy carrots or cucumbers. I usually go between this or a protein bowl. I try to keep it simple."

Dinner: For dinner, she usually has another choice of protein (fish, chicken, or lean beef) with a side salad and a carb of her choice, perhaps rice or pasta.

Snacks: Almonds or cashews, popcorn "or the occasion bag of Popchips and dark chocolate," are her go-to snacks.


Water dispenser from dispenser of home fridge, Woman is filling a glass with water from the refrigerator.

Raven adds that she also drinks "lots of water." According to the Mayo Clinic, hydration is important for a variety of reasons. Water helps get rid of waste through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements, keeps your temperature normal, lubricates and cushions joints, and helps protect sensitive tissues.



Raven also relies on supplements to get any nutrients she is lacking. "I take magnesium and zinc daily!" she says.

RELATED: 7 Signs Your Body Needs More Magnesium


Side view of man and woman doing exercises with rowing machine at gym.

As for fitness, Raven discovered rowing at her local Row House. "I love how boutique and specialized gyms are getting more recognition! When I first found Row House, I had never seen a gym dedicated to rowing," she says. "And on top of that, you get floorwork exercises, group fitness, and the wonderful community that comes along with it! I think a lot of people would benefit from boutique gyms."

Other Exercises

Close up woman hand doing push ups exercise in a gym in morning, sunlight effect.

Other exercises that help her stay in shape are shoulder presses, planks, deadlifts, abdominal twists (with weights) and rowing. "All target several muscle groups at once, an easy way to get a full body workout in a single session," she explains.

Consistency Has Been a Challenge


Raven has "absolutely faced challenges" on her fitness journey, "mainly staying consistent with working out or not going to the gym as many times as I said I'd go," she explains. "I overcome it by just taking it a day at a time. I'm human, and I have to remind myself this is a lifestyle change not an overnight fix! Extending myself grace and starting over fresh the next day when I hit setbacks has helped me not harp on them too much."

Positive Body Image


"I think my biggest achievement is how positively I view my body these days," Raven says after losing 65 pounds. "My number one tip is to ditch looking at the scale too often and just stay consistent with being active and eating whole foods (with enough protein). You will get there!" She also reminds us that weight loss should be a marathon, not a sprint, "and with that, there will be some lows with the highs. I extend myself grace in the moment and shake it off," she says.

RELATED: The 9 Habits that Accelerate Aging

Her Advice: Be Consistent and Try New Things


Her advice? Instead of trying to do everything, focus on consistency. "Most of the time, showing up for yourself is 90 percent of the battle," she explains. "I'd also say, don't be afraid to pivot and try new workouts you're not used to. I never tried indoor rowing before, but I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. To my surprise, it was one of the best decisions I've made on my fitness journey."

Also, Take Photos


She also recommends taking photo of your journey, even if it's hard. "Sometimes your mind will play tricks on you, and make you feel like you haven't done as much as you have," she says. If she feels discouraged, she will look at her "Day 1" photo and it will provide instant motivation. "Take photos because your mind will play tricks on you, but those photos won't," she says.

💪🔥Body Booster: Make sure to take photos of yourself on a regular basis during your weight loss journey. Sometimes you need to be reminded about how far you have come.

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