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The Biggest Diet Mistake I Made Before Losing 160 Pounds

One woman reveals a major faux pas to look out for.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

Do you feel like you aren't eating very much but can't seem to lose weight? It might not be how much you are eating in a day, but what. Amber Clemens (@amber_c_fitness) is a fitness influencer who shares videos about how she lost a whopping 160 pounds and transformed her life. Instead of taking drastic measures, she got into the best shape of her life by making a few simple tweaks to her approach to diet and exercise. One of those? Really taking a look at what she was eating in a day. "This is something that is so common. People are like, 'Well, I don't even eat that much. How do I keep gaining weight?' It's something that I really struggle to understand too, because at my heaviest, I was only eating three times a day. But let me walk you through a typical day of eating when I was at my heaviest," she says in the clip. Body Network's Resident RDN, The Diet Diva, Tara Collingwood, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD/N, ACSM-CPT, a Board Certified Sports Dietitian and co-author of the Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies, also weighs in.

Starbucks Breakfast: 750 Calories

NEW YORK CITY - MAY 2015: Starbucks store. Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse company in the world.

"So a lot of the times on my way to work, I would stop and get a Venti Iced Cafe Mocha, which is 450 calories, and I would always get a chocolate croissant to go with that, so that's 300 calories," Amber revealed. "So we're already at 750 calories just for my breakfast. But again, it doesn't feel like that much because a coffee is really easy to drink and a croissant is very tiny."

McDonald's Lunch: 1,500 Calories

Ayutthaya,Thailand - March 7, 2018 :View in Porto Go Bangpa-in, McDonald's Restaurant in Ayutthaya,Thailand. McDonald's is an American hamburger and fast food restaurant chain

"For lunch, I would go to McDonald's and I'd get a double Quarter Pounder meal with a large fry and a large drink," she continues. "And again, these are very easy to eat, very highly palatable foods, so it doesn't feel like you're eating that much. But the sandwich alone is another 740 calories. A large fry is 480, and I would get a Dr. Pepper, which is 280 calories."

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Taco Bell Dinner: 1,240

London, UK - March 5 2022: Taco Bell Mexican takeaway branch in Fulham Broadway, West London

And then, for dinner, it was very easy for me to just swing through Taco Bell, and I would always get the two Chicken Chalupas combo. I would get a Cherry Pepsi, which is 390 calories. Each of the chicken chalupas is 340. And the soft taco I would get a soft taco is like 170 calories

She Was Confused Because She Was Only Eating Three Meals a Day


"So again, I was like, I'm only eating three meals a day," she said about her pre-weight loss thought process. "How can I be putting on this weight?"

She Consumed 3,490 Calories


Her grand total for the day? 3,490 calories. "Even at my heaviest, my eating calories were only 2,600 calories. So that's an additional almost 900 calories that I was consuming, and it didn't feel like it. That's exactly why it can feel like you're not eating that much, but it comes down to what you're eating," she said.

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Body Network's Expert Weighs In


Collingwood specifies that a lot of the problem is that she was getting over 1,000 calories "just from liquid calories!" she says. "Liquid calories don't fill you up at all, so that is part of the reason she didn't feel like she was eating that many calories." She adds that her diet had "very little fiber because there aren't fruits and vegetables or whole grains in her typical day." Why is that a bad thing? " Fiber fills you up which can help you feel more full and overall eat less," Collingwood states.

💪🔥Body Booster: The only way to really know how much you are eating is my meal tracking. Spend a week writing down exactly what you eat and then access the situation.

@amber_c_fitness Replying to @lordcastelli and this is on days that I didn't b*nge 😳 #bigsisteradvice #weightloss #weightgain #fatloss #caloriedeficit #weightlossfacts #weightlosstips #whatieatinaday #beforeandafterweightloss ♬ nintendo wii (mii channel) song – julie on the internet

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