“A high protein, low sugar diet helped me lose 150 pounds”

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My name is Lainey Selby (@lainlifts), and I’m 24 years old. I’m from Gaithersburg, MD, and I’m the manager of The Vitamin Shoppe in Gaithersburg. After battling binge eating for many years, I followed a high protein, low sugar diet to lose weight and take care of my mental health. I also started lifting weights, which eventually led to the start of my career as a competitive bodybuilder.


Going into the freshman year of high school at 14, I was a healthy average weight. I had struggled with knee injuries as a young athlete playing lacrosse, but I kept pushing and playing the sport I loved. But this year also brought struggles that I wasn’t quite ready for…depression and anxiety, leading to severe binge eating. As my time in high school progressed, I continued to gain weight. By the time I graduated high school, I weighed over 280 pounds.

Despite being heavy and obese, I was signed to play NCAA Division II lacrosse in college. A semester later, my sanity was at rock bottom. Playing a college sport without being in good physical condition was physically and mentally painful. I lost motivation for everything – workouts, classes, social gatherings – and kept eating secretly. I reached a breaking point and made the unfortunate decision to attempt suicide. I am very lucky and grateful that my attempt failed.

I came home from school and slowly integrated into the job market. In 2018, I was working in a full-time management position. I quit a job in 2019 to have MPFL reconstructive surgery on my right knee, which put me on physical therapy for two months. (I was also informed that I had arthritis in both knees.) My weight peaked at 330 pounds. The recovery was tough, but I got through it.

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In January 2020, I decided to work on small things to improve myself.

I started doing squats every day (even if it was just a few), drinking lots of water and eating more produce. I lost my first 20 pounds with these small changes in the first three months. Then COVID hit and everything stopped.

I was out of work from March to June 2020. I was at home doing nothing and talking to no one. I was not in a relationship. I had no distractions. It was the first time I had no one to blame for my problems, and no situation to vent my anxiety about; it was all me – and only me. I had the opportunity to reflect on myself in a way that I had never done before. I realized that losing weight was going to be an extremely difficult mental shift. I knew I would have to change my mindset on so many levels and take responsibility for my actions and thoughts.

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Between 2011 and 2020, I tried very difficult for losing weight through gym memberships, weight loss medications, diets, etc. I would start a strict diet, train hard, see no results, and then give up. And then this cycle would repeat itself. I promised myself that 2020 would be different. I accepted it would be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I also learned that I had prediabetes, high cholesterol, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

I gave myself time and patience to get used to each change before adding a new one. For example, I got used to my greens and water intake before adding protein goals. I wanted to be able to eat all the food groups. I didn’t want to choose a specific diet that took away a lot of my options, but I ate as much unprocessed food as possible. I did not limit the amount of food I ate and stuck to fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish, some complex carbohydrates, beans, seeds, nuts and a number limited dairy products. When I ate snacks, I opted for organic or low sodium options. I always had my cheat meals, which were whatever I wanted.

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Overall, the only numbers I focused on were drinking a gallon of water a day, eating a serving of greens a day, and staying high in protein and little sugar. I also cut out sodas and juices.

This is what I eat in a day now.

  • Breakfast: Four egg whites, spinach, two slices of Ezekiel toast with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spread
  • Snack: Iwon Protein Sticks
  • Lunch: Brown rice, half an avocado, 4 oz. Salmon
  • Snack: Dynamize the protein shake
  • Having dinner: Roasted Brussels sprouts, 4 oz. grilled chicken, half a sweet potato
  • Dessert: Greek yogurt with granola and dark chocolate chips

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    Once I got used to the nutritional adjustments, I added a more specific fitness regimen.

    He slowly transformed from a little strength and cardio to a more intense lifting. I didn’t start full workouts immediately, but takes walks and did squats here and there throughout the day. After losing about 40 pounds through better nutrition and some exercise, I got a gym membership when the gyms reopened in the summer of 2020. It was manageable for me as I had already lost weight. weight and I was on the right track.

    I worked with a trainer for a little while, who taught me how to lift properly and create sets. It encouraged me to come to the gym even when I wasn’t with my trainer. Eventually I started going to the gym five days a week with two days off.

    When I had lost 100 pounds in February 2021, I decided to enter my first bodybuilding competition in October 2021. I signed up for the Summer Shredding Classic in Houston, Texas. I continued to train and had the help of my new coach and PNBA bikini pro, Tank Forero. I placed ninth out of 64 beautiful women in the transformation division of the show, and I couldn’t be happier.

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    This opened the door to the start of my bodybuilding career, where I want to pursue NPC Wellness. I am currently off season, where I am maintaining my weight and working on muscle mass growth at my gym, BenAFits Body Shop in Rockville. I currently train four days a week. Anyway, I still take over 10,000 steps a day between work and the gym. My workouts consist of core, strength training, and cardio. My strength training days are divided into pushing, pulling and legs.

    I developed a love for a healthy lifestyle and made it a hobby! It eventually turned into bodybuilding, finding supplements, and helping others achieve their goals.

    These three changes led to my weight loss success.

    1. I changed my mindset. If you change your mindset to “it is what it is” while dealing with difficult situations, it prepares you to endure challenges. Changing your mindset to accept that things will be difficult makes you stronger. Accept that a lifestyle change is painful and be ready for a challenge.
    2. I made sure I had a good support system. Throughout my journey, I have constantly had people around me who have supported me and even joined me! Between my family, my friends, my boyfriend, my colleagues, my gym family and social media, I always felt like there were people cheering me on, which allowed me to Continue.
    3. I put myself in a work environment where I was happy. Being at The Vitamin Shoppe makes me happy because it fits my life as I continue to spread the knowledge and awareness of healthy living through supplements and lifestyle advice. It drives me to keep giving my best for my team, my clients and everyone around me.

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      All in all, I lost just over 150 pounds. Since then I have maintained body fat and continued to build muscle mass.

      Throughout this journey, I have learned that our mental health is closely linked to our physical health. Serotonin is our body’s mood stabilizer and our gut produces 95% of your body’s serotonin. Knowing this, I decided to put clean food in my digestive system and I finally saw a difference day and night. My fitness routine helps me release stress and tension. When you take care of your body, you take care of your mind.

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      Finally, if you’re losing weight or trying to change your lifestyle, accept that you can’t rely on motivation. It’s a matter of discipline. Be prepared to endure the pain of the journey.

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