Woman, 26, shed 86lbs by eating McDonald's almost every day

I lost 86lbs on the McDiet! Woman who weighed 250lbs reveals how eating McDonald’s chicken nuggets EVERY day helped her to slim down because she knows exactly how many calories she’s consuming

  • Karina Villarreal, 26, from Raymondville, Texas, weighed 248lbs at heaviest
  • Speech-language pathologist would use food to cope with negative feelings 
  • She decided to lose weight after experiencing signs of being pre-diabetic 
  • Karina has shed 86lbs by exercising and eating McDonald’s almost every day 

A woman whose weight spiraled as she used food to cope with negative emotions has shed 86lbs, while praising McDonald’s for helping her to keep track of her calorie intake.

Karina Villarreal, 26, from Raymondville, Texas, started to gain weight when she reached her twenties. Rushing into a toxic relationship after a previous long-term relationship broke down, Karina battled depression and anxiety and used food as a way to cope with her negative feelings.

At her heaviest in 2019, the speech-language pathologist tipped the scales at 248lbs and struggled to fit into size 16 clothing. Believing that the numbness and tingling she felt in her toes could be a sign of being pre-diabetic, Karina knew she had to lose weight fast in order to save her physical and mental well-being.

She decided to ditch her boyfriend and the huge plates of carbs and snacks, while starting to exercise at the local high school running track. 

Karina Villarreal, 26, (pictured) from Raymondville, Texas, has shed 86lbs by eating McDonald’s and exercising four times per week 


Karina who once tipped scales at 248lbs (pictured left), decided to overhaul her lifestyle after fearing she was becoming pre-diabetic 

Karina admits she initially found it impossible to jog for more than a few yards at a time and her feet cramped for days after exercising.

However, she battled through the pain and worked out four times per week in order to shift the pounds.

Due to being constantly on the move at work, Karina previously found herself grabbing snacks, without taking much notice of the calories she was eating.

She claims that McDonald’s has played a huge part in her weight loss journey since the calories are easily visible on the food packaging, allowing her to track how much she is consuming and ensure that she does not overeat. She visits the restaurant most days per week, usually ordering ten chicken nuggets and a Diet Coke.

Karina’s friends and work colleagues are shocked when she tells them that part of her weight loss secret is visiting the golden arches but for Karina, ensuring that she is in a calorie deficit is the key to her weight loss.

Overall Karina has lost 86lbs and now weighs 161lbs and fits into a size four. 

Karina (pictured before) would eat large plates of carbohydrates and snack without taking any notice of the calories 

Karina (pictured now) struggled to fit in US size 16 clothing, before battling through pain to develop an exercise routine 

Karina’s diet before…

Total: 3,000 calories per day

  • Pasta
  • Burgers with fries
  • Pizza 
  • Soda 

…Karina’s diet now 

Total: 1,400 calories per day 

  • Ten McDonald’s chicken McNuggets 
  • Diet Coke 
  • Baked salmon with vegetables and rice or cauliflower

Since losing the weight, Karina’s self-esteem has improved and she feels like a ‘normal person’ again. She revealed her physical well-being has improved too and fortunately, she no longer suffers from numbness in her toes.

Friends and family often tell Karina how much better she looks. However, her favourite comments are from those who tell her she looks happier. 

She admits that fitness doesn’t equate to happiness, but her weight loss has improved her mental health.

‘It wasn’t until age twenty-two that I noticed my weight gain,’ said Karina.

‘I continuously battled depression and anxiety, and used food as a coping mechanism to mask my true issues.

‘It didn’t phase me until I took a good look at my before and after pictures and I had no idea this was the person who was staring at me in the mirror.

Karina (pictured) said she would continuously use food as a coping mechanism while she battled depression and anxiety 

‘I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship and almost immediately met someone new.

‘I thought everything was great, until he turned out to be a pretty awful person, so I lost weight as a way to cope with everything that had just happened.

‘I’ll always say that I’m not proud of my reason, just my progress.

‘l’ll never forget my first workout – I walked three miles on the treadmill and had cramps on my feet for days.

‘It was one of the most painful experiences ever, but I kept pushing.

‘I owe everything in my weight loss to a calorie deficit and making simple substitutions. I honestly owe a lot of my weight loss to McDonald’s too.

Karina wasn’t overweight as a child (pictured) but began to see her weight spiral in her early twenties, while in a toxic relationship


Karina (pictured left before) said her first workout was a three mile walk on the treadmill that caused her to have cramps on her feet for days. Pictured right: Karina now 

Karina (pictured) said McDonald’s has the calories displayed on every box, so it’s ‘really easy’ to keep track of calorie intake

‘I’m constantly on the go at my job and I’m able to stay within my calories thanks to them because they display the calories on every box, so it’s really easy to keep track of what I’m eating.

‘When people see how much weight I’ve lost, they’re usually pretty shocked.

‘I hope that I can inspire others to improve not only their physical, but their mental health as well.

‘People usually freak out when I say I consistently eat chicken nuggets, but at the end of the day, it’s what works for me.

‘The hardest thing about losing weight was the initial three weeks of building the habit, but once you get into the swing of things it becomes a lot easier.

‘The most complimentary comment that I’ve received is that I ‘look happier.’

‘While my mental health has improved slightly, I don’t exactly ‘feel happier’.

Karina (pictured left) said it takes patience and perseverance to successfully lose weight, even if that means eating chicken nuggets every day 

‘Fitness doesn’t equal happiness and that’s something I wish more people would understand.’

Before her weight loss, Karina’s diet consisted of high carb foods such as bowls of pasta, burgers with fries, pizza and soda totalling over 3,000 calories per day. Her exercise regime was non-existent.

Now, Karina typically has ten McDonald’s chicken McNuggets and a diet coke for lunch and for dinner, she has baked salmon with vegetables and rice or cauliflower mash totalling 1,400 calories per day. Karina visits the gym four times per week, focusing on cardio, and spending an hour on the elliptical trainer machine on each visit.

Despite her own weight loss being a speedy process, Karina warns those trying to lose weight that they most likely won’t see results overnight.

She said patience, perseverance and ensuring a calorie deficit are the keys to success, even if that does mean eating chicken nuggets each day.

Karina (pictured) said weight loss doesn’t happen overnight and there are no dumb reasons for wanting to start 

Karina (pictured) said seeing her progress has been addictive and it’s fun to watch yourself transform overtime 

‘If I were to give advice to someone who was just starting their own weight loss journey, I would say that no reason is too dumb for wanting to lose weight,’ said Karina.

‘I lost weight due to relationship issues, so I’m not one to judge.

‘It won’t happen overnight, so don’t expect it to – you have to be patient.

‘The most important thing to remember is that a calorie deficit goes a long way in losing weight.

‘Seeing my progress has been addictive and it’s fun to watch yourself transform overtime.

‘If I could do it, really anybody can. It’s a challenge, but it’s extremely rewarding and worth it in the end. Positivity is key.’ 

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