MadameNoire Featured Video

Fitness Fridays

Source: Courtesy of Lauren Moses / LM

Lauren Moses went to college, and like many people, let the freedom, and the stress, get the best of her. She turned to food for comfort, and before she knew it she gained close to 50 pounds.

“Everything just went up,” she said. “My clothes sizes went up, I had a hard time going up the stairs. I had a hard time going down the stairs, walking up hills.”

When she started trying to lose weight, she wanted a quick fix, so she guzzled slimming teas and took diet pills. While she did lose weight, she felt terrible, and she ended up being smaller than she even was in high school. The quick fix way of doing things took a toll on her.

“I was trying to find anything. I was trying to find a slimming tea, a slimming pill,” she said. “I would go to CVS and whatever slimming thing I would find I would get. That didn’t work? I would go to another thing. I was more obsessed with getting skinny and looking thin rather than getting myself together, getting myself healthy.”

Eventually, she had an epiphany about her process, and realized that while skinny, she wasn’t healthy at all. She got rid of all of the pills and teas and took charge of her health with old-fashioned clean eating and activity. The 25-year-old DMV native ended up packing on muscle while maintaining a lean yet curvy figure. As her way of looking at health and wellness grew, so did the people who followed her after she started tracking her journey and posting workout videos on Instagram.

“I started out with 30 followers and then it just started to grow and then it started to grow really quickly,” she said. “I look back today, I think I’m at 18.6 thousand.”

She’s grateful these days for the positive messages that she gets, the results she’s seen from the hard (but healthy) work she’s put in and the feeling she has about herself now.

“Honestly, when I do my videos it’s so fun to look at the comments and read the messages, and I didn’t have that when I was using the teas or taking the pills,” she said. “I didn’t have that happiness and satisfaction.”

Find out more about why transparency is so important to Lauren, why she wouldn’t dare mess with slimming teas and diet pills again, and why she says the key to healthy weight loss is to realize it’s a journey and not a destination.


MadameNoire: Tell me how your fitness journey got started. It began in 2014, correct? 

Lauren Moses: Yeah, so what happened was, I went off to college and you know people gain the freshman 15. I actually gained like freshman 50. I don’t remember the exact number, but I went in 130-something pounds straight out of high school and I started eating. I was just stressed out and I was stress eating. I wasn’t exercising and I found comfort in food. One day I took a picture of myself and I was just like, oh my gosh, I don’t even recognize this person anymore.

When I started, I wanted a quick fix. I didn’t want to exercise so I would go to the tummy teas or I would try and find a diet pill, some type of quick fix. It wasn’t about the journey, I just wanted to get back to my skinny self, I guess. It took me a while to see that even though I was losing some weight, I was still having a hard time going up the stairs. I wasn’t healthy, but physically I looked it. Mentally I wasn’t. It had to take me putting the pills down, throwing the tea away and just getting my butt up at the crack of dawn, taking a run or taking a walk or running up and down the stairs. That motivated me to start my workout journey. Sometimes I would yo-yo. I would be all in and ready to be fit and then I’d fall off the wagon and eat a little too much and think, why try again? It took really last year for me to finally stay motivated.


You said that you were doing the fad diets and overexercising and ended up being very, very small, but you weren’t happy with where you found yourself. Can you elaborate on that part of your journey?

At my lowest I went all the way down to 120. Even though I looked small, I felt terrible. I would drink excessive amounts of green tea. I would go to the gym for three hours a day and just do cardio. I was just tiring myself out and I never had energy. The diet pills left me bloated and exhausted. Even though I looked semi-good, on the outside I felt terrible. I felt worse than I did when I gained a whole bunch of weight. I also didn’t feel accomplished. I just looked at myself in the mirror and thought, is this what it takes to look a certain way? There has to be a simpler way.

I threw everything away and for a time, it got harder because my body was so used to this certain method that I had to step away from. I started lifting weights and I started to run and feel accomplished. I think the sad part about the fitness world is that we promote losing weight and being skinny. We don’t really talk about how we get there. I got there, I got skinny, but when I tell you I felt terrible? I felt exhausted all of the time and didn’t want to do anything. Isn’t the point of losing weight to be healthier? I was kind of defeating the purpose. Even though I was okay on the outside, it didn’t really help me on the inside. I had this mindset of get skinny, get skinny, get skinny, but when does it become enough? Now my mindset is get fit, try this new exercise. I set goals for myself, short and long term. Before, my whole goal was just to get skinny. I try to preach against that now. I tell people to not make it a destination, but a journey. I try to preach that it’s not about getting skinny, it’s about being your own body goals.

So would you say the teas and pills people promote are dangerous based on your experience or is just that people who want a quick fix are using these tools wrong?

I think it’s a couple of things. I think there are people who are like how I was. They want a quick fix. So we see a tea, we see the words “fat loss” and we just automatically think, if I drink this I’ll get skinny. I’m sure there are teas that will help promote weight loss and waist trainers that will help, but I feel like it becomes dangerous when we start using the terminology of this and just this. Like if you use this waist trainer, you will be small again. Your whole waist will shrink. If you drink this tea you will drop the pounds. I don’t see it as much anymore but I used to see it when I was taking those teas. It would just be like, take these teas and you’re good to go. You don’t hear any mention of clean eating or exercise. That’s when it gets dangerous. Here you have these people not changing their eating habits or exercise habits and they believe if they drink this tea or wear this waist trainer, they can still go on with the bad habits they have and look like someone else. Also, people resort to surgery, which is fine, but they don’t disclose how they got their body. Promote whatever you want but be authentic. As fitness influencers, it’s important for us to be transparent and authentic because we have followers who are going to take everything we say seriously. That’s how people end up wearing this waist trainer thinking, why haven’t I lost these inches on my waist? Or you’re taking these pills like I was and thinking, why aren’t I losing this weight? Why do I feel terrible? I just try to combat that. I try my best not to promote the teas or the pills because I know the secret to my weight-loss goal is clean eating and exercising.

Can you speak on the importance of embracing the things about your body that you can’t change that are based on genetics? I know you initially struggled to accept your thighs.

I went to a doctor years ago and she told me my thighs would never be slim, or as slim as people would want them to be. They might be smaller, but I would forever have this shape. I feel like that’s an important trait and I try to be transparent when people ask me how to get their thighs big. I had to let them know that genetically, I’m a very curvy person. Even when I was heavier, I still had my curves. I think that’s important because I don’t want to say, “To get my thighs, do this.” It’s just not going to happen. I do exercise my legs and do as much as I can but I’m just always going to be curvy. So what I typically did was embrace self-love and be transparent about the fact that I used to hate them. I used to think they were too big and growing up it was all about being slim and I didn’t fit in that category. It was a journey to self-love and understanding I could do as many squats and leg extensions as I wanted but my thighs are going to have more meat on them. It’s just how it is. It’s about embracing what you can do and what you have rather than looking at the next person and being sad that your body doesn’t like look that. That’s just being honest with yourself when it comes to your fitness goals because sometimes people have these unrealistic goals, they don’t meet them and then they beat themselves up about it. You have to be honest with yourself. I embrace it.

What’s been the key to maintaining your curves while attempting to lean out? You have done a great job with that.

One of the things I say is that it seems that people will either do cardio or strength training. I incorporate both. It’s also important to not eat over my calories. The total amount of calories I allow myself a day is 1200, which is normal for my body. If I go off and do 1500, I will go to the gym and burn 300 so I can maintain. Or what I used to do was I would go to the gym and do 400 calories so I would be in a deficit with my calories. When you’re in a deficit, you’re going to lose weight. So that’s how I was able to lose it was complete cardio. When I started my journey, I was doing cardio every day, and I was starting to lose my glutes. They became smaller, I didn’t have any muscles and I had all this loose skin. After I did research, I realized I needed to do weight training get the toning going. I started doing both: 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of strength training. That’s when I was able to see my glutes firm up and muscles in arm. I tell people all of the time that you have to combine them. You can’t build muscle with cardio. Even with all the cardio, you can’t build abs. Cardio is meant to slim down and boost metabolism but you’re not going to build up any strength or muscle. That’s what strength training is for. I’ve been able to do both and they’ve helped me maintain my figure.

How has your diet helped you slim down? What are you eating these days?

I will be completely honest. I had a hard time figuring out before what my diet was going to be. I tried keto. I tried being completely strict. I tried Atkins. I tried all of that stuff and what I had to realize is that this can’t be a diet, this has to be my lifestyle. I can’t just do keto for a week and then go back to what I want. I’ve tried that before. I did keto for a week, it was a little too strict for me. The next week I went to town on bread and gained all the weight back. What works for me is low carb. I will make alternative food. Instead of using regular flour for my flour I’ll use almond flour. Instead of using sugar I would use Splenda. I would train myself to prefer those types of foods. There is a low-carb bread I have or I would use a wrap. That typically works for me because I’d find that when I would eat regular bread I would bloat easier or it would be so hard to get rid of. It’s just bad for me. That’s why I teeter-totter when people ask me about my diet, because what works for me may not necessarily work for another person. But for about seven months now it’s been low carb and low carb has worked for me. This is something I plan to do for the rest of my life. When I go out to eat I might tell them to hold the bread or I might get more meat and veggies on my plate and I will get healthier carbs like brown rice or sweet potatoes. I try to stay away from white rice and white bread. I’ve tried my best to do that and it’s been working. Now, that doesn’t mean that if I’m at a kid’s birthday party I won’t take a piece of cake. That might happen, but I try not to beat myself up about it. There may be times where you indulge when you don’t need to but that just means the next day you dust yourself off and try it again. A lot of people, including me, have struggled with that because we go off of our diet and we beat ourselves up and then we’re like, what’s the point? But you have to have that mental strength to say, maybe I shouldn’t have had that extra pizza, but guess what? I did and I’m going to move on and try harder the next day. I’m not good at just completely alienating food and I don’t really believe in that because when you do that, it’s difficult. I believe in replacing rather than completely removing my favorite foods, which is chocolate [laughs].

What is the advice you would give to people who are trying their best but are feeling dejected and ready to throw in the towel on their weight-loss and fitness journey?

You have to be your number one supporter. You can not look for when you lost a pound for other people to notice. You are putting all of your happiness in what that person says. If your friend told you that they lost a pound, would you say, “Oh, whatever,” or would you say, “I’m proud of you”? So why is it when we lose a pound we’re just like, “I guess. I was expecting more. Whatever.” You have to try to push yourself and it’s so hard because the scale will go up and down and you will fall when it comes to your diet sometimes, but you have to be your own cheerleader. As soon as you start thinking those negative thoughts of why am I doing this? I can’t stay fit to save my life. When that happens, the negative thoughts start increasing to the point that you don’t want to do it anymore. You have to support yourself. You have to stay motivated. I would not be where I am today if I did not support myself. You have to be positive and that’s with whatever you want in this world. You have to be your own best friend. There are already people looking to tear you down, why would you add to it?

Be sure to follow Lauren on Instagram and check out the rest of our inspiring Fitness Fridays profiles here

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN