“Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links.”
Ree Drummond, 55, shared new details about how her weight loss journey is going in 2024.
The Pioneer Woman lost almost 60 pounds back in 2021 by following 10 specific strategies.
Ree focused her weight loss goals on feeling better and having more energy.
Here’s what’s happening on the ranch: Ree Drummond, “The Pioneer Woman,” has been very open about the weight loss journey she embarked upon in 2021, which resulted in her losing around 60 lbs. In October 2023, she gave a big update on her health goals during an interview with TODAY explaining that she has tried to maintain a realistic approach to her weight loss, forgoing diet programs, intermittent fasting, or crash diets.
Back in 2021, the blogger told Entertainment Tonight that she had been thinking about getting in shape for a while, and began her weight loss journey after she “basically hit rock bottom eating chips and salsa one night.”
“I went a little overboard, but I thought that night, ‘I am going to start tomorrow, I am doing something different.’ And I just started and I almost lost 60 pounds now,” she told ET.
For Ree, it wasn’t just about the number on the scale. “I feel great and that’s what matters,” she explained in 2022. “The scale was sort of a gauge for me that I was heading in the right direction. And it was never about I have to lose this amount, it’s really about how I feel.”
Ree, now 55, told TODAY that years later, her biggest takeaway was to try not to waste calories, which she admits she doesn’t “always adhere to” these days. The cooking show host said she’d typically ask herself what would serve her body best before deciding what to eat.
“I could eat a plate of delicious food with different elements and colors and flavors, or I could eat a donut.” She joked that sometimes, she’ll still opt for the donut, “but it’s just a good thing to have in mind,” she explained.
Since losing the weight, Ree has given her followers insight on all the diet and lifestyle changes she made at the time that she still follows today. Here are the 10 tips and tricks that helped Ree lose weight, build muscle, and see real results.
1. Ree maintained a calorie deficit.
Ree was honest when she told her readers that diets like Keto and intermittent fasting didn’t work for her. Instead, she maintained a calorie deficit, meaning “I expended more calories (through exercise and just basic daily activity) than my body required to maintain my then-weight.”
Ree said she used an online calculator to get a rough estimate of her daily calorie count and tried to undershoot it each day. “I’d completely lost track of the calories I was consuming on a daily basis, so it was very helpful to get a handle on what I was looking at,” she wrote on her website.
This all helped Ree get a better idea of how much food her body needs. “Today,” she writes, “I’m eating all the foods I love, but my body is satisfied with much less of it.”
2. She weighed her food.
Ree also used a digital food scale to weigh everything she ate. “It really woke me up to the portions I had grown accustomed to eating!” she wrote. As she lost more weight and had a better idea of what portion sizes looked like, Ree stopped relying on the scale.
“I still ate good food,” she said. “I just ate less of it, and I valued the calories more and made sure I ate things that offered more nutritional bang for the buck.”
Looking back, Ree realized that her dedication in the beginning helped set the tone for the rest of her weight loss journey. “I was glad I’d been so strict for that first stage, because it wound up being a nice crash course that equipped me going forward. Starting out with that discipline actually allowed me more freedom later in the process,” she explains.
3. She incorporated exercise into her daily routine.
Ree also said she made exercise part of her day-to-day. “I learned that making time each day to exercise simply had to be done,” she wrote. She stopped letting her busy schedule get in the way and instead focused on small moments in her day when she could exercise, like walking her dogs.
“During the past few months, I just chose to be late on a deadline or put off work until the next day so that exercise could happen. It was a simple shift in mindset, but it was important!” she said.
Her favorite ways to get moving? Walking, using a rowing machine, and Pilates. “I exercised 6 days a week,” she said. “Sometimes twice a day (morning walk, evening rowing machine), sometimes just once.”
4. Ree focused her workouts on strength training.
One of Ree’s fitness goals included muscles, so she started building strength training into her workout routine. Ladd (her husband) helped her come up with a rotation of exercises that targeted Ree’s legs and butt.
“I had zero strength in my lower body and my legs trembled and gave out,” she said. “And I couldn’t walk for the first few days!” But now, after lunging, squatting, and deadlifting for four days a week, Ree is seeing real improvement.
“It feels good (as someone who isn’t a spring chicken) to actually see and feel new muscles in my bod,” she said.
Now, Ree says discovering strength training was one of the most important changes she made. “I can’t emphasize this enough: Building muscle — not just the smaller muscles in your arms, but the larger muscles in your legs and butt — will turbo charge your weight loss like nothing else and set you up for more success,” she shares.
5. Ree added more protein into her diet.
Once she was comfortable with her calorie deficit, Ree also started tracking how much protein she was eating. “Turns out that on a typical day, I had been landing at around 15% to 20% of my calories from protein…so I pivoted and steered my eating so that I was around 30% to 40% protein,” she wrote.
Some of her favorite new high-protein foods are low fat plain Greek yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, lean meats, fish, egg whites, and almonds.
6. The cookbook author also ate less sugar.
Ree wanted to get the most out of the foods she was eating. “Most days, I made choices that didn’t involve a lot of sugar,” she said. “Over time, it really resulted in quite a reduction of wasted calories.”
She still treated herself to a slice of cake every once in a while, “but the piece of cake was the size of Rhode Island instead of Texas.”
“Now, a year later, I eat pretty much all the foods I love, with two big differences: First, my portions are much more reasonable. Second, I do still pay attention to the daily proportions I’m devoting to both high protein foods and foods with wasted calories,” Ree shares.
She goes on to explain: “‘If I am eating X calories today, do I want to blow 300 of those calories on a doughnut? Or do I instead want to spend 50 of them on a piece of good dark chocolate to get my fix, then keep eating things with more nutritive content?’ Months later, I apply that thinking to all sorts of high-sugar, high-carb foods that don’t have any nutritional value.”
7. Ree completely cut out alcohol.
That’s right: Ree went dry. She lists a few reasons for going booze-free. Alcohol is a bunch of empty calories, she reasoned and Ree wanted to give her body a break from drinking while she ramped up her daily exercise.
“Bottom line, I didn’t drink a sip of alcohol for over four months,” she said. Now, she still drinks occasionally, but she steers clear of high-calorie cocktails.
“I avoided (and still avoid) anything that’s sugary or otherwise really caloric. Off limits are frozen drinks such as daiquiris and margaritas, and sweet cocktails that include syrups and lots of fruit juice,” Ree writes now.
“That said, lemon and lime juice are my friend when it comes to booze, and my two favorite drinks are Ranch Water (clear tequila, lime juice, and sparkling water over ice) and White Wine Spritzer (small amount of cold white wine, sparkling water, and lemon slices.),” she adds.
8. She used an app to track her progress.
Ree also used Happy Scale, a weight-loss-tracking app that shows you your progress toward your goal weight. “It doesn’t tell you how to lose weight, and it doesn’t track calories, exercise, or anything other than your daily weigh-in,” she said.
She says Happy Scale was a big part of her motivation. “It’s not ideal if you just want to lose five or ten pounds, but since I had a larger target to hit, it was the right kind of tool for me,” she wrote.
Today, Ree still steps on the scale daily. “My decision to weigh myself every day is not about fixating over every pound and ounce. I’ve just found that when excess weight has crept on through the years, it has happened when I’ve chosen not to weigh myself,” she writes. She still swears by Happy Scale, though: “It’s good to see the trends over time!”
9. Ree switched to a standing desk.
As part of her plan to make exercise part of her daily routine, Ree set up a standing desk. “The transparent amount of time I had to be on the computer at my desk was shocking,” she said. “I knew that would translate to a lot of sitting, so I dragged an old standing desk out of our mud room and stuck it squarely in our living room.”
She says the desk helped remind her to take more breaks and move around throughout the day. “It made a huge difference,” she said. Fun fact: Ree was writing another cookbook while losing the weight.
10. She wanted to continue her new lifestyle changes.
Back in 2022, Ree said her journey wouldn’t be ending any time soon. “I’ll keep weighing in every day to have all the information I need going forward, but the number isn’t what I’m paying attention to now,” she said at the time.
In her reflection, Ree adds that “after the experience of the past year, I feel better. I have more energy. I’m more motivated to take on projects and put things on the ol’ calendar. Feeling good bleeds over into all aspects of my life. And that has changed my outlook. But to come full circle…it hasn’t changed my life itself,” she says.
How is her weight loss going in 2024?
Years later, Ree said she still tries to exercise regularly and add more protein and veggies into her diet, per Today.
Finding herself constantly surrounded by yummy foods can be tricky, but Ree said has made it a point to not restrict herself too much, or put too much pressure on gym time.
“I think what I’ve done over the past two years is knowing that I don’t want to push things away or say no to foods. I upped my movement a bit. I take a couple walks with the dogs each week. I make sure to get on the rowing machine at least once a day,” she explained in the interview. (BTW, she said the rowing machine was her “favorite machine” to use for toning and building muscle.)
Her biggest piece of advice? “Just move a little more and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be that good.”
You Might Also Like