MARI LLEWELLYN has suffered from depression and anxiety for most of her life.

Her depression was heaviest at a point that should have been one of the happiest of her life.

During college, Mari embraced the party lifestyle and her health fell by the wayside.

At her heaviest she weighed 111kg.

Mari weighed 111kg at her heaviest.
Mari weighed 111kg at her heaviest.

While she wasn't happy with how she looked, Mari was more concerned about her mental health. So she decided it was time to make a change and take better care of her body.

The 23-year-old went on to lose 34kg and now has her own exercise program and 293,000 followers on Instagram, who love following her body transformation journey.

A photo on her Instagram account shows the dramatic change over 10 months.
A photo on her Instagram account shows the dramatic change over 10 months.

"I stopped drinking and eating out, I changed my diet to clean foods, high protein and moderate low-fat carbohydrates. I also began weightlifting almost every day," she explains.

The college graduate from Philadelphia has become an advocate for lifting weights to improve your physique.

She uses the image below to illustrate the difference weightlifting has made to her figure:


Of the above photo she said "I get so many of you asking whether I recommend weights or cardio for fat loss. I think this post might answer that question! I am 190 lbs (86kg) in each photo, the left is last year and the right is me two weeks ago.

She continues to outline the key difference between the two photos:

1. My muscle mass - I am 1 year into weightlifting and have worked hard to increase my muscle mass.

2. Strength - I am much stronger now than I have ever been before.

3. Food - Guess what! I eat way MORE now than I did in the left photo. With more muscle mass it takes more calories to maintain my weight, which makes it easier when it comes time to lose fat.

Main point: weightlifting is a win-win weight loss tool. While putting on more muscle you are burning calories (yes weightlifting burns calories.) And with more muscle, you will need to eat more to maintain your weight, AKA it is easier to lose fat.

If you take anything from this post- I want it to be that I encourage you to try lifting some weights! You don't have to do hours of cardio for your dream body."

Mari has one key message for anyone wanting to overhaul their body:

"The advice I always give to people is to start small. Make small changes to your diet and current exercise and celebrate the small achievements; by setting small goals every day, you'll move closer to your larger goal."