From people who’ve lost 40, 50, 100+ pounds
Johnna Stephenson, 40, Lost 63 pounds
“Dark chocolate is my favorite way to treat myself,” she says. “Instead of thinking about it all day long, I let myself have one small piece first thing in the morning, before I eat breakfast. It feels really decadent, and I get the craving out of my system.”
Get in the Race
Dana Bland, 40, Lost 190 pounds
To stay motivated, Dana joined a local running club and started competing in road races. “When you used to barely be able to walk up the stairs, finishing a 10K is amazing,” she says. “I’m so appreciative of what my body is capable of doing.” She even did a triathlon!
Limit Liquid Calories
Elizabeth Byrd, 31, Lost 40 pounds
“I loved happy hour, but I cut back to one weekend night a week,” she says. “That way I could go out without feeling guilty.” Cutting down on caloric cocktails helped her drop 15 pounds after three months.
Don’t Demand Perfection
Lori Kimble, 41, Lost 105 pounds
“I used to think that to be active, you had to look like an Olympian, but I learned we all have an inner athlete waiting to come out,” she says. As a teen in gym class, Lori was teased for running slowly, but as an adult, decided to try running again—and she fell in love with it.
Consider Your Calories Carefully
Diana Carbonell, 44, Lost 159 pounds
When it came to junk food, Diana couldn’t control her cravings, so she created food rules. “If I’m at a party and I’m tempted by a bunch of delicious-looking treats, I don’t try them all,” she says. “Instead, I take a nibble of one, rate it, and finish it only if it scores a 10.”
Nix Post-Dinner Noshing
Cyndy Barnes, 38, Lost 50 pounds
“I used to snack all evening on chips and cookies. What’s more, I even stocked chocolate in my nightstand drawer so I could eat while lying in bed.” To stop her stomach from grumbling after dinner, she started drinking a glass of water with a power fiber supplement mixed in.
Don’t Go to Extremes
Tracy Johnson, 27, Lost 40 pounds
“Someone once told me that you should never do anything today that you can’t do for the rest of your life,” she says. “So I didn’t starve myself or work out for three hours at a clip because I knew I couldn’t sustain that.” Having a realistic attitude prevented Tracy from getting frustrated…and helped the pounds drop.
Ditch the Fast-Food Habit
Andrea Williams, 33, Lost 50 pounds
“I’d prep my lunches the night before and bring them to work,” she says. “What I packed was not only more nutritious than going out, it was cheaper too.” Once she stopped eating burgers and greasy takeout regularly, the weight began coming off—about 2 pounds a week.
Start with Small Swaps
Heather Craig, 28, Lost 85 pounds
Heather set about improving her diet with little tweaks: replacing mayonnaise with mustard, switching from whole milk to nonfat, and swapping out white bread for wheat. She also stopped stocking desserts at home. “I would go buy a cone of frozen yogurt instead of keeping pints in my freezer,” she says.
Look Sexy While You Sweat
Caroline Jhingory, 28, Lost 123 pounds
“I find flattering and affordable exercise clothes at discount shops, like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls,” she says. “Wearing something I feel good in—rather than an old college tee—inspires me to go to the gym.” Now Caroline is proud to show off her figure in form-fitting clothing.