1. Weight loss: 59 pounds
Liz DellaCroce started her weight loss journey after looking at one picture of herself. She was over 200 pounds and said she couldn’t believe what she saw. DellaCroce found My Food Diary, a website that helps you track calories and weight. She started counting calories and exercising daily. DellaCroce lost 35 pounds in 18 months when she experienced a setback. She wrote on her blog that she was laid off from her dream job and was at one of the lowest points in her life. Two years later she was pregnant with her son, and found herself over 200 pounds again after giving birth. She adopted the attitude that if she lost it once, she could lose it again. Six months later, she was 20 pounds lighter than her pre-pregnancy weight.
The secret in exercising is to find what you love, she told My Food Diary. DellaCroce started kickboxing, yoga and Zumba. “By mixing up my routine with different classes every day, I never get bored,” she said. “That’s what works for me.”
Get more of DellaCroce’s tips on her blog, The Lemon Bowl.
2. Weight loss: 128 pounds
From weighing 279 pounds to running a marathon, Tricia Minnick’s story is truly inspiring. When she found herself breathless trying to keep up with her son, Dash, she decided to make a change, she told reporters. She broke out the jogging stroller and started walking with her son. Minnick was out of breath after one block, but she was determined. By walking and eating healthy, she lost 20 pounds in the first three weeks. Her passion changed from wanting to lose weight to wanting to be healthy, she said.
She decided to sign up for a 5K to prove to herself she could do it. That race was the start of her passion for running. She lost 118 pounds after one year and continued to lose weight until she had lost a grand total of 128 pounds.
She gives three tips for anyone starting their weight loss journey: brush your teeth to prevent snacking, keep trying and eat fresh vegetables.
3. Weight loss: 50 pounds
Melissa Sledge gained 50 pounds within five years. She was an athlete growing up and never needed to watch her weight, she said. But weight caught up with her when she became less active. Her father’s concern about her size is what helped Sledge make the first step in her weight loss journey.
Before, Sledge was eating fast food about three times a day and ordering pizza about three times a week, she said. Her first change included avoiding two of her favorite foods: french fries and pizza. The rest of her diet remained the same, resulting in 10 pounds lost in 90 days. This motivated her to start cooking at home. She added fruits and vegetables to her diet and avoided processed foods. She also started exercising, but started small. She jumped rope in her garage about three days a week for five minutes and worked her way up to 30 minutes.
One big challenge she continues to face are her cravings. “I would ask myself things like, ‘How will this food help me accomplish my goals? How will I feel after I eat this?’” she said. “Reflecting on these questions helped me take the emotion out of the craving.” Sledge’s advice for those trying to lose weight is to be patient with yourself and make realistic goals.
4. Weight loss: 151 pounds
Gina Canakis was 298 pounds when she decided she wanted to make a change in her life. Losing her father to extreme obesity in 2013 motivated her to lose weight. She pursued weight loss surgery, but was told she would have to drop 10 percent of her weight naturally first. Once she started losing weight, she chose to continue her journey without surgery, she told Everyday Health.
She dieted for one year and lost 60 pounds, but she said she realized she needed to overcome her dislike of exercise to reach her goal. Canakis started small by walking in her driveway and she worked her way up to using the treadmill and bike machines at the gym.
Her secret to dieting was to eat her biggest meal in the morning so that she could burn it off during the day. She replaced soda with flavored water and sweets for yogurt. She encourages people who are beginning their weight loss journey to start small and keep a journal of “wins,” no matter how small.
You can get more tips from Canakis’ blog, Weight Clique.
5. Weight loss: 30 pounds
This woman didn’t lose over 50 pounds, but her motivational story shows that you can lose weight just by doing the little things.
Jennifer Drummond’s weight loss journey began in the summer of 2009 when she walked every day after dinner — no exceptions. She lost ten pounds in one month. “That was the push I needed,” she said. But she didn’t stop there. Drummond started controlling her portions and later she started counting calories. In 2010 she began working out to TV exercise channels. Gradually she continued to do more.
Drummond felt discouraged when she reached an eight-month weight plateau. But she kept going, and over the course of five months, she dropped the last 10 pounds she needed to reach her goal.
She encourages people who want to lose weight to count calories, eat enough food (but don’t overeat), drink plenty of water and read labels on your food. Find out more of Drummond’s weight loss secrets on her website, Peanut Butter & Peppers.
Weight loss can seem daunting when you look at your ultimate goal. Set small goals to stay motivated, and make one change at a time. Remember to celebrate even the little achievements.