So, here are some tips that helped people lose 40 pounds or more:
1. Get into strength training to feel powerful AF.
“I do strength training three times a week. I started with mostly bodyweight exercises (lunges, squats, and push-ups) and now use a lot of free weights. Strength transformed my body. Suddenly I had… muscles, and I’ve lost inches all over and my clothes fit better. I also just love being strong and being able to lift things. Not losing my breath when I go up stairs is amazing. Being stronger feels amazing — I can do things I never did before and always want to challenge myself.”
—Yasmin Castro, 29 (lost 100 pounds over two years)
2. Start moving and stay accountable by finding a group workout to participate in.
“In the summer of 2012, I moved to a new city and some of my new co-workers invited me to join them on a weekly Saturday morning run. They were inviting, not intimidating, and so supportive. Those runs are what helped me stick with it. It was certainly hard, but that group included runners of all skill and experience levels. Not only was a group run a way to hold myself accountable, but it was also a lot of fun.
When I started out, I had chosen a two-mile loop, and it was my goal to conquer that loop. Starting out, I would run maybe 20% of it, and walk the rest. But each run I would challenge myself to run a little bit more, incrementally, until I could run the whole thing.”
—Andrew, 31 (lost 160 pounds over two and a half years)
3. Consider seriously cutting down on fast food and alcohol.
“I made the decision to cut them out because I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and my doctor said it would help my weight loss. I slowly cut out fast food and alcohol, and after about a month I no longer wanted them.
I feel so much better every day. In the beginning my body felt sluggish and tired. But after a few weeks I had more energy and was able to do more. I could also put more into my gym routine after cutting all of that out. Now I even prefer to eat something healthier for myself.”
—Rachel Silski, 29 (lost 42 pounds over 10 months)
4. Think about seeing a mental health professional who can help you work through any issues with food, your weight, etc.
“Though I didn’t know it at the time, a lot of my weight gain could be attributed to my struggle with major depression and my need to self-medicate with food. I rarely exercised and used to sneak out late at night for fast food binges. At the recommendation of a friend, I began speaking to a therapist to not only work out the issues regarding my physical health, but to heal in all aspects of my life. I was wary of seeking professional help in the beginning — solely based on the stigma alone — but I wouldn’t have been able to turn my life around without it.
It was in therapy that I learned I use food as a crutch to escape from the present, so I worked to channel that energy elsewhere. Since the beginning of my journey, I now run three to four times per week and am conscious to not rely on food to escape from my personal issues.”
—Arya Roshanian, 25 (lost 125 pounds over five years)
5. Find an active hobby and really make time for it.
“After moving from Florida to St. George, Utah, I’m really spoiled with all the hiking trails around me, especially in Zion National Park. I also brought my English Springer Spaniel, Tripp, with me and he truly saved my life. He is so full of energy and is the best hiking buddy a gal could want.
He became my amazing workout partner. I lost about 50 pounds just by eating healthier and working out by hiking and running with my dog. This is the healthiest I have been in years and I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for me.”
—Nikki Gibson, 34 (lost 49 pounds over 10 months)
6. Learn a bit about macronutrients and how you can use them to create more balanced meals.
“I quickly realized that when I ate well and drank a lot of water, I didn’t feel all that hungry, even though I was eating much less than I used to. Following my macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbs) actually allowed for some pretty delicious meals, so I was happy with what I was eating. I learned to make a hundred different recipes with chicken, turkey, or fish. It’s amazing how versatile those meats are, so I was rarely bored. Luckily, I have always loved to cook and make great meals, and eating healthier was a great challenge to expand my repertoire of recipes.”
—Greg Hirtzel, 30 (lost 50 pounds over six months)
7. Write out all the healthy things you love eating, and then plan meals around that.
“I made a list of the things I like to eat, what vegetables I like and so on, and looked up recipes that included them. Now, every Saturday/Sunday, depending on when I have time, I sit and plan all my meals for the upcoming week.
I prep, cook, and pack my meals the night before (usually after dinner). Is it hard? Yes! It requires me to make an extra effort and work for it and the results are worth it!”
—Caira Martinez, 35 (lost 66 pounds over five months)