These days, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have a strong opinion about dieting. Your neighbor is doing keto, your coworker is on Atkins, and your brother can’t stop raving about Paleo. Now, it’s your turn to make a decision. You want to lose 50 pounds, but you don’t quite know where to start. Of course, there are knowledgeable people who have reasonable advice—like personal trainers, dieticians, and nutrition experts—but sometimes, it’s nice to hear weight loss advice straight from the horse’s mouth: from real people who really lost a lot of weight.
That’s why we’ve found people who have successfully lost more than 50 pounds (and some more than 100!). Steal their tips, get inspired, and then kick off your own journey.
Sarah, 63 Pounds
“Woke up late [and was] only able to fit in a 25-minute hit, but you know what? I’m glad I got my butt out of bed and did something! In this journey you will find that it’s the little things that add up.” – Sarah @sarah_fitafter5
This stay-at-home momma didn’t let having five kids be an excuse for skipping out on a chance to improve her health. Now, the fit mom makes it super easy to work out because she just walks downstairs to her basement. Not only is her gym in her own house, but as she noted above, she doesn’t rule out a sweat sesh just because she won’t have the full time she’s used to committing. Even a short spurt of exercise is better than nothing—and you don’t need to hit the gym to get a good workout.
David Garcia, 160 Pounds
“I’ve figured out how to combat my biggest weakness: my attitude. Every prior diet derailed after making poor food choices, because I would think, ‘There goes my diet today, so I should eat whatever I want, and get back on track tomorrow.’ And then I’d stretch ‘tomorrow’ to ‘next week’ to ‘next month’ to ‘next year.’ So now I eliminate temptation wherever I can. I keep lots of healthy options at home, so I never feel stuck eating the same thing.” – David Garcia, @keepitupdavid
David has unlocked one of our favorite tips: always be prepared. When you have nothing but healthy food options at home, it’s hard to give in to junk food cravings. Start by replacing your go-to vices with low-carb snacks that keep you full and crush cravings.
Julie Ana Kim, 72 Pounds
“I recently checked the scale to see if I had lost any weight and saw I was only down 2 lbs. I was a little disappointed because I have been working out extra hard. But yesterday, 2 of my coworkers commented they noticed I’ve been slimming down. It just made me realize I definitely shouldn’t rely on the scale to measure my progress. […] Pictures, measurements, clothing all show progress as well. Don’t feel down just because of what the scale says.” – Julie Ana Kim @julieanakim
Weight loss won’t be easy and it doesn’t come quickly. And if you’re exercising on top of dieting (like Julie, who is doing high-intensity interval training every week), it’s more likely that you’ll reach a weight loss plateau sooner than those solely dieting. That’s because strength training will build muscle mass. That muscle mass will start to displace fat (good news for you!), leaving you more toned, but possibly at a similar weight. Like Julie said, sometimes, the best way to see progress is just by throwing on a shirt or pair of jeans you knew you previously struggled to get into.
Megan, 114 Pounds
“Before marriage and kids [vs.] after. It’s funny how back in the day we thought we didn’t have time to exercise and eat healthy because we were so busy with our full-time jobs. Most of our dinners consisted of picking something up from a restaurant because we were too busy to cook. Now, 2 kids later, we just know we have to make our health a priority.” – Megan @skinnymeg31
There will always be an excuse: you’re too busy, you’re too tired, you’re not in the mood. Take a page from Megan’s book and just make your health a priority. Put your health on the same level as making time to go out for date night or making time to watch a new episode of your favorite show every week.
Jessica Ann, 115 Pounds
“Don’t be overwhelmed by ‘how long it will take’ or ‘how far you have to go.’ Focus on today, on this moment. Make the best choices that you can—start where you are, with what you have.” – Jessica Ann, @join_jessica_xo.
It’s easy to look at photos of people who have gone through successful weight loss transformations and think to yourself, “Wow, I wish I could do that,” and then continue sitting on your couch doing nothing, discouraged that you lack the ability. Remember that there needs to be a starting point to your journey, and that starting point is right now—the millisecond you make the decision to do better. Not “Monday,” not “next month,” now. Do it now. Even a tiny first step like ridding your pantry of the chips or throwing together one of these healthy crock pot meal is a step in the right direction.
Olivia Maceira, 100 Pounds
“My #1 tip: Love yourself now. Don’t wait till you reach your goals, whatever they may be. Love yourself so much that you feel compelled to nourish yourself with healthy foods, get up and move your beautiful body, and practice gratitude.” – Olivia Maceira @oliviablissful
Olivia recommends starting by loving who you are right now (even if you’re a few pounds overweight). By doing this, you’re showing yourself that you care enough about yourself as a person to work through the hard part of giving up a donut or walking around the block all in the attempt to better your health.
Kate Purtle, 92 Pounds
“When I first started my weight loss journey I required validation from external sources [including the opposite gender]. But when you try to lose weight in spite of something, or because of someone else, or for attention purposes, or for some other external reason, you can only get so far before you lose sight of what you’re trying to achieve. When you decide that you want to lose weight for yourself […] it is a much more powerful and strong source of motivation and one which will last a lifetime.” – Kate Purtle @persistencepays
A recurring theme in weight-loss advice is to find a motivation that resonates with you. More importantly, Kate says, is to find one that neither depends on an external event (like an upcoming reunion), nor an external person (like a guy you have feelings for). Motivation needs to come from within. If you’re struggling to seek motivation, think about all reasons to lose weight besides fitting into your old jeans, like slashing your risk of metabolic diseases.
Haley Smith, 115 Pounds
“We’ve finished a race each month for the last 6 months. We want to make it to a full year of monthly races! We actually planned a vacation and in the booking, we decided to register for a 5k. It’s odd because a year ago I would have laughed at the thought of running on vacation or even running for fun.” – Haley Smith @haley_j_smith
Haley and her now-husband have two weight loss tips (although one isn’t obvious at first). First, they make small, monthly goals. One of which includes running a race. When you work towards small goals, it makes the larger picture much less daunting. Secondly, they work out together, which is actually scientifically proven to help you lose weight! One University of Aberdeen study discovered that participants who were challenged by a workout buddy performed better, and other studies have found that shaping up with a partner results in greater weight loss than when you sweat alone. So even if you’re not into running 5k’s every month, hitting the gym with a friend or spouse can be just as fun and effective.
Laura Micetich, 115 Pounds
“There isn’t an easy answer…. a quick fix… a magic pill…. a simple solution. […] I stopped making excuses. I stopped justifying destroying my body, health, and quality of life with hollow, empty excuses. I don’t have a simple solution for you. I have the cold, honest truth: It requires work. And anyone can do that.” – Laura Micetich, @theirongiantess
Bad eating habits caused Laura’s weight to spike to 304 pounds, which eventually led to thyroid issues (a gland found at the base of your neck that helps to control your metabolism). Ultimately, she was able to lose 115 pounds by replacing junk food with real foods like chicken, fish, and veggies, and adopting an intensive fitness program of weight lifting and cardio. Not once has she said her two-year journey was easy. In fact, as she explains above, it takes a lot of hard work. But luckily, everyone has the capacity for hard work—you just have to tap into it.
John David Glaude, 180 Pounds
“Personally I think good intentions are GREAT, and they are important for sure, BUT without EXECUTION, they are pretty much pointless. […] I had great intentions so many times before trying to lose weight. I wanted to be ‘fit’ more than ANYTHING in the world for YEARS, but I never executed! So, I stayed the same! I know how daunting losing a ton of weight seems like, but TRUST ME, make small changes over a larger period of time, and you WILL see changes!” – John David Glaude @obese_to_beast
John makes a great point: you can want to lose weight more than anything in the world, but unless you execute and act on these wishes, nothing will come of it. Take a page out of his book and start by making small changes to your daily routine, such as cutting empty calories and drinking more water.
Justine McCabe, 124 Pounds
“The person you see reflecting in the mirror…will provide you with the biggest challenges in life. The human spirit is powerful. Do the work. Suffer the setbacks, push past the pain and excuses. True motivation is not an outside source. It’s staring directly back at you.” – Justine McCabe @hairstargetsfit
Justine knows a thing or two about the power of a mirror. After losing both her mother and husband within a short timespan, Justine says she struggled with “depression, a serious binge eating disorder, body shame, and body dysmorphia.” Her friends recommend she go to the gym. And after being berated enough, she went, snapped a selfie, and sent it to her friend as proof. The next day, she surprised herself by going back. And took another picture. It became a daily habit, daily motivation, and a great way to keep track of her progress. Check out the video of a year’s worth of selfies in the link to her Instagram page above!
Carly Quinn, 183 Pounds
“17-year-old me never thought I’d ever see the 200’s, let alone make it [past] them. If you have a lot to lose, don’t think of it like that. Starting out, I didn’t say ‘ok guys I’m just going to lose 200+ lbs, [no big deal]’ I would’ve been overwhelmed and given up a long time ago. Take it 5 pounds at a time, guys. You will thank yourself.” – Carly Quinn @carlyxquinn
It’s ok to start out without an ultimate goal. Carly explains that if she had gone out with the goal of losing 200 pounds (which she’s nearing), she may have quit earlier. Instead, she took it step by step and recommends you do the same.
Sarah Beasley, 120 Pounds
“It’s seriously as EASY as DECIDING that this time—YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO QUIT! You pin the pictures on Pinterest of your goal body! You follow women who inspire you! You see the recipes and meal plans!!! So why don’t you don’t stick to it?!! I know why. Because I did the same thing for years & years & years being envious of fit Mommas I saw with their babes while I was struggling to push mine on the swings huffing and puffing without making time for me to make change happen. UNTIL…I decided to JUMP INTO IT.” – Sarah Beasley @sarah_beasley_fitness
Don’t just “jump into it,” commit to not quit! Sarah recognizes that it feels hard at times and you can certainly have off days and take breaks, but just remember to get back on track once you feel rested. It’s not going to happen overnight (Sarah’s journey has taken over three years!) so just keep going!
Carley, 115 Pounds
“I had a challenge of not weighing myself for a month, which in the end I could not do. I was afraid that I was getting an unhealthy relationship with the scale so I decided to cut the cord. But when doing so I realized that I had nothing pushing me, showing me that my daily effort was working. Because of this, I felt myself slipping, getting lazy and my old habits starting to creep back. So, I got my scale back and I am weighing myself again!” – Carley @carleygetsfit
Carley’s tip is sound advice, but even better is that it’s research-backed! You see, a Cornell University study found that stepping on the scale daily is actually an effective approach to weight loss. When people weigh themselves daily and track the results, they were more likely to lose weight and keep it off than those who checked in less often. The method “forces you to be aware of the connection between your eating and your weight,” commented senior author David Levitsky in a press statement.
Katie Bolden, 143 Pounds
“You can’t grow without change. Definitely one of the hardest things for me to grasp throughout this life and journey.” – Katie Bolden, @huffnpuff2buffntough
Guess what? Losing a significant amount of weight is going to change your body. But it doesn’t just end there. Sure your waistline will change, but so will your health, your mentality, and your perspective! Change can be scary. It can be unfamiliar, hard, and overwhelming at times. But, according to Katie, it’s the only way you’re going to grow!