Whether you’re looking to lose those last five pounds or a full 50, weight loss is no easy feat. Oftentimes, people opt for excessive workouts and crazy diets in order to get fit fast, but sadly, that doesn’t always work (and usually results in yoyo weight fluctuations). So, we sought out four women who found a way to shed major pounds by changing their lifestyle a little bit at a time—no fasting or treadmill binges necessary.
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Donna, 56: Lost 51 pounds
How Starting Small Gave Her Big Results: “I did not put a time limit on myself,” affirms Donna, who used Weight Watchers as her diet of choice. “I was in this for the long haul and recognized that this was going to take some time, so I just allowed it to happen at a natural pace.” Not only does Donna reiterate that keeping your daily expectations realistic is important, but she also says it’s also critical to cut yourself some slack if the number on the scale isn’t ticking down each week. “Some weeks I would lose three pounds and some weeks I would gain a pound or two, but I always kept my eye on the end result and just kept going.”
How She Uses the Dressing Room As Motivation: “There is no better feeling than going into a dressing room, trying clothes on and liking everything—I missed that for so many years,” says Donna. “But now I have replaced just about every single item in my wardrobe and I threw away all my old clothes because there is no going back.” Another motivator? Recognizing how much better she feels every single day. “No more knee pain and much less back pain,” she adds. “Every single aspect of my life has been affected by the weight loss and recognizing that is keeping me going every day.”
Tania, Mid-30s: Lost 25 Pounds
Her Trick for Eating Healthy Meals All Week: As a mother to four children and a woman looking to lose post-pregnancy weight, Tania developed a new routine she knew she could stick to. “I always do meal prep on Sundays so I have healthy snacks and meals on hand in the fridge to grab-and-go with my busy schedule,” she explains.
How She Turned the Gym Into a Safe Haven: “Working out every day is my therapy, my sanity drug if you will—it’s my ‘me’ time,” she says. “[It’s] time to clear my head, push myself to the next level, relieve stress, get stronger and become more fit, and now as a mom, ‘me’ time has become even more important to me.” Changing her mindset to view workouts as a part of self-care and self-love rather than a monotonous chore is an easy way to ensure you’ll keep going back, so think of it as a time of day that you can dedicate solely to yourself (how rare is that?!).
Yael, 31: Lost 37 Pounds
How She Sneakily Exercises Without Hitting the Gym: “I walk everywhere I can,” says Yael. “I set up a goal of a minimum of 6,000 steps that I need to walk a day—outside of my time at the gym—and I’ve become slightly obsessed with my ‘Health’ app on my iPhone, which I use to check if I’ve hit my daily goal.”
How She Cuts Calories at Happy Hour: “While I love a good happy hour, I’ve really limited the amount of alcohol I drink,” she says. “I’ll drink every now and then for special occasions, but will ask for seltzer at a bar and pretend it has vodka in it.”
Olivia, 24: Lost 20 Pounds
How She Makes Each Meal Healthier: “My number-one weight-loss tip would be to always make one improvement on what you ‘used’ to eat for every meal, whether it be smaller portions, avoiding fried foods or skipping dessert,” explains Olivia. It’s much less daunting to simply change one thing on your plate rather than revamp your entire diet, and whether you notice it at first or not, these small food changes quickly make a big difference on your overall health.
Her Tip on Prioritizing Calories: “I quit soda as well, which I always loved, but I would rather eat calories than drink them,” says Olivia. “To me, a diet shouldn’t be too restrictive because food tastes too good to not allow yourself to have it.” Unsurprisingly, moderation is key and prioritizing the calories you want to indulge in can lead to healthier choices overall.
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