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"I Did It!" Best Before and After Weight-Loss Stories
Before: Our Contest Winner: "It Feels Amazing to Be Healthy!"
"I was always saying I would get the weight off 'someday,'" Diana Huffman said. A mom of four kids, Diana reached 220 pounds after the birth of her daughter. She had been putting herself last, which she realized was not fair to her or her children. Just before her 40th birthday, Diana decided "enough was enough."
Diana started hiking again at Squaw Peak, a local mountain she used to hike in her 20s, and vowed to make it to the top "no matter what," she said. "Since then I have been hiking that mountain every week along with running, swimming, biking, aerobics, and eating clean 95 percent of the time."
After: Our Contest Winner: "It Feels Amazing to Be Healthy!"
This is Diana after 10 months of hard work. "I feel like I am 25 again!" she said. Diana went from weighing 220 pounds and wearing a size 16 to weighing 144 and wearing a size 4 to 6.
"Anyone can do this," she said. "You just have to want it badly enough."
What's her secret? It's not magic, "just hard work, a commitment to exercise (anywhere and everywhere you can), and eating right."
Before: "I Can Fit My Wedding Dress Again!"
Kim Barrows decided to make 2007 the year to be healthy. She used NutriSystem to kick off her new diet and workout plan. By doing cardio for 45 minutes and strength training for 30 minutes 5 days a week with three of her best friends, Kim lost 65 pounds in 10 months. Kim went from a size 16/18 to a 4/6 and maintains her current weight by sticking to her workout schedule and exercising portion control.
After: "I Can Fit My Wedding Dress Again!"
Now she can fit into her wedding dress, 24 years after her wedding day and looking as great as ever!
Before: "My Vacation Photos Gave Me Motivation"
When Tania Hotmer returned from her Mexico beach vacation and saw pictures, she wasn't happy with what she saw. "I didn't realize how big I truly was," Tania said. She decided it was time to make a change in her lifestyle. She started keeping track of her eating habits through a calorie diary and began exercising regularly.
After: "My Vacation Photos Gave Me Motivation"
With her new healthy lifestyle, Tania lost 61 pounds and went from 173 pounds to 112 pounds in 15 months. "I feel great! All the hard work paid off!"
Before: "I Stopped Emotional Eating and Made the Decision to Change My Life"
"I was chubby all my life," Cortney Casey said. "Instead of taking productive action, I attempted to soothe my feelings of inadequacy by emotional eating."
Three months before her wedding, Cortney decided to change her life. "I embraced the South Beach lifestyle, which involves eating lean meats, veggies, fruit, and whole grains." She also began exercising regularly.
After: "I Stopped Emotional Eating and Made the Decision to Change My Life"
Cortney went from weighing 229 pounds and straining into a size 20 to weighing 151 pounds and fitting into a size 4 to 6.
She works out six days a week, doing aerobics, weight training, jogging, and biking. She's gone a long way for someone who used to get breathless climbing the stairs. "I'm thrilled with my progress!" Cortney said.
Her advice? "The key is embracing healthy eating and exercising as a lifestyle, not a temporary change."
Before: "I Have a Brand-New Life!"
Tiffany Spencer weighed 215 pounds and when she decided to make a change and stop hiding in big T-shirts and baggy jeans.
After: "I Have a Brand-New Life!"
After 18 months and 60 pounds lost, Tiffany is happy to show off her new self. She's motivating other readers too. "Your abs and waistline look great!" said reader barbaraisrealrich. "Thanks for the visual inspiration!"
Before: "I Approached Weight-Loss with a Go-Getter Attitude"
Alethea Wair couldn't recognize herself when she saw her Disney World vacation photos. She weighed 225 pounds and still had the baby weight after having her second child three and a half years before. "I had to make a change," she said. "I always went after whatever I wanted and never let anything get in my way personally and professionally. Why not approach weight loss with the same 'Go-Getter' attitude?"
After: "I Approached Weight-Loss with a Go-Getter Attitude"
Alethea joined LA Weight Loss and lost 80 pounds in 11 months. She lost the first 35 pounds just from eating right, watching her sodium and calorie content, controlling portions, and eating lots of fruit and vegetables. She joined a gym in her neighborhood and calls herself "a total gym rat."
She never thought she could go from a size 16/18 to a size 4/6. "I feel great!" She's stuck to her goal weight of 155 pounds by doing regular cardio and weight workouts at the gym three to four times a week and eating fresh food and drinking lots of water.
"Everything in moderation!" is Alethea's advice.
Before: "No More Half-Hearted Efforts at Fitness"
Kelley Suchman was unaware of how healthy she was until she found herself at the hospital with septic pneumonia at age 32 and 196 pounds. That's when she decided to make a real change her life — by changing her eating habits and doing yoga.
After: "No More Half-Hearted Efforts at Fitness"
fter reducing her calorie intake and practicing yoga, Kelley has lost 40 pounds. "I am amazed at the differences in my life," she said. "I get giddy every time I grow smaller than my 'transition clothes.'"
Before: "My MS Diagnosis Made Me Change My Life"
In 2005, Nancie Wise was 33, recently married, and weighed 240 pounds. One day she woke up and was blind in one eye. Her legs failed her. Her diagnosis: Multiple sclerosis. This shocking diagnosis gave her the push to stop ignoring her health and change her life.
After: "My MS Diagnosis Made Me Change My Life"
Once her MS went into remission, Nancie did yoga and Pilates twice a week at her local YMCA and did low-impact cardio when she felt stronger. Three years later, she weight trains, runs, and does high-impact classes 5 to 6 days a week and has lost 110 pounds! Our readers were surprised at how different she looks from her "Before" photo and praise her work ethic and determination to be healthy.
Her advice: "You have to make exercise a habit and break a sweat to get results! I don't believe in strict diets, so I eat everything in moderation. Knowing correct portion size is the key to success. I try to keep negative and judgmental people from bringing me down by having a smile on my face whenever I can. Losing weight is hard, but it can be done. Keep a positive outlook and you WILL achieve your goal!"
Before: "From Obese to Triathlete!"
For 17 years, Karina Chapman had tried to lose weight, but "nothing ever worked." At 259 pounds and a size 20, she felt miserable. So what did she do? She took walks, just to get out of the house. Then instead of walking, she started jogging, which later turned to running, until she found herself entered in a half-marathon and then a triathlon. She also wrote down what she ate in a journal, but ate whatever she wanted, in moderation.
After: "From Obese to Triathlete!"
In less than a year, Karina lost more than 100 pounds and has kept it off since. She is athletic and happy at a size 8. In February 2008, she ran a half-marathon in the freezing rain and finished in 2 hours and 21 minutes. "Not bad for a former fat girl!" she said. "I'm proud to be fit, healthy, and a good role model for my two girls!"
Before: "I Now Weigh Less Than I Did in 7th Grade"
"Eating healthy was not something I thought about," said Bethany Smith. "Imagine my surprise when my mom called me to ask if I would join Weight Watchers with her. Memories of shopping with friends and watching them try on cute clothes flooded over me and I knew I did not want to be standing on the sidelines anymore."
Bethany's first weigh-in was on May 2007. She was stunned that she weighed 270 pounds. "I could not believe I had become so complacent with the weight gain."
After: "I Now Weigh Less Than I Did in 7th Grade"
Bethany started with small goals and as the weeks passed, "the pounds seemed to melt away," she said. "I hardly recognized the reflection staring back at me in the mirror."
After one year, Bethany lost 116 pounds and has become healthier. A self-proclaimed "anti-gym" person, she exercises regularly and finished her first 10K race in May 2008, crossing the finish line in tears.
What's next? Running a marathon and wearing a size 4 wedding dress. "I went from being tired all the time to waking up each day ready to live life to the fullest!"
Before: "I Wanted to Be My Own Biggest Loser!"
When she wasn't chosen by NBC to star in The Biggest Loser after waiting in line for more than 8 hours, Jennifer Fox decided to take weight loss into her own hands and vowed to be her own biggest loser!
So what big change did she make? She started running. She went from barely able to run for three minutes to finishing a half-marathon and losing 125 pounds.
After: "I Wanted to Be My Own Biggest Loser!"
Next on Jennifer's to-do list: running a full marathon!
Before: "I Love My Newfound Confidence!"
A 26-year-old newlywed, Kelly Ruch had the body confidence to wear a bikini, but she knew she was no fitness guru.
After having two kids, Kelly decided to join a health club in 2005 to be more active. She now exercises six days a week and avoids snacking too often. In three years, she maintained her weight loss of 50 pounds and went from a size 12/14 to a size 0/2.
After: "I Love My Newfound Confidence!"
Now, Kelly wears her bikini with extra confidence. "I love life now and even my children love to exercise with me!" said Kelly.
Before: "I Lost 122 Pounds Without Surgery or Crazy Diets!"
At her heaviest, Caroline Jhingory carried 272 pounds on her 5'2" frame. How did she lose 122 pounds without any surgery or extreme diet plans? "Lots of prayer and patience!" said Caroline. She also limited her carb intake and walked every day.
After: "I Lost 122 Pounds Without Surgery or Crazy Diets!"
Here, 122 pounds lighter and much happier with her body, Caroline provides an inspiration to everyone, receiving standing ovations and lots of proud congratulations from our readers. A fellow contestant, Asombrosa2, was so impressed that she said she may just be voting for Caroline instead of voting for herself!