Follow us on Pinterest
Welcome! Log In | Register |
Log In with

"I Dropped Five Dress Sizes!"

Just in time for her big day, FITNESS helped bride-to-be Darcy Wilson, 33, shed 21 pounds and 12 inches.

  • Comment Comments (0)
  • Print Print
Darcy after weight loss
Peter Ardito
Spencer Jones
Jay Sullivan
Peter Ardito
Melissa Punch
Alexa Miller
Jay Sullivan
Prev 9 of 9 Next
Prev 1 of 9 Next

Darcy's Transformation

My Goal
When I began dating my husband, Craig, three years ago, I started eating just the way he does -- lots of meat and potatoes. The only problem was, he's a foot taller than I am. Naturally, I packed on 10 pounds just like that, and he never gained an ounce. Meanwhile my job in marketing research kept me so busy that I would often forget to eat a real meal until 3 p.m., but by then I'd had three cans of sugary soda and a cupcake. When Craig popped the question, I was overjoyed. But when I was forced to buy my dream wedding dress in a size 16, I went into shock. I tried cardio classes at my gym, but the weight wouldn't budge and I continued to gain. Plus, I had no idea how to use any of the machines! With my wedding a few months away, I vowed I wouldn't walk down the aisle as a size 16 and asked FITNESS for help.

My Moment of Success
Once FITNESS set me up with a nutritionist and trainer, I learned that my body fat was a whopping 38 percent. That scared me into getting serious about my weight. I kept a food diary, cut my portions in half, and hit the gym five times a week. My clothes felt looser pretty quickly, which made it easy to stay on track. After 10 weeks of my new fitness regimen, my tailor hated me because she had to alter my dress to a size 6!

Darcy, by the Numbers

Untitled Document

  Start Now
Weight 143 lb 122 lb
Height 5'2" 5'2"
Chest 39" 36"
Waist 34" 30"
Hips 41" 36"
Body Fat 38% 29%

What do you think of this story? Leave a Comment.

Prev 2 of 9 Next

What Worked for Me

Stock up for success.

I used to skip breakfast or lunch or both and then, because I was starving, grab the closest bag of chips. My dietitian, Marjorie, taught me to make Sunday my prep day: Write out a meal plan, shop for my weekly produce, hard-boil eggs for grab-and-go breakfasts and snacks, and prepare whole wheat pasta for heat-and-eat dinners.

What do you think of this story? Leave a Comment.

Prev 3 of 9 Next

Grab some weights.

Dance and cardio classes are great, but to get faster results, my trainer, Julie, did an hour of circuit training with me three times a week. On other days I would do moves she chose from FITNESS Fast Track to a Better Body ($20,

Knee-Up Press

  • Sit on floor with knees bent and feet flat, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend elbows by sides, bringing dumbbells in front of shoulders, palms facing in.
  • Lean back slightly and extend arms overhead as you lift feet a few inches off floor, bringing knees toward chest.
  • Hold position for 1 to 3 counts; lower dumbbells to shoulder and heels to floor to complete 1 rep. Do 15 reps.

Pike and Extend

  • Lie faceup on floor with legs together, arms extended toward ceiling. Lift legs directly over hips, then crunch up, reaching hands toward feet.
  • Keeping legs straight, lower arms behind head as you lower upper back and left leg toward floor.
  • Crunch up, lifting left leg back over hips and reaching hands to toes. Switch legs and repeat to complete 1 rep. Do 10 reps.

Chest Flye Bicycle

  • Holding a dumbbell in each hand, lie faceup on floor with knees bent 90 degrees over hips, arms extended directly above chest, palms in.
  • Keeping right knee bent, straighten left leg toward floor.
  • Lower arms out to sides with elbows slightly bent. Hold, then return to start. Do 10 reps; switch legs and repeat.

What do you think of this story? Leave a Comment.

Prev 4 of 9 Next

Switch off and sweat it out.

I looked forward to my workouts as the "me" time that I was missing. Being forced to leave my cell phone in my locker and disconnect from wedding planning and work made going to the gym a relief rather than a chore.

What do you think of this story? Leave a Comment.

Prev 5 of 9 Next

Stash snacks.

Candy, cookies, cakes -- you name it, and my office has it on hand nearly every day thanks to client gifts and catered lunches. To avoid temptation and my tendency to skip "real" food until dinner, I now keep a drawer full of healthy snacks to have every two hours. When I don't order in a lunch, I combine a few of these, like oatmeal with cashews or tuna with a piece of fruit, to create a meal.

Healthy snacks:
4-ounce Mott's Healthy Harvest unsweetened applesauce (50 calories)
Bumble Bee Chunk White Albacore in Water (70 calories)
Apple (77 calories)
Banana (105 calories)

What do you think of this story? Leave a Comment.

Prev 6 of 9 Next

Cut liquid calories.

I was drinking two cans of cola at work in addition to the juice and two cans of soda I would sip at home. I learned that I could cut hundreds of calories without feeling any hungrier by switching to water with lemon.

What do you think of this story? Leave a Comment.

Prev 7 of 9 Next

Have a cardio contingency plan.

Julie told me to do 30 minutes of cardio three times a week in addition to our sessions together, so I would often go to the gym on my lunch break. But in case a last-minute meeting popped up, I posted the gym schedule above my desk so I could quickly shift to another class and would never have an excuse to skip a workout.

What do you think of this story? Leave a Comment.

Prev 8 of 9 Next

More Tips from Our Experts

"Look beyond chicken for lean protein. Try nuts, hummus, egg whites, or nonfat Greek yogurt to keep from getting bored," says Marjorie Nolan, RD, a nutrition counselor in New York City.

"Ask for a weight-machine tour from a gym staffer so you'll feel more comfortable using them," says Julie Bobek, a personal trainer for Equinox Fitness Clubs at Rockefeller Center in New York City. "I had Darcy take pictures of the machines, and then I wrote down how much weight to use and how many reps to complete."

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, April 2012.

Learn Weight Machine 101 with our what-to-hit, what-to-skip gym guide

What do you think of this story? Leave a Comment.

What do you think? Review this slideshow!

christina.esparza78 wrote:

This is a very interesting example of how unique each of our bodies are. I, too, am 5 foot 2 and I weigh 143 pounds. However, my waist is 29 inches. This lady and I are (were, in her case) the exact height and weight, yet my waist is smaller, and when I tried on my wedding dress (when I was about 12 pounds heavier) it was a size 12. I think it's a prime example of how maybe we shouldn't rely on the scale so much. Although, speaking from experience, it's easier said than done.

2/27/2014 04:32:41 PM Report Abuse
Leyah26 wrote:

I've always struggled, as we all do, with the feelings and anxieties that are associated with being overweight/obese. Shopping was a joke growing up, I know I made it miserable for my mom. I never felt like I looked good in anything and when there was something I did like, it never fit or they didnt have my size. shopping pretty much always ended in tears for my. Needless to say, I'm not much of a shopper still. Check out if you¿re curious how I solved it :) ¿

5/5/2012 01:52:43 PM Report Abuse
Leyah26 wrote:

I bought the diet solution that contained what to eat and how to work out on each day (didn¿t even finish the 1st course yet), but looks promising, im already seeing some change :) ¿ If anyone is interested

5/5/2012 01:50:38 PM Report Abuse
yellamax8 wrote:

wow!!! im 177 5'0 even and wear a 14 in most my pants! the last time i was in a size 6 was when i weighed about 128( AND I HAVE BIG HIPS)

4/29/2012 01:36:49 PM Report Abuse
Dawn005 wrote:

I started out at 306 lbs and a size 26, at 5'6". Now I'm 234, squeezing into a 16 (but really I'm an 18). We're all looking for inspirational stories, but I simply do not believe this one and it's therefore not at all inspirational. Fitness Magazine, Fail! (At least on this one).

4/19/2012 04:12:42 PM Report Abuse
annreginald wrote:

well this was discouraging....

4/19/2012 05:42:28 AM Report Abuse
jacqueline.carrazzo wrote:

yeah, this article is not even close to realistic. I'm 5'2 and 142 and NOT a size 16. Also, I'm not confident she's 122 based on that pic.

4/18/2012 03:47:14 PM Report Abuse
michelleb10161 wrote:

I looked up her measurements on a wedding gown site measurement chart and she would have been in a 12/14 gown(14 being at most) and wouldn't have gotten in a size 6 with her bust and waist (at least an 8) it seems her numbers are skewed a bit. I would rather here a success story that didn't involve a trainer and nutritionist... not everyone can be given one or afford one these days!

4/18/2012 07:45:40 AM Report Abuse
acbruk wrote:

This is an extremely discouraging story because it seems so unrealistic. Wedding dress sizes, regular dress sizes, it doesn't matter. 5 dress sizes is unrealistic and non-typical. I have lost 22lbs myself, and I have barely lost 1 dress size. I have two friends (of short stature too!) who have lost 60 and 160 lbs and 4 and 5 dress sizes, respectively. If hiring a trainer and nutritionist are what it will take to be a 6 again, I'll go sign up tomorrow.

4/18/2012 06:30:53 AM Report Abuse
snelson20001 wrote:


4/18/2012 05:51:23 AM Report Abuse
anonymous wrote:

I'm 5'3 and I weighed 187 lbs. I wore a size 16 petite. I've lost 26 lbs and went from a size 16p to a size 12-14p. I don't see how she lost 5 dress sizes by losing just 21 lbs. I still have another 25 lbs to go. Once I do, then I can wear a size 10 petite. That would be 4 dress sizes at 46lbs lost. Something doesn't seem right.

4/17/2012 05:43:24 PM Report Abuse
stephanie.colle wrote:

There is no way she dropped 5 dress sizes by only shedding what, 20 pounds? That's 2 dress sizes at the most, no matter how tall or short you are. Stop publishing BS fitness mag.

4/17/2012 05:23:33 PM Report Abuse
conbfos wrote:

I'm the opposite of most of the posters here! I'm 5'6" and at 160 wore mostly 14s. And sizes have gotten a lot larger over the years. When I was a teen I wore 14s at 135 lbs! Now at 145, and not nearly as lean and toned as I was then, I'm in a 9/10. Go figure!

4/17/2012 05:19:26 PM Report Abuse
laurennicholeturner wrote:

I think this is a waste of a story- thank you for tellig me you got a nutritionist and a trainer provided by a magazine... how about giving me advice I can actually use besides asking a magazine to sponsor me? silly...

4/17/2012 03:26:33 PM Report Abuse
Zorainprogress wrote:

I am over 200lbs & I wear a 16/18 depending on the brand and fabric. I am also 5'2". My fat is stored all over; but more in my stomach, arms, and thighs. I am preparing for my wedding as well. I hope it's inches that brought the dress size down so much!! If so, I'm definitely motivated!!!

4/17/2012 03:23:15 PM Report Abuse
findrest62 wrote:

I am 5'1 and 152 pounds. I have been working out since January and counting calories. I cheat sometimes, but not all the time. I have lost nothing since January. :( It is frustrating. My goal weight is 120-125. I would LOVE help getting there!!

4/17/2012 03:19:54 PM Report Abuse
kkellicut1 wrote:

I'm 5'3" 145 pounds and I'm no where close to a size 16. Comfortable 10.

4/17/2012 01:03:09 PM Report Abuse
gellerk wrote:

I wondered about the accuracy of the size, too. I'm 5'6", just over 200 lbs and a size 16! EEP! Good thing I"m not getting married....

4/17/2012 12:09:02 PM Report Abuse
stephk5 wrote:

A lot depends on your body fat. Fat takes up way more room than muscle does, thus far causing your size of clothes to be larger

4/17/2012 12:08:58 PM Report Abuse
stephk5 wrote:

A lot depends on your body fat. Fat takes up way more room than muscle

4/17/2012 12:07:19 PM Report Abuse
robin.howard1 wrote:

Me too ladies, I'm "weighing" in on the size 16/143 lbs. too. I am 5' 2'', 142 lbs, and although I still wear a large top, I fit comfortably in a 10 pant. Somebody's not telling the truth here, sensationalizing the obvious is not very good policy any way you look at it :(

4/17/2012 11:32:49 AM Report Abuse
cizelmaria wrote:

Darcy I thought this story was great. now i would like to change new ways to get in shape? I am single, live alone, and if you can do this I can do. What must i do first,I'm already keeping a food journal, I weigh myself once a week,on friday's. I exercise 3-4 days a week. Maria Cizel

4/17/2012 11:24:22 AM Report Abuse
gomez.magdalin1 wrote:

I agree with TriciaL87, I would like FITNESS to set me up with a nutrionist and a trainer. I want to become the next success story. I am 5' 2" but weigh in 180 lbs. It's all in the mid section.

4/17/2012 11:07:54 AM Report Abuse
laciroan1 wrote:

That's what I was thinking too, but wedding dress sizes are very different from regular clothes sizes

4/17/2012 10:59:46 AM Report Abuse
fitforspring wrote:

size 16 wedding dress is not the same as regular size 16. Wedding dresses run notoriously very small.

4/17/2012 10:53:26 AM Report Abuse
patricia.whelan wrote:

Wedding dresses are usually cut smaller than regular dresses - hence a 16 might really be a 12 or 14 if it was regular clothing off the rack.

4/17/2012 10:40:58 AM Report Abuse
nellcarroll wrote:

I too have been puzzling over the sz 16? I am 190 (unfortunately) and 5'3" and I am a 16. Before my kid I was 145 and a size 8/10.

4/17/2012 10:40:51 AM Report Abuse
dancinginthestreets14 wrote:

Yeah, I'm not sure how size 16 is possible. I've also been 143 at 5'2", and was a 10. I was a 12/14 when I was closer to 150...

4/17/2012 10:35:58 AM Report Abuse
gerrikonwerski wrote:

I'm 5' 2", 170 lbs and only a 12/14 on a bad day!!

4/17/2012 09:55:34 AM Report Abuse
TriciaL87 wrote:

I want FITNESS to set me up with a nutritionist and a trainer! How do I become the next success story?

4/17/2012 09:53:59 AM Report Abuse
lika50 wrote:

Is it possible to go from a size 16 to a 6 in just ten weeks?? That seems a bit quick... And wow. The magic that tailer had to make on that dress! I've heard it's a complete headache (and not usually possible) to alter a wedding gown more than two, possibly three dress sizes. But, if all this is true, then that's really wonderful for her. Everyone deserves to look great and feel amazing on their wedding day. :)

4/17/2012 09:53:42 AM Report Abuse
funinpennsylvan wrote:

I guess if someone gave me a nutritionist and trainer I could lose weight too. ugh..

4/17/2012 09:50:54 AM Report Abuse
sabrinaabhyank wrote:

how could she be a size 16? I've been 143 at 5'2" and was still only an 8.

4/17/2012 09:44:32 AM Report Abuse

Add your comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Register | Log In

Please confirm your comment by answering the question below and clicking "Submit Comment."

Todays Daily Prize
More Smart Savings
Fitness Magazine on Facebook