I Became a Triathlete!
Mandy McClellan, records assistant, Springville, Utah
LOST: 50 pounds in a year and a half
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: I nixed my soda habit and began cooking more. Now I bring my lunch to work and snack on fruit and string cheese.
I Became a Triathlete!: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: I started following a run-walk program, which led to my first triathlon. When I'm not training, I run for 30 to 45 minutes three times a week.
FIT TIP: Have a friend hold you accountable. It's harder to skip a workout when someone is checking up on you.
I Cut Out Processed Foods
Alyshia Branson, secretary, Clinton, Maryland
LOST: 70 pounds in 10 months
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: I cut back on processed foods and started eating more protein. I love eating hummus and sunflower seeds.
I Cut Out Processed Foods: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: I love working out on the arc trainer. I put it on the highest incline and resistance and go for 30 to 45 minutes four days a week.
FIT TIP: Keep your meals clean and your workouts dirty. If you eat healthy and sweat hard, the pounds will come off.
I Practiced Portion Control
Amy Beaver, Reporter, Toulon, Illinois
LOST: 60 pounds in eight months
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: I use measuring cups for proper portion sizes. And I love dark chocolate, but I buy the expensive kind so I eat only a small square at a time.
I Practiced Portion Control: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: My husband teaches a martial arts class; I join him for two hours twice a week. I also bike and strength-train four days a week.
FIT TIP: It's a long process. Focus on how much better you feel, not the scale, and you'll be more likely to stick with it.
I Focused on My Health
Caren Crossland, certified personal trainer, Little Rock, Arkansas
LOST: 72 pounds in one year
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: I try to have a 20-ounce water bottle with me that I refill throughout the day. Staying hydrated helps me feel full and keep portions in check. When I need a quick energy boost, I have a banana and a protein shake.
I Focused on My Health: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: My favorite sculpting moves are squats and lunges. For cardio, I enjoy circuit training and working out on the elliptical for an hour, three to four days a week.
FIT TIP: Many women, especially moms, spend their days helping their families but don't focus on their own well-being. Keeping yourself healthy is an important part of caring for others.
I Became a Runner
Keri LaPorte, business owner, Trinidad, Colorado
LOST: 135 pounds in 16 months
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: I cook at home now instead of relying on prepackaged food. If I want a quick bite, I reach for an apple with peanut butter.
I Became a Runner: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: I am passionate about running. When I'm not training for a 5k or half-marathon, I run 30 to 45 minutes four or five times a week.
FIT TIP: Have a goal in mind. When I started running, I couldn't go more than 100 feet. I wanted to complete a 1.5-mile loop around my neighborhood. I kept at it, adding distance each time I ran. Eventually, I did it!
My Dad Became My Running Buddy
Amanda Maldonado, fitness club employee, Covina, California
LOST: 55 pounds in a year and a half
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: I avoid temptation by making my lunch at home — turkey sandwich, salad, yogurt, and granola. Mid-afternoon, raw almonds and grapes are my go-to picks.
My Dad Became My Running Buddy: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: I started running with my dad, and now we motivate each other to keep going. Toning moves on a stability ball are my strength routine of choice.
FIT TIP: If I get a craving, I distract myself; I'll go out for a walk or read. Before you know it, I've totally forgotten about whatever I wanted to eat.
Strength Workouts Have Changed My Body
Amy James, business owner, Bakersfield, California
LOST: 58 pounds in eight months
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: For an extra burst of flavor with minimal calories, I add blueberries to everything — yogurt, oatmeal, and cereal. I also make my own salsa. It's great on wheat crackers or with string cheese.
Strength Workouts Have Changed My Body: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: Strength training has really sculpted and toned my body. My favorite moves are lunges and biceps curls with 15-pound weights.
FIT TIP: Step on the scale regularly. Checking in once a week after you've hit your goal weight will keep you on track, and you can tweak your routine if the numbers start creeping up.
Kickboxing Has Transformed Me
Maria Winans, vice president of marketing, Parkland, Florida
LOST: 20 pounds in four months
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: I keep raw almonds and cashews in my purse. My corporate career requires a lot of travel; nuts are my healthy go-to if I get hungry on a plane or in the middle of a meeting.
Kickboxing Has Transformed Me: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: Kickboxing has completely transformed my body and calmed my mind. If I have a stressful day, hitting the bag is a tension reliever. When I'm done, I can go home and be a better mom.
FIT TIP: It's about work/life balance. Your exercise routine has to be a priority too. I treat my workout just like any other appointment on my calendar and get it done. When I exercise, I'm more effective and productive at work and at home.
I Gained More Confidence
Jessica Romeo, stay-at-home mom, Yuba City, California
LOST: 95 pounds in two years
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: Instead of dropping by the local coffeehouse for an energy boost, I whip up a protein shake using whey, peanut butter, a little bit of coffee, banana, ice, and soy milk. It's filling and tastes great.
I Gained More Confidence: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: My Spinning instructors are super motivating. I also enjoy running; I've completed a few 5K races, and I plan to train for a half-marathon.
FIT TIP: Don't change for anyone other than yourself. I got in shape because I wanted to be healthy. Now I have the confidence to accomplish any goal.
I Plan to Work Out Every Day
Lindsay Brownlie-Lammers, stay-at-home mom, San Diego
LOST: 50 pounds in nine months
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: After I work out, I love egg whites with spinach and Swiss cheese in a whole wheat wrap. If I'm craving something salty and crunchy, I reach for light popcorn.
I Plan to Work Out Every Day: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: Spinning. The first time I went, it was really intense, but I kept at it, and now at the end of a 45-minute class, I feel great. On alternate days, I strength-train.
FIT TIP: Plan to work out every day. If life gets in the way and you can't make it to the gym, consider it a rest day and know you'll get back to it tomorrow.
New Activities Keep Me Fit
Frannie Foltz, teacher, Cleveland
LOST: 100 pounds in two years
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: I curb hunger by eating a lot more protein than I used to — hummus on Wasa crackers, cottage cheese with fruit, or string cheese with a slice of turkey.
New Activities Keep Me Fit: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: Exercising on the Pilates Reformer machine helps keep me in shape. I also like trying new activities, whether it's ballroom dancing or rock climbing. It's fun, and I'm burning calories!
FIT TIP: Never give up just because you overate or didn't ace a workout. If you make a mistake, you can always correct it and try again.
Drinking More Water Keeps Me from Overeating
Camille Castillo, family-court attorney, Brooklyn
LOST: 100 pounds in three years
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: I have a lot of food allergies, so I stick with fruit, like bananas and mangoes, for a quick energy boost. I also drink water all day and keep granola bars in my desk drawer — they help keep me from getting hungry and overeating.
Drinking More Water Keeps Me from Overeating: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: I take a core-strengthening class at New York Sports Clubs twice a week for 45 minutes to an hour. It works my whole body.
FIT TIP: When you're overweight, people tend to push food on you even when you're not hungry. Don't feel bad about saying no.
I Squeeze In a 20-Minute Workout
Delilah Burke, office manager, New York City
LOST: 35 pounds in one year
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: I always feel like munching at night, so I steam edamame or air-pop popcorn, drizzle it with a little olive oil, and add a bit of sea salt.
I Squeeze In a 20-Minute Workout: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: Walking in Prospect Park in Brooklyn for a few hours every weekend. When I was laid off, it helped me clear my head and start getting back in shape for free.
FIT TIP: When you don't feel like exercising, make yourself do it for just 20 minutes. It goes by so quickly that once you're finished, you'll most likely want to keep going. If not, at least you've squeezed in a workout that day.
I Made Healthy Eating Fun
Sheri Harkness, administrative assistant, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
LOST: 142 pounds in two years
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: I make a mixture of dried cranberries and walnuts and keep it at my desk along with flax cereal.
I Made Healthy Eating Fun: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: I like working my abs with different strength-training moves and doing cardio on the elliptical. I try to work out for about an hour four to five days a week.
FIT TIP: Experiment with your diet to find out which foods give you energy and make you feel great. That way, healthy eating is no longer a chore; it's something you want to do.
I Plan Ahead to Stay on Track
Laura Rios, customer service representative, Woodbridge, Virginia
LOST: 95 pounds in a year and a half
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: I'm really into spinach. I add it to everything — wraps, salads, and eggs. I also have to have a Golden Delicious apple every day. Add peanut butter, and it's like a treat.
I Plan Ahead to Stay on Track: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: When I train for marathons, I do long runs twice a week mixed with sprint intervals. I also cross-train on the elliptical, or I go swimming.
FIT TIP: Plan ahead. On Mondays, I stock my office fridge with all the fixings I need to make lunches for the week. When I get hungry, I have no excuse to go out and pick something unhealthy.
I Began to Take Baby Steps to Fitness
Madinah Hazim-Adams 32, insurance agent, Oklahoma City
LOST: 80 pounds in a year and a half
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: I eat a ton of fruit — peaches, apples, and grapes. I also brew my own tea, chill it, and mix it with apple juice for a hint of sweetness without too many calories.
I Began to Take Baby Steps to Fitness: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: Four mornings a week I run two and a half to three miles outdoors with my dog. I recently ran my first 5K in 27 minutes!
FIT TIP: If working out seems daunting, take baby steps. I started by walking and then hiking, and when I felt comfortable, I began running. Once you start seeing results and feeling better, no one needs to push you; it's self-motivating.
Family and Friends Keep Me on Track
Caitlin Wells 26, student, Rocklin, California
LOST: 60 pounds in one year and three months
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: My favorite mini meal is a Pink Lady apple with crunchy peanut butter; it's even a satisfying dessert. I also make my own hummus and eat it with carrots.
Family and Friends Keep Me on Track: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: I like challenging myself with different activities. I enjoyed dancing as a kid, so I began taking jazz-dance lessons. My new goal is a sprint triathlon.
FIT TIP: Enlist your friends and family to help you stay on track. I jog with my husband, strength-train with my sister, and go to dance class with a friend, so I look forward to every workout.
I've Kept It Off for 10 Years!
Amberlea Bashore 36, office manager, Saint Johns, Michigan
LOST: 85 pounds in nine months (I've kept it off for 10 years!)
FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK: Mini rice cakes are my go-to when I get hungry at work. After exercising, I whip up a smoothie with fruit and fat-free milk.
I've Kept It Off for 10 Years!: After
FAVORITE WORKOUT: Cycling and running. I enjoy being outdoors on a 15-mile ride and the challenge of climbing hills. It's intense and works all your muscles
FIT TIP: I have old pictures of myself around the house; seeing how far I've come drives me to keep at it.