When you've got a lot of weight to lose, deciding where to begin can be super-overwhelming—but we've got a good place for you to start. We've talked to dozens of women who completely transformed their bodies—we're talking shedding 50-plus pounds—and pulled together a list of the eight simple changes they made that had the biggest impact on the scale. Their tried-and-true tips might be exactly what you need to get on the path to serious results. But don't just take our word for it: These women's results speak for themselves.
It’s just as important and beneficial (if not more so) to focus on diet quality rather than quantity, says a 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Focus on real foods rather than a strict number of calories and you’re more likely to stay slim over the long term. Shapiro recommends these shedding superfoods, in particular:
Want to lose that belly fat? In your dreams! Seriously, though: a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to get rid of that extra fat around your waist for good. Among the 60,000 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study, those who snoozed for fewer than five hours a night were at the greatest risk of becoming obese and gaining 30 or more pounds over the course of the 16-year study period when compared to those who slept for seven or more hours.
The difference in body composition (muscle loss and dehydration), metabolic effects, and the return of weight has been reported (9, 10). In a meta-analysis study, weight return had been reported in most participants (77%), who followed WL diets (11). In a classification of diets based on calorie restrictions and speed of WL, diets are divided to rapid WL, moderate WL, and slow WL.
If you want to lose weight you should start by avoiding sugar and starch (like bread, pasta and potatoes). This is an old idea: For 150 years or more there have been a huge number of weight-loss diets based on eating fewer carbs. What’s new is that dozens of modern scientific studies have proven that, yes, low carb is the most effective way to lose weight.
I don’t quite know how to put this, but my jaw was dropped throughout the entirety of this post. Your life story outside of having a husband is nearly identical to mine!! I was a cute kid, and then I was overweight throughout my childhood, I attempted dieting in the same way (mine was carrots though, not bell pepper strips), I played volleyball and then tennis, I lost weight in college, I hated running with a passion and then started running. I’m now 23, still quite overweight and attempting to lose it. I was kind of in a rut, upset because I have gained almost all the weight that I’ve lost back. But you have given me so much hope. Thank you so so much for posting your story. I’m still a little in shock at how similar our lives are. Thanks again.
Yasmine Farazian, a professor at an art and design college, can thank Rania Batayneh, M.P.H., author of The One One One Diet, for the easy rule of thumb that helped her shed 50 pounds: At each meal, she made sure to eat one carbohydrate, one protein, and one fat. Finally, Yasmine had the template for making a healthy, well-balanced meal that she needed. "I would have the bun, beef patty, and avocado," she says. "And if I wanted fries, I'd ask for lettuce instead of the bread."
“Going public with my weight loss goals helped me lose 91 pounds. I joined the 61 Day Health Challenge, a program sponsored by my employer, the Detroit Medical Center. Suddenly, I was accountable to all of my colleagues, not just myself. And the amount of support I was shown was enough motivation to propel me into a new world of healthy eating and healthy living.” —Mo Minard, 43, MSN, RN, EMT-P, Director of Emergency Services for Detroit Medical Center
"When you're stressed out or tired, it's very easy to forget when your hand goes into the cookie jar," says Marisa Sherry, RD, a registered dietitian in private practice in New York City. "Are you being honest with yourself about taking just one handful here and there? When you have a cup, are you really having one cup? Most drinking glasses hold about three cups. By the end of the day, it all adds up."
If you're mostly sedentary (and let's face it—with 9-to-5 desk jobs being the norm, it's hard to avoid), you'll start to see noticeable results with just a slight increase in your activity level. Break up the hours in front of the computer by using your lunch break to move around. "I started walking for 45 minutes during my lunch break," says Melissa Leon, who ultimately dropped 53 pounds. "The area was super hilly, but feeling the burn in my butt and quads as I powered up those hills let me know I was making progress."
About: Let’s start with Katie by rewinding three years to January 2013 when she hopped on the scale and realized she weighed 247 pounds. That was the moment that “something just clicked” for Katie. Fast forward back to the present, Katie lost 100 pounds, dropped six pants sizes and along the way found a fierce determination to pursue (and stick with) her fitness goals. Katie found her purpose, and she uses her blog to fulfill that purpose: helping others who struggle with obesity, weight loss and food addiction.
My reasons for asking about the rice is because the only meat I eat is minced lamb or minced chicken. (If that makes sense, I’m really weird about meats. I can’t eat any lamb or chicken which isn’t minced..) I don’t eat any other meats apart from that. I eat fish alot.. But its ready frozen fish? Birds Eye frozen fillets/cods with Heinz baked beans is my usual dinner. I love vegatables like blackbeans and lentils so thats great to know.
A recent increase in exercise using kettle bells has also increased my weight and I have heard about this before so wasn’t concerned but I am still increasing weight so thought I’d better look at what I’m eating as well. (By the way kettle bells are amazing for your core). Looking at Adam’s lists, I was horrified to see cereal had so much sugar – even the bran and fruit kind and with milk this doesn’t appear to be the good start to the day I had thought. So it’s fruit tomorrow!
And at the gym, that difference just gets exacerbated. Women, worried about bulking up, tend to lift lighter weights and focus more on cardiovascular fitness, while men tend to gravitate toward the kind of heavy lifting that boosts muscle composition and metabolic rate, says Jim White, a Virginia Beach-based nutrition expert and certified personal trainer.
Thank you for sharing your journey. I’m a mother of 5 and I homeschool. I’m 39 and 40 pounds overweight. I’ve never been over weight and I’m struggling. I emotionally eat all day, everyday and my weight just keeps creeping up. I’ve hoped the Lord would tell me to fast so maybe I’d lose weight but He knows that’s not the right heart and so do I. I’ve been praying for something to stand out, something that will help me desire to make a change. I’ve been feeling lost and hopeless. After reading your blog here, I’m crying and praying because I feel like this might be my answer to prayer. I stumbled upon your story accidentally and I’m finding myself feeling the Lord all over it. Thank you! Through praying now, tears and not believing in myself because I ALWAYS fail, I’m hoping that maybe, just maybe this might be the time. Thank you!
At SkinnyFit, we believe that healthy is beautiful, just like you. And no matter what phase of your weight loss journey you’re in, we are here to help you look and feel positively radiant from the inside out. We believe that self-love, body positivity, and confidence creates a necessary foundation for a sustainable lifestyle change and that our dedication to providing premium, all-natural health, and wellness products will help you get there.
Monica May is a Fitness Trainer, Nutritionist, Health Coach, and the writer and voice behind the Fit Girl’s Diary blog. She uses her blog as a way to motivate and support her readers through ongoing weight loss battles. Her passion and belief that a solid support system can make all the difference is what makes Fit Girl’s Diary of the most inspirational blogs for your journey. With healthy recipes, diet and workout programs, and endless support, Fit Girl’s Diary is there to help!
Thank you for offering a simple diet plan and sharing your results. I have been on a personal journey to lose weight and have been unsuccessful for many years. I am making a 2 week commitment to stick to the diet plan you have outlined. My biggest problem is night time eating and very low self-esteem. I am looking forward to starting this. Any suggestions for me? Thanks!
“I started my 78-pound weight-loss journey by tracking everything I ate with the Lose It! app. I track right after I finish because if I wait until later, I don’t always remember. Sometimes I’ll even record before I eat, so I know if I have enough calories for the day. That, paired with daily weigh-ins helps to keep me accountable.” —Kari Hammond, 42
Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your story…I would have never guessed you had dealt with such a thing. I”m in the process of losing over 75 lbs gained due to anxiety medicine. I too just woke up and had an epiphany that the medicine had turned me into someone I was not and I had to get off of it especially before having children. It’s definitely been a struggle, but I’ve seen the commercials on tv too and do not want to chance affecting my future children in any way and I want to be a better version of myself. For me personally, exercise, eating better, and therapy have worked to reduce my anxiety and panic attacks enough to stay off medicine.
About: Healthier key lime pie. Lower-calorie chocolate caramel snickers bars. Lower carb chocolate-filled cookies. If you have a sweet tooth but are trying to lose weight, Kaylie’s blog is for you. Kaylie is a registered dietitian who has a sweet tooth of her own. So, naturally, she figured out recipe swaps for making desserts with lower calories while maintaining all the sweet deliciousness. Talk about having your cake and eating it too.
When Addison was not even one year old, I saw this commercial one day. I still remember it like it was yesterday. She was taking a nap and it came on the television. It was about this anxiety medicine that had begun to be linked to so many birth defects. It was a commercial for a law firm asking you to call this number if you had taken the medicine and gave birth to a child with a defect. I was in shock. It was the medicine that I had literally gotten off of two months before Addison was conceived. I cried and cried at the thought of what could’ve happened to Addie had I not “woken up” that day in January 2007.
About: Kristen is a 42-year-old woman who a few years back decided she was going to lose weight — and she was going to do so by running and blogging about it. She lost 50 pounds, and along the way discovered that far from hating running like she assumed she would, she actually loved it...and hiking, and yoga, and much, much more. Her blog posts are full of inspiration, simple tips and tricks for making healthier choices, healthy recipes, fitness and personal musings.
Out-of-whack hormones have all kinds of uncomfortable side effects and belly bloat is one of them. There’s a reason that bloating is one of the primary complaints women have during menopause! While you can’t turn back the clock and reclaim the hormone profile of your 20’s, you can make sure you’re within the normal range—something your doctor can check for you. In the meantime, eating right and exercising are natural ways to balance your hormones.
Ultimately, you need to pick a healthy eating plan you can stick to, Stewart says. The benefit of a low-carb approach is that it simply involves learning better food choices—no calorie-counting is necessary. In general, a low-carb way of eating shifts your intake away from problem foods—those high in carbs and sugar and without much fiber, like bread, bagels and sodas—and toward high-fiber or high-protein choices, like vegetables, beans and healthy meats.
I first met Roni in 2009 at the POM Harvest Blogger Tour. She's one of the "big" bloggers in the health blog community; I was really nervous to meet her in person. All my fears were put to rest the second I met Roni. She was warm, friendly, and fully committed to living the healthy and active lifestyle that she blogs about every day on Roni’s Weigh.
Hello I have suffered from hypothalmuc ammenorhrea since my early teens and I never had a natural period. Unexplained condition where my pituary and hypothalamus did not communicate. I was not underweight. I was put on birth control to prevent bone loss since I do not produce estrogen. I had a child through IVf 2 years ago and I am back on birth control. Marvelon and combo estrogen and progesterone. I am able to follow this plan? I am at a plateau with my weight loss since starting the pill
This snack-busting tip comes from Tricia Minnick, who lost a whopping 128 pounds by cutting soda and processed carbs from her diet, filling half her plate with veggies at every meal, and brushing her teeth after eating. "It'll help stop night snacking," she says. "Fresh breath makes you less tempted to eat more." Wise up on other ways to stop mindless snacking with these tips.
A diet that’s low in fat and carbohydrates can improve artery function, according to a 2012 study by Johns Hopkins researchers. After six months, those on the low-carb diet had lost more weight, and at a faster pace. But in both groups, when weight was lost—and especially when belly fat shrank—the arteries were able to expand better, allowing blood to travel more freely. The study shows that you don’t have to cut out all dietary fat to shrink belly fat. For heart health, simply losing weight and exercising seems to be key.
Now I’m not talking about a fast, I’m talking about eating all natural, good for you food that will help your body get back to a more natural state. Again, that is where vegetables and fruit will come in. Eat up and watch the weight melt away, and if you are looking for a detox plan try my FREE Detox Week, readers typically lose between 8-18 pounds in 7 days by eating!
About: Loretta’s certainly no stranger to blogging — she been sharing her weight loss journey since 2009. But the thing that caught our eye most about Loretta’s blog is that unlike most long-time healthy living/weight loss bloggers, her website’s not chock full of product reviews and recommendations, links to goods, etc. It’s very authentic, as is Loretta. Loretta started at 460 pounds. Now, she hovers around 199. And she does it “one good choice at a time.” Her style of writing is engaging and real — the kind of blog that you read and finish thinking, I really know this woman in a deep way. Bravo.
Hi Ashley! Lol! I love that we could be soul sisters! Both my sister and my brother-in-law are nurses and those nursing hours are just insane…and adding a toddler to the mix makes for a crazy schedule, I’m sure! So for stupid easy but healthy recipes, I highly recommend Once A Month Meals (https://onceamonthmeals.com/?ref=soveryblessed). They have Instant Pot plans and so many of them are just dump and go recipes (and lots of other easy, healthy non-IP meals, too). And honestly? For me, frozen vegetables are a lifesaver. If I’m putting energy into cooking a main dish, I don’t want to put much time into prepping sides too, so my freezer always has a ton of steamer bags of various veggies. Also, one pot/one pan/one skillet meals are awesome. I love throwing potatoes, baby carrots (no chopping necessary), and smoked turkey sausage onto a sheet pan with a little bit of oil and garlic & herb seasoning and roasting it all. The less I have to think, the better! I’m so glad my story could give you a little inspiration. If I can do it, you absolutely can too. Thanks so much for your comment!
About: Christie literally just got going (her first post was in March). But she didn’t waste any time putting it all out there. Her goal is to lose more than 100 pounds and beat a lifelong struggle with depression and anxiety. Her openness caught our attention immediately, and we can’t wait to follow along with her as she takes each and every step.
Wow, sharing your journey has encouraged me. I have been overweight since middle school (junior high was what they called it in my day). I have been on many diets, while some worked, some didn’t. I know that I need to get my weight off to improve my health (diabetes) and just to look and feel better. I appreciate your thoughts on losing weight and I am very thankful that you include God in your journey. Thank you for your help in getting me on track. I look forward to reading more of your blog. Hope your day is blessed.
Even better, once you start lifting challenging weights, you'll see major changes happen in your body, more than you do with cardio which burns calories but doesn't help you build muscle. Don't forget that you're building strong bones and preserving your muscle mass, which means you can control the weight gain that comes with age and lack of exercise.
Only 11% of Americans correctly estimate their ideal daily calorie requirements, according to one survey. The rest of us tend to overestimate, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Let's say you assume that consuming 2,000 calories per day will allow you to reach your target weight, but it really takes 1,800: Those extra 200 are enough to keep an additional 20 pounds on your frame.
Just wanted to say thanks for mentioning Sparkpeople! Last week, I came across your website after visiting Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn and reading a woman’s recipe about pumpkin pie oatmeal. She listed your Crockpot pumpkin oatmeal recipe as a recommended recipe. I’ve been having a hard time taking off ten pounds–I’m in my forties and I can’t eat like I used to! I joined Sparkpeople a week ago and have been really liking it. I don’t feel so isolated, and the tracking tools are really great (and it’s free, too!). Thanks for introducing me to Sparkpeople, Jennifer!
Klein, S., Burke, L.E., Bray, G.A., Blair, S., Allison, D.B., Pi-Sunyer, X., et al. (2004). Clinical Implications of Obesity With Specific Focus on Cardiovascular Disease: A Statement for Professionals From the American Heart Association Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism: Endorsed by the American College of Cardiology Foundation. Circulation; 110(18): 2952-2967.