10 realistic weight loss tips from girls who have lost at least 50 pounds
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.
1. Start small. “I began walking or jogging for 15 minutes a day. I worked up to 30 minutes, and then increased it again. It was a very gradual process.”
2. Don’t give up when your weight loss plateaus. “I remember hitting the first plateau and feeling so defeated, but you have to push through and keep putting in the effort for your plan to work. You can’t get discouraged.”
3. Be realistic about which habits need to go. “When I was heavy, I’d eat French fries every single day, plus carbs at almost every meal — like a sandwich for lunch or bread with pasta for dinner. A diet so heavy in fried food and carbs just isn’t conducive to weight loss. To lose the weight, I went from three large meals a day to six small meals, mostly made of fresh vegetable salads with lean meats and nuts. And no more bread!”
4. Find a healthy meal you like and eat it all the time. “In college, I researched the food available in the dining hall to find the healthiest options, settling on a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with mustard. I ate thatfor most lunches and dinners — and I was so focused on achieving my goals that it didn’t even feel repetitive.”
5. Start with one small change. “I realized that a lot of sugar and calories that I consumed came from drinks, so I challenged myself to drink only water — no sugary drinks! — for 30 days. After just one successful week, I decided to add another challenge: to cut back on the carbs I was eating. When I did eat bread, I switched to wheat bread and when I wanted rice, I used brown rice.”
6. Make your old favorites healthier. “I’ve always loved burger and fries, so I also started making healthier versions of foods that were familiar to me, like turkey burgers with wheat bread and sweet potato fries.”
7. Prepare for heavy meals. “When I know I’m going out for dinner, where I’ll probably want to eat extra calories, I eat lighter meals throughout the day, like a smoothie for breakfast and a salad for lunch.”
8. Switch out bad snacks for good snacks. “I used to snack on chips, candy bars, and other junk food throughout the day, but now I eat a set six times a day. My new snacks include protein bars or shakes, pistachios, celery sticks with PB2 (a lower-fat peanut butter), and low-fat string cheese.”
9. Order smarter salads. “I cook most of my meals at home now but make healthy choices at restaurants like Applebee’s if I go out. For instance, while I used to eat tacos, burgers, fries, and shakes, I now have salads without croutons and ask for a low-fat dressing on the side.”
10. Cook for yourself. “I bake fish with olive oil or make barbecue-style ground turkey. I eat green beans, carrots, celery, low-fat cottage cheese, string cheese, pistachios, olives, low-fat yogurt, grapes, and tangerines. And I usually don’t feel hungry.”
You know that recording what you consume is a good way to keep your weight in check, but Brittany Hicks, who dropped 110 pounds in college, didn’t only write down what she ate—she also wrote down why she was eating it.
“I realized I’d been using food to cope with stress,” she says. “Just noticing that helped me do it less.” Make sure you’re not making these food journal mistakes so you can reap the rewards of eating and jotting, too.
Rethink Your Plates and Bowls
If figuring out what to put into your body is too overwhelming, start with how much you’re serving yourself. The easiest way to do this? Swap out your plates for smaller ones, like mother of two Jeanenne Darden did. With the help of this trick, she managed to lose an amazing 22 percent of her body weight, going from 187 pounds to 146 pounds. “I ate normally,” she says. “I just ate less of everything.” Pro tip: This trick is even easier with some cute portion-control dishware.
Do Your Restaurant Research. Jen Tallman never thought she would have the courage to pursue a career in fashion due to her size…until she dropped 110 pounds by reducing her caloric intake and picking up running.
Now she works at Chanel. How does she resist the temptation to deviate from her newfound healthy habits when eating outwith friends?
She checks out the menu beforehand so she always knows her healthy options. Just make sure you know how to spot what’s actually healthy—restaurants can have a knack for trying to make you think things are healthier than they are.
Use Greek Yogurt in Creative Ways
“I use low-fat Greek yogurt in place of mayo in recipes, and it tastes great,” says Krystal Sanders, who went from 185 pounds to 110 by coming up with healthy versions of her favorite restaurant foods.
“It can also be used as a sour cream substitute.” The possibilities are endless when it comes to this tasty staple, but you can start with these dessert recipes.
Try the ‘One One One’ Rule
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.
Trick Your Sweet Tooth
After a cancer diagnosis sent her normally healthy lifestyle off-course, flight attendant Tracey Z. Dickson was heavier than she had ever been.
When she was declared cancer-free, she hopped back on the treadmill and got her diet in order—and went from 158 pounds to 117. One of her diet secrets?
“Instead of dessert, I’ll have a baked sweet potato sprinkled with cinnamon,” she says. “It tastes like I’m eating sweet potato pie, but for a ton less calories.”
For more healthy ideas on how to get your sugar fix, check out these desserts with 150 calories (or less).
Keep a Toothbrush Handy
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.
Stock Up on Frozen Veggies
Think cooking healthy meals is difficult and time-consuming?
Think again. Annie Allen, a postsurgical nurse in Tampa Bay, Florida, let her freezer do half the work for her—and now she’s down 52 pounds and runs about 10 races a year.
“Frozen vegetables are as nutritious as fresh ones, and in minutes you have half of your meal prepared,” she says.
These frozen meals are also surprisingly healthy if you don’t have time to mix and match one of your own.