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Weight Loss Success Stories: Inspirational Before & After Pictures

Weight Loss Success Stories: Inspirational Before & After Pictures

These individuals experienced remarkable body transformations by adopting an active fitness lifestyle and following a healthy diet. They shared with us their weight loss success stories to inspire you. Each weight loss success story is unique in its own way.

01/83: Lexlee Hudson’s weight loss success story: Shedded 187 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
Lexlee Hudson. LEXLEE HUDSON

College was a turning point for Hudson. It brought newfound independence but also threw her into a whirlwind of challenges. The stress of managing multiple jobs while struggling with dietary uncertainty pushed her towards quick and budget-friendly meals, mainly pizza and whatever she could grab during her waitressing shifts. Sadly, this lifestyle took a toll on her, resulting in a significant weight gain of 180 lbs within a year.

Reflecting on those times, Hudson recalls, «I started facing numerous health issues. My back constantly ached, I battled PCOS, and found myself teetering on the edge of pre-diabetes and high blood pressure. Even something I’d cherished my whole life, horseback riding, became nearly impossible. I became incredibly self-conscious, withdrew from social activities, and distanced myself from friends.»

Amidst all this, her mother and grandmother achieved remarkable weight loss through the Optavia program, shedding 80 and 75 lbs respectively. They had been urging Hudson to join for years, and in January 2018, after completing college, she finally decided to give it a try. Hudson began setting alarms every 2½-3 hours to remind herself to eat nutritious snacks. She made positive changes, swapping regular pizza for cauliflower crust versions and transforming Taco Tuesdays with lettuce wraps instead of tortillas.

Over the next two and a half years, Hudson remained committed and steadily shed weight until she had lost an astonishing 187 lbs. Today, she serves as a health coach, assisting others in their journey to «get healthy.»

Explaining her transformation, Hudson says, «I tell people that before, it felt like I had a constant mental fog. I didn’t prioritize myself. My entire life has taken a complete turn for the better.»

02/83: Linda Migliaccio’s: Shedded 189 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
COURTESY LINDA MIGLIACCIO

Since high school, Migliaccio has struggled with her weight. She began dieting at 15 and, over the years, faced ups and downs. Also, she was diagnosed with binge eating disorder. She figures she’s lost and gained significant weight at least 12 times.

However, her heaviest weight, 349 lbs., came during a tough time—her mother’s passing. As she cared for her mom, her weight shot up by 200 lbs. Then, a bathroom fall tore her right knee’s ACL and meniscus. A surgeon told her the truth: her weight made it impossible to fix her knee. He warned that she’d be in a wheelchair within a year if she didn’t shed the extra pounds.

«In a way, he did me a big favor by being so blunt,» she says. «It was the wakeup call I needed, and it marked a turning point for me.»

Migliaccio embraced a nutritarian diet, focusing on fruits, veggies, grains, and nuts. She didn’t cut out her favorite foods entirely, enjoying the occasional cheesesteak or ice cream when the craving hit. This balanced approach, with 80% healthy choices and 20% treats, helped her maintain progress. Her friends and her support group, TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), played a vital role in keeping her on track. In two years, she shed an impressive 189 lbs., amazingly avoiding knee surgery.

«I’m finally starting to find what truly makes me happy,» she shares, with newfound optimism.

03/83: Ann Wulff’s: Shedded 207 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
Ann Wulff. ANN WULFF

Wulff, a 39-year-old teacher, shared her journey with PEOPLE MAGAZINE, revealing how pregnancy led her to indulge freely. Throughout three pregnancies, her weight climbed by over 100 lbs., eventually reaching a staggering 360 lbs.

She candidly admits, «I convinced myself that my eating habits didn’t matter, given my existing weight. Juggling a demanding full-time job and caring for three young girls made me question if eating that extra ice cream really made a difference.»

Yet, as time passed, Wulff began noticing troubling signs. Her energy dwindled, making it tough to take her daughters for a short walk to the nearby park. Buckling her car seatbelt became a struggle, and headaches were a constant companion.

In her mid-30s, she had an epiphany. There were activities she simply couldn’t manage. Determined to turn things around, Wulff joined WW, committing to a full year upfront. She set achievable goals, aiming to lose just 5 lbs. at a time, which kept her motivation soaring. By making healthier dinner choices and incorporating neighborhood walks, she shed an incredible 207 lbs. in a little over two years.

With a heartfelt tone, she expresses, «I feel like a weight has been lifted, and I don’t mean just physically. My energy levels have skyrocketed, my attitude is more positive, and I’m more willing to step out of my comfort zone. I’m excelling as a teacher, a spouse, a parent—basically, in all aspects of life, I’m a better version of myself.»

04/83: Crystal Benes’s weight loss success story: Shedded 201 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
CRYSTAL BENES

Benes carried the weight burden throughout her life. Obesity was her constant companion from childhood, and by the age of 25, the scale showed a daunting 376 lbs.

She recalls, «Every choice about what I ate and how much I exercised was on me. I couldn’t blame anyone else for my poor decisions, which pushed me nearly to 400 lbs.»

But on April 2, 2018, a turning point arrived as Benes enrolled in a local weight loss program in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Over 15 weeks, she shed 100 lbs. with the help of a personal trainer, nutrition coaching, and consistent boot camp classes. The real challenge, she admits, began when the structured program ended, and she had to continue on her own.

«I had to understand that this wasn’t just a temporary diet; it had to be my way of life,» she shares.

Benes remained dedicated to her daily workouts and nutrition plan. By the following January, just 10 months later, her weight had dropped to 175 lbs. She’s maintained this weight, with some buffer, over the past year with the support of Real Appeal, a helpful weight loss program.

«My weight loss journey unfolded when I faced my weight every single day, leading me through a constant state of struggle,» she reflects. «Amidst the challenges, I discovered that the toughest path led to the most beautiful journey of my life.»

05/83: Marsha Parker’s: Shedded 155 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
Marsha Parker

Marsha Parker’s life took a challenging turn when she became a single mother to her newborn daughter, Kumari. Living in the Bronx, New York, Marsha had to make tough choices, accepting a lower-paying job with flexible hours to care for Kumari. Most of her earnings went towards ensuring Kumari had nutritious meals, while Marsha herself settled for budget-friendly fried chicken priced at just $1.25.

The stress of her new role weighed heavily on Marsha, and looking back, she believes she may have experienced some postpartum depression without even realizing it. In those quiet moments during Kumari’s naps, tears would stream down her face as she sought comfort in chocolate pudding and Pepsi. She knowingly turned to unhealthy foods for solace.

As time went on, Marsha’s weight continued to climb. By Kumari’s fifth birthday, she had reached a daunting 290 lbs. Alongside her weight gain, she struggled with high blood pressure and pre-diabetes. It was Kumari, her young daughter, who became the driving force behind Marsha’s determination to shed those pounds.

Marsha began experiencing food-induced headaches, and Kumari, with a sincere concern, would say, «I need you to be healthy; I’m really, really worried about you. Please eat healthy.» It struck Marsha that her well-being was intertwined with her daughter’s.

With newfound determination, Marsha signed up for kickboxing classes and adopted a healthier diet. She introduced green smoothies to both her and Kumari’s routine and emphasized lean protein sources like fish, chicken, and eggs. A burgeoning interest in weightlifting played a crucial role in her transformation, ultimately helping her shed an impressive 155 lbs. Today, she manages a rigorous five-day-a-week workout routine while balancing her roles as an online teacher, Ph.D. student, and Kumari’s homeschooling responsibilities.

In Marsha’s own words, «Kumari, she’s the one who rescued me, saved my life.» Her daughter’s profound influence fueled her journey towards a healthier life.

06/83: Lindy Cellucci’s: Shedded 150 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
COURTESY Lindy Cellucci

After carrying the weight of nearly 300 lbs. for nearly eight years, Lindy Celluci had a life-changing moment during a vacation with friends in 2014. She vividly remembers the occasion, telling her story to PEOPLE MAGAZINE, saying, «We were at Hopewell Rocks, and there’s this staircase leading to the ocean floor with about 500 steps. I stood there, realizing I couldn’t make that descent. They were enjoying themselves, laughing, while I stayed at the top. I told myself just two words: ‘It’s time.'»

As a mother of two, Lindy began her journey by researching healthy recipes and tracking her steps using a Fitbit. In just 16 months, she successfully shed 82 lbs. However, her journey took an unexpected turn when she discovered a suspicious lump on her chest. A swift diagnosis revealed breast cancer, leading her into a challenging phase of chemotherapy.

Despite this setback, Lindy remained determined to maintain her healthier lifestyle. In 2017, when her doctor gave her the all-clear, she resumed walking and engaged in activities like Zumba, boot camp, and aqua swim classes. The pounds continued to melt away.

«I consistently lost weight each week for an entire year,» she says. «My determination never wavered. If I faced a setback, which happened a couple of times after that first year, I didn’t let it derail me. Life has its ups and downs.»

Now at the age of 60, Lindy Celluci reached an incredible weight of 150 lbs. by October, and she attributes the trajectory of her life to her weight loss journey.

«I would never have detected that lump if I hadn’t shed those pounds,» she emphasizes. «It saved my life twice, first from a potential heart attack and then by leading me to find that lump.»

07/83: Kimberly Brown’s weight loss success story: Shedded 109 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
KIMBERLY BROWN/NUTRISYSTEM

In 2015, when Brown was 34, she faced a tough year. She had gone through a miscarriage, said goodbye to her childhood pet, and had a long period of being unable to walk due to a broken ankle.

«It really took a toll on me,» Brown shares.

Adding to her challenges, Brown’s health was at risk. She had high blood pressure and frequent migraines. Her doctor believed that losing some of her 239 lbs. would greatly improve her health. So, Brown decided to join Nutrisystem, and the results were immediate. In the first week, she shed an impressive 10 lbs. and continued to lose around 2.5 lbs. each week. Fast forward four years, and she’s now 109 lbs. lighter and much healthier.

«I now weigh 130, and I no longer need medication for my blood pressure. My annual check-ups leave my doctor impressed with my cholesterol and other levels!» she proudly declares. «I’ve gained self-confidence, the courage to tackle anything, and a deep sense of pride in how far I’ve come!»

08/83: Jennifer Riveira’s: Shedded 76 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
JENNIFER RIVEIRA; ISAGENIX

Jennifer Riveira often found herself worn out, struggling to keep up with her lively young son. But when her doctor assured her that all her tests showed normal results, except for her frequent fast-food indulgence, which might be the root cause of her troubles, she knew it was time for a change.

«In truth, I had forgotten about taking care of myself,» she confides in PEOPLE MAGAZINE. «Everyone else seemed more important, and fast food had become my default choice. It was quick and convenient.»

Determined to transform her lifestyle, Riveira made significant adjustments. She bid farewell to greasy fast food, replacing it with wholesome meal replacement shakes. Alongside this, she embraced physical activity.

Today, she maintains a consistent exercise routine and can easily keep up with her 13-year-old son.

«The real challenge lies in nurturing self-improvement, in becoming the best version of oneself, regardless of who you are,» Riviera emphasizes.

09/83: Kristen McLaughlin’s: Shedded 133 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
KRISTEN MCLAUGHLIN; TORY RUST

As McLaughlin entered college, she noticed herself becoming less active and gaining weight. This issue worsened when she started dating someone who also had unhealthy eating habits, mainly relying on takeout like pizza, burrito bowls, cheeseburgers, and fries. Consequently, her weight reached 270 lbs. In 2016, she turned to Jenny Craig and managed to lose 60 lbs. However, she felt guilty about her boyfriend’s self-sufficiency, which led to her regaining some weight.

Things changed significantly in late 2017, when her boyfriend admitted to having feelings for someone else, prompting McLaughlin to end the relationship, declaring, «This is cheating, this is senseless, I can’t continue like this.»

The period following the breakup was chaotic; in December alone, McLaughlin ended the relationship, moved to a new place, and started a new job. This upheaval turned out to be the fresh start she needed to commit to long-lasting weight loss. «I eliminated every excuse I ever had,» she says.

In February 2017, McLaughlin returned to Jenny Craig and made remarkable progress over the next two years, shedding an impressive 133 lbs., nearly halving her previous size. She attributed her success to a combination of pre-made meals and her newfound enthusiasm for group fitness classes and weight training. Today, she takes charge of her cooking and maintains her weight loss.

«I feel more authentic now, strangely enough, than I ever did in my previous 30 years,» she asserts. «I’m more open to new experiences, more outgoing, and more inclined to socialize.»

10/83: Mary Jane O’Toole’s weight loss success story: Shedded 135 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
MARY JANE O’TOOLE

In 2016, when O’Toole got engaged, she was thrilled about marrying her long-time boyfriend. However, she knew their relationship hadn’t been great for her health. After six years of frequent fast-food dinners and little physical activity, she found herself at 281 lbs., just at the age of 25.

Moreover, O’Toole had concerns about buying a wedding dress in her size. She explained, «I didn’t want to go for a plus-size wedding dress because they tended to be much more expensive than regular sizes. I felt like I was being charged extra just because I was larger. It felt like a ‘fat tax,’ making it tough to find affordable clothing.»

Working with her fiancé, O’Toole turned to the LoseIt! App to track meals and calories. Over a year, she impressively lost 75 lbs. She also added regular exercise to her daily routine. By her wedding day in November 2018, O’Toole had lost a total of 135 lbs., allowing her to wear her dream dress—in size 6.

Looking back on the journey, she shared, «The dress I had in mind was bold and revealing, but I ended up choosing a long-sleeved design that covered my neck, with an open back. I had never imagined myself in something fitted like that, but I felt incredible because I had reached my weight loss goal.»

O’Toole has maintained her healthy habits, even though she sometimes deals with loose skin. Nevertheless, she focuses on the «non-scale victories.» She happily noted, «One of the most significant victories is being able to explore my friends’ wardrobes — something I couldn’t do before. It’s amazing; it’s as if I have access to double the closets, fulfilling the dream I had during high school!»

11/83: Randi Vasquez’s: Shedded 80 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
RANDI VASQUEZ/INSTAGRAM

Randi Vasquez had always been a confident kid, even when others called her «chubby.» She’d proudly declare, «I was always feeling myself.» But life took a different turn after she graduated when she struggled to find a job she truly enjoyed. To cope, she turned to boozy brunches and fast food, and her weight steadily climbed to 240 lbs.

«I noticed my confidence fading, and my motivation evaporating. It hit me that if I didn’t make a change, things would only get worse,» Vasquez remembers.

Realizing that a drastic diet and lifestyle overhaul might not be sustainable, she decided to try something different. In the fall of 2014, she stumbled upon a gym class at her local YMCA that clicked with her. In just a few months, she shed 18 to 20 lbs., reigniting her determination. This newfound drive led her to cook healthier meals and embrace Kayla Itsines’ popular BBG workout plan.

«I set small goals, one year at a time, one month at a time, and kept pushing forward,» she shares. «Reaching the milestone of losing 80 lbs. in the fall of 2017 was a monumental moment for me.»

Since then, Vasquez achieved another significant milestone – completing a half marathon. Now, her focus is on maintaining her weight and relishing the newfound freedom she’s discovered.

«I no longer feel held back by my weight,» she confidently declares. «While I was content before, I now realize there were countless opportunities I missed out on because of the barriers I didn’t even recognize.»

12/83: Tara McGinty’s: Shedded 122 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
TARA MCGINTY

Tara McGinty still vividly recalls her first encounter with weight-based bullying. It was back in 8th grade when a ketchup dispenser mishap left her in need of a shirt change. Unfortunately, the replacement shirt, borrowed from a friend, turned out to be uncomfortably tight.

«I made a firm decision never to eat at school or in front of others again,» McGinty, now 33, shares with PEOPLE MAGAZINE.

She adopted a pattern of near-starvation until 4 p.m., followed by indulging in whatever food was available until bedtime. This unhealthy cycle led her weight to balloon, eventually reaching 260 lbs.

But the turning point came when she received a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that brought her excruciating pain, even preventing her from hugging her own children. It was at this juncture that she resolved to make a lifestyle change. She introduced Isagenix dietary supplements, embraced high-intensity interval training workouts, and adopted a «clean-eating» approach to reduce inflammation. Thanks to these changes, McGinty managed to shed her weight down to 138 lbs., and most importantly, her arthritis pain is now «under control.»

Describing the profound transformation, she says, «In the past, snuggling with my kids used to cause me immense pain. Nowadays, I treasure every hug, and they can even wrap their little hands all the way around my body.»

13/83: Alan Christiansen’s weight loss success story: Shedded 317 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
ALAN CHRISTIANSEN

At 538.8 pounds, Alan Christiansen realized he had an unhealthy relationship with food. His daily routine included three visits to fast-food restaurants, totaling a whopping 6,000 calories, making even simple tasks a struggle.

«I couldn’t stand in the shower for more than ten minutes,» he told PEOPLE MAGAZINE. «Even basic chores like cooking and doing dishes required a chair.»

However, it was the presence of his 3- and 5-year-old daughters at home that motivated Christiansen to make a change. He committed to a diet and exercise regimen, joining Optavia, a wellness program with coaching support. Surprisingly, in just 18 months, he shed the excess weight, reaching 221 pounds.

«I’ve improved as a man, husband, father, employee, son, brother, and friend,» he exclaimed. «I feel liberated from the chains that held me captive for so long. Now, I can embrace life to the fullest, seizing all its opportunities.»

14/83: Shamirum Benjamin’s: Shedded 151 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
SHAMIRUM BENJAMIN

When Shamirum Benjamin was just nine years old, she would sneak pieces of pound cake from the fridge. This habit of concealing her food choices continued into adulthood. Sometimes, she would even order full meals from two fast-food places at once and eat them in her car.

«I hid my unhealthiest eating habits, like overeating to the point of discomfort, so others wouldn’t see, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t burdened by shame,» Benjamin openly shared with PEOPLE MAGAZINE.

Approaching her 29th birthday in February 2011, working as a customer success manager for a software company, she reached her highest weight ever. That’s when she decided to join WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers.

«I changed my way of thinking,» Benjamin explained. She stopped her fast-food indulgences, added more fruits and vegetables to her diet, and started walking regularly while incorporating light daily exercises. In four years, her weight dropped from 291 lbs. to 140 lbs.

Today, she carefully maintains her weight, focusing on foods with low WW point values and practicing portion control.

«I simply feel more vibrant and alive now,» Benjamin revealed. «I’ve discovered a newfound sense of freedom and authenticity that I never thought possible when I was heavier.»

15/83: Janine Johnston’s: Shedded 145 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
JANINE JOHNSTON

When Janine Johnston slipped into the wedding dress she had ordered online, it was a moment of truth that prompted her to make a big change.

«The reflection I saw almost brought tears,» recalls the 36-year-old, sharing with PEOPLE MAGAZINE. «What should have been a joyful and memorable experience turned disheartening and embarrassing.»

So, in June 2016, weighing 299 lbs., Johnston set a goal to shed 100 lbs. before her wedding, a year away. She began by improving her meals, opting for healthier choices, and setting a daily step target with her Fitbit.

As the pounds started to melt away, the healthcare worker decided to step it up. She joined a local kickboxing gym and added high-intensity cardio classes to her daily walks.

Incredibly, just five days before her wedding, Johnston reached her goal. But she didn’t stop there. After the wedding, she stayed committed to exercise and a healthier diet, and she now weighs 154 lbs.

«I’m a much happier person now,» Johnston emphasizes. «Shopping for clothes is enjoyable, cooking is a pleasure, and my overall health is better than ever before.»

16/83: Jenna Leveille’s weight loss success story: Shedded 140 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
JENNA LEVEILLE

As a child, Jenna Leveille had a sweet tooth, but she always considered herself a fit and sporty person. However, after having a baby in 2000, she began to gain weight continuously, despite her demanding job as a global sales director at SpaFinder.

In her quest to shed those extra pounds, Jenna tried quick fixes, diving headfirst into a cycle of crash diets. Some of them seemed to work briefly, but the results were disappointingly short-lived. She’d drop 20 pounds only to see them return twofold.

When her weight hit a daunting 270 pounds, Jenna contemplated weight loss surgery, but she was determined to explore natural methods first. She switched to a high-protein, low-carb diet and embraced a regular exercise routine. «I said goodbye to sugar and put on my sneakers,» she recounts.

In 2014, Jenna triumphantly reached her goal weight of 130 pounds, a monumental achievement that inspired her to create the «Getting Closer Everyday» Facebook community. Its purpose? To provide unwavering support and motivation to people on their weight loss journeys.

«I can’t stress enough how my life has transformed beyond my wildest expectations,» she emphasizes. «It’s proof that it’s never too late to make a change, no matter how long you’ve felt stuck.»

17/83: Nicole Ferrigno’s: Shedded 204 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
NICOLE FERRIGNO

Nicole Ferrigno’s early years ingrained in her the notion that «chips were a common side, pasta a regular dinner, and fresh bread a must for every meal.»

But as she gained more control over her food choices, she found herself ensnared in unvarying eating routines. Speaking to PEOPLE MAGAZINE, she confessed, «Lunch often meant a Big Mac, a McChicken, and a large serving of French fries, sometimes with an extra order of medium fries thrown in.»

At her peak weight, Ferrigno tipped the scales at 350 pounds. When she returned to her hometown and started unpacking, she stumbled upon an ad for Beachbody’s «21 Day Fix» program, a blend of portion-controlled eating and 30 minutes of daily exercise.

Determined to enact change, Ferrigno decided to give it a shot, and over time, she began seeing progress. By December 2017, she reached her goal weight of 146 pounds. Although she primarily sticks to a diet centered around veggies and modest carb portions, she underscores that «nothing’s completely off-limits,» allowing herself occasional treats like dessert nibbles or small bags of chips.

Reflecting on her transformation, she shares, «I try on dresses and can’t believe it’s me. I’m thrilled I chose to prioritize self-care.»

18/83: Holly Wallis’s: Shedded 162 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
HOLLY WALLIS

From a young age, Holly Wallis remembers feeling a bit «chubby.» But it was during her high school years that she began to struggle with emotional eating. She explains this experience in an interview with PEOPLE MAGAZINE.

«I grew up with a rule at home that said if you put food on your plate, you had to finish it before leaving the table,» Wallis shares.

«More than half of my life, I’ve been considered obese,» Wallis mentions during her conversation with PEOPLE MAGAZINE.

When she went for her annual checkup at the age of 48, Wallis weighed in at 308 lbs. Her doctor, in the summary after the visit, described her as «morbidly obese» and offered some weight loss suggestions. Reflecting on this, Wallis says, «It made me feel like he genuinely cared about my health and wanted the best for me.»

That very day, she set a goal to lose half her weight by the time she turned 50. She decided to try a keto diet, focusing on high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carb foods. To keep track of her progress, eating habits, and workouts, she turned to the «Lose It!» app. Additionally, Wallis replaced her usual car commute with biking to work and added an extra 30 minutes of exercise to her daily routine.

Now, having reached a weight of 146 lbs., Wallis confidently bikes 29 miles and proudly completes her first half marathon. «I feel empowered,» she states. «I could have given up, but I persevered.»

19/83: Scott Leopold’s weight loss success story: Shedded 193 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
SCOTT LEOPOLD

Scott Leopold’s journey to a healthier life began at 19 when he weighed a hefty 438 lbs. During his college years, he often indulged in alcohol, capping off the nights with high-fat indulgences like chicken wings, sweets, and chips. «I didn’t even think twice about polishing off two whole pizzas,» he confesses to PEOPLE MAGAZINE.

After shedding his first 100 lbs., Leopold and his friends decided to «celebrate» with a buffet. He reminisces, «I loaded up my plate with fried shrimp, crab legs, and hush puppies, polishing off at least eight plates. Seemed like a good idea at the time.»

But, over time, the weight gradually crept back up, reaching 363 lbs. The turning point arrived in 2015 when he couldn’t keep pace with his toddler. «I tried to chase after her, but all I could manage was a slow walk,» Leopold remembers, sadly adding, «All I could do was watch her.»

Realizing the need for change to be more involved in his children’s lives, he discovered Real Appeal, a digital weight loss program offering coaching, support groups, and daily goal setting for diet and exercise. He committed to a strict 800-900 calorie diet (later bumped up to 1,300) and made a daily routine of running or walking.

Now, at a healthy 170 lbs., Leopold enthusiastically joins his daughters in 5K runs and hikes. «I’m happier, healthier, more energetic, and much more active,» he beams. «I can keep up with my girls and be there for them in a way I never could before.»

20/83: Kara Cline’s: Shedded 95 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories

At the age of 32, Kara Cline faced a challenge when panic attacks started after the birth of her second child. She realized she needed to make significant changes to her lifestyle for the sake of her family’s health and her own.

Cline’s fitness journey began with high school workouts, but when she entered college, her routine shifted. «I became complacent, and the extra pounds just kept piling on,» the certified public accountant explains. «Exercise took a back seat, and I spent time with friends, indulging in foods I shouldn’t have.»

In September 2016, Cline decided to revamp her diet and discovered Daily Burn, a health and fitness app that provides workout videos and nutritional guidance. She found their Daily 365 workout particularly engaging and effective. Cline appreciated the convenience of doing these routines at home in her living room, usually three to four times a week, with her 5 and 2-year-old kids nearby.

The workouts, which focused on interval training, cardio, and body-weight exercises, came with modifications that made them feel personalized. Cline’s dedication paid off, resulting in an impressive weight loss of nearly 100 lbs., and she now maintains a proud weight of 185 lbs.

«It was an emotional roller coaster. I moved to a new city, essentially revamped my entire life, but it was all for the better,» she reflects. «I’m no longer ashamed of my weight, and this transformation has boosted my confidence and comfort, leading me to embrace a more active, healthier lifestyle.»

21/83: Dr. Kevin Gendreau’s: Shedded 125 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
DR. KEVIN GENDREAU

Dr. Kevin Gendreau’s weight loss journey was sparked by a heartbreaking event. He explains how his sister’s battle with a rare and aggressive cancer served as a wake-up call for him to make a profound change. At that time, Dr. Gendreau carried a weight of 300 lbs., mainly due to his consumption of bread, pasta, and chips. He felt compelled to take charge of his health, especially when he saw the stark contrast between his lifestyle choices and his sister’s life-threatening struggle.

As a primary care physician, Dr. Gendreau decided to adopt a high-fat, low-carb approach and tracked his progress using MyFitnessPal. The urgency to adopt healthier habits intensified as his sister’s health deteriorated, knowing that he needed to be in the best possible shape for his young niece and nephew, Sophia and Henry. Sadly, his sister passed away in June 2017.

Dr. Gendreau made a significant shift to a whole-food diet, witnessing remarkable changes by eliminating processed carbs and focusing on nutritious options such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean proteins, eggs, non-fat Greek yogurt, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and non-caloric seasonings.

After hitting a weight loss plateau, he turned to intermittent fasting, a strategy that helped him shed the final 50 lbs. of his impressive total weight loss of 125 lbs. His new eating window, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., includes black tea, black coffee, and water outside that period.

Remarkably, Dr. Gendreau has extended his knowledge to his patients, sharing the benefits of intermittent fasting with many individuals who are pre-diabetic or diabetic. However, he emphasizes the importance of consulting a personal physician before embarking on any diet or exercise regimen, as what works for one person may not be suitable for another.

22/83: Brianna Bernard’s weight loss success story: Shedded 107 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
ARI MICHELSON

During Brianna Bernard’s pregnancy, she used it as a reason to enjoy comfort foods. Looking back, she realizes she ate more extra calories than recommended, worrying about losing weight after pregnancy. At 32 years old, she thought the weight would come off naturally after giving birth, but reality proved otherwise.

After her son was born, now 5 years old, Brianna didn’t prioritize self-care and stuck to unhealthy eating habits. She saw the need for change and took a big step by getting help from a personal trainer at Bodies by Burgoon. She committed to training sessions, focusing on weight lifting, plyometrics, boxing, and effective exercises, going to the gym two to three times a week.

Changing her diet was crucial too. She moved away from processed, carb-heavy meals, embracing lean proteins, healthy fats, and lots of veggies. A year later, the results were amazing: Brianna lost 100 lbs. and even got into competitive powerlifting. Her transformation was so inspiring that she became a trainer at the same gym that helped her reach her weight loss goals.

Reflecting on her journey, she notes it’s not just the physical changes; it’s the change in her thoughts and feelings too. Looking back, it feels like a different time, and the progress she’s made has given her confidence. She now believes there’s nothing she can’t do, a testament to her incredible journey of losing 100 lbs. – a transformation that makes her believe she can conquer anything she sets her mind to.

23/83: Rachel Saintfort’s: Shedded 121 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories

Thinking back on her high school years, the Lakeland, Florida native remembers that she hit the 200 lbs. mark back then, but her confidence stayed strong. However, as the years passed, the weight gradually increased, reaching a peak of 291 lbs. after her daughter’s birth in 2007.

The turning point for Saintfort came in January 2017, triggered by a wake-up call from her 10-year-old daughter. She discovered that a classmate had called her «fat,» and she could see the sadness in her daughter’s eyes as she tried to brush off the hurtful remark. This moment hit her hard, making her realize that her own unhealthy choices and habits were impacting her daughter and sparking a desire for change.

At the age of 32, working as a case manager, Saintfort decided to take proactive steps towards a healthier lifestyle. She chose to say goodbye to fast food and soda, opting instead for daily 3-mile walks around the lake in her town. With determination to make a lasting transformation, she started sharing her weight loss journey on her Instagram account, @Ms100Lbs, and set a significant goal for herself – to shed 100 lbs.

Incredibly, in less than a year, she achieved her goal, a triumph that overwhelmed her with emotion. She remembers shedding tears of joy, describing the experience as truly incredible. This transformation marked a crucial moment in her life, fueled by her desire to set a better example for her daughter and spare her from the pain of being judged because of her mother’s past unhealthy choices.

24/83: Gwilym Pugh’s: Shedded 93 Lbs.

Gwilym Pugh

Starting at 280 lbs., Gwilym Pugh faced the challenges of being overweight and living a sedentary life. Over a 5- to 7-year journey, he went through ups and downs to lose a whopping 93 lbs., leading to an amazing career change.

Now, at 33, Pugh is a successful top model and even an ambassador for David Beckham’s grooming brand, House 99. He swears by a balanced diet, focusing on micronutrients and good fats, along with doable workouts.

«High-intensity workouts were tough due to past injuries, but I found low-intensity morning cardio really effective,» Pugh says. He’s all about a healthy lifestyle, seeing an osteopath and a trainer regularly, aiming for 20,000 steps daily.

Looking back on his life as a sought-after model and social media influencer, Pugh is thankful. He describes this life as something he never imagined. It’s made every part of his life better, from physical and mental health to personal and professional relationships. His journey is proof that committing to better health and well-being can lead to amazing transformations.

25/83: Mariah Stolfi’s weight loss success story: Shedded 84 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
MARIAH STOLFI

Mariah Stolfi, who openly describes herself as a «binge eater,» encountered weight challenges from a young age while growing up in Wisconsin. By the 5th grade, she already tipped the scales at 150 lbs., and her health issues made her weight loss battle even more complicated. During her early teenage years, doctors diagnosed her with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and sleep apnea, making it particularly tough for her to shed pounds.

Dealing with PCOS posed exceptional challenges for Stolfi in her quest to lose weight and keep it off. The combination of this condition and the effects of sleep apnea left her feeling constantly fatigued, making regular exercise a daunting task. By the time she turned 18, her weight had climbed to its peak at 286 lbs.

At a significant turning point in her life, 19-year-old Stolfi opted for vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery in July 2017. Already having lost a remarkable 84 lbs., she’s now striving to shed an additional 60-70 lbs. Along her transformative journey, Stolfi has actively shared her experiences on social media, connecting with a supportive community.

Inspired by the weight loss surgery community she found on Instagram, Stolfi’s candid photos and videos have deeply resonated with audiences, amassing a combined following of over 14,000 on both Instagram and YouTube.

When offering advice to those grappling with weight issues, Stolfi underscores the immense importance of one’s mindset in this journey. She firmly believes that a successful weight loss journey is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. Working on and improving one’s mindset is absolutely critical for achieving lasting success in the pursuit of weight loss goals.

26/83: Kathleen Golding’s: Shedded 178 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
KATHLEEN GOLDING/INSTAGRAM

Kathleen Golding’s childhood was marked by the constant struggle of dealing with excess weight. By the time she turned 21, she turned to food as a way to cope with the heavy burden of anxiety and depression that plagued her.

«I was stuck in a never-ending cycle of overeating every single day,» says Golding, a resident of New Bern, North Carolina, who hit her highest weight at 331 lbs. She realized she needed to change her habits, especially her excessive consumption of fast food.

In June 2016, Golding made a significant decision to undergo gastric bypass surgery. Instead of viewing it as a sign of weakness or «cheating,» she saw it as a display of her strength.

«I found strength in admitting that I can’t do this alone. I want to be healthy, but I need assistance,» reflects Golding, who is now 26 years old.

After the surgery, Golding made substantial progress as the weight steadily dropped. By making healthier food choices and incorporating exercise into her routine, she managed to shed an impressive 178 lbs.

Today, Golding says she’s at peace with her body. Despite some loose skin and recognizing its imperfections, she takes pride in the hard-earned transformation. Golding documented her weight loss journey on Instagram, sharing her experiences and inspiring others on a similar path.

«I used to spend so much time disliking my body, but I’ve come to realize that this is the only body I have, and I’m determined to care for it,» asserts Golding, expressing a newfound sense of self-acceptance and commitment to her well-being.

27/83: Bonnie Wiles’s: Shedded 162 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
PERRY HAGOPIAN

Bonnie Wiles grew up on a diet heavy in starchy foods, and by the time she reached 18, her weight had climbed past 200 lbs.

«I tried various diets, but the pounds just kept piling on, especially after getting married and having four children,» Wiles reveals in the 2018 Half Their Size issue. «It wasn’t until the arrival of my first grandson in 2011 that I fully committed to getting healthier.»

Now residing in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Wiles joined TOPS, a weight loss support group, and started using the MyFitnessPal app.

«It helps me keep an eye on my eating habits and tracks my walking, which usually adds up to around 50 miles per week,» notes Wiles, who now weighs a trim 148 lbs, a significant transformation from where she started.

Fully embracing her newfound healthier lifestyle, Wiles radiates enthusiasm.

«In the past, I used to have to ask for a seatbelt extender on a plane because of my weight. But now, I’m eagerly looking forward to a family trip to Hawaii, where I can confidently show off my favorite body part—my arms,» she shares, highlighting the joy she feels in her improved self-image and physical abilities.

28/83: Jeremiah Peterson’s weight loss success story: Shedded 92 Lbs.

hot man
JEREMIAH PETERSON/INSTAGRAM

Jeremiah Peterson, a Missoula, Montana resident, decided to make big changes in his life after a challenging family hike. He vividly recalls the moment when he struggled to catch his breath, bent over while his wife and three kids, aged 10, 8, and 7, effortlessly hiked, chatted, and laughed without him.

Seeking motivation, Jeremiah took part in a transformation challenge. He shifted to a keto-based diet, focusing on healthy fats, lean protein, and green vegetables. He also committed to twice-daily hour-long hikes and weightlifting sessions.

With unwavering dedication, Jeremiah managed to shed a remarkable 82 pounds in just 150 days. His hard work paid off, as he emerged as the winner of the 1st Phorm Transformation Challenge, earning the grand prize of $50,000.

Jeremiah, who is almost 40, now feels a level of drive and ambition that he’s never experienced before in his life. His transformative journey has brought newfound vitality and determination.

29/83: Robin Janes’s: Shedded 280 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
COURTESY; PERRY HAGOPIAN

Janes, now 28, remembers that she’s never had a memory of being small. She shares this with PEOPLE MAGAZINE in their 2018 Half Their Size issue, saying, «Not even in a baby picture. I was consistently overweight, and this continued into my adult years.» Things reached a point where she couldn’t even weigh herself on a regular scale. «I had to go to my friend’s family business where they weigh huge industrial tubs,» she recalls. «That’s when I discovered I weighed 450 lbs.»

But the turning point came when Janes realized she couldn’t fit into the desks at her college, forcing her to temporarily pause her education.

Determined to bring about a positive change, Janes started with Isagenix meal replacement shakes and taught herself to prepare nutritious meals. She also began incorporating gentle exercises like short walks and swims. With incredible dedication, she managed to shed an impressive 280 lbs. Now, Janes is an enthusiastic participant in volleyball and hits the gym regularly, all while focusing on resuming her degree.

«I’m back in school. I can work anywhere. I’m not limited,» Janes asserts. «I feel like before, all the doors were closed for me. Now they’re all open.» Her journey not only reflects her physical transformation but also the new opportunities and possibilities that have opened up in her life.

30/83: Melody Perdue’s: Shedded 180 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories

In Perdue’s early years, food provided a sense of stability and comfort in her life. Speaking with PEOPLE MAGAZINE for the 2018 Half Their Size issue, Perdue, now 34, shares, «My mother wasn’t able to raise me fully. I always linked food with happiness. I thought, ‘Food is not going to leave me.'»

Her diet consisted of six to eight chocolate bars a day, alongside fried chicken and macaroni and cheese, leading her weight to reach 308 lbs. by the time she turned 29. She faced pre-diabetes, sleep apnea, and a mild form of polycystic ovary syndrome. However, it took a life-threatening car accident in 2012 to prompt her decision to change her life.

«I was on my sister’s couch, and I sat there, and I cried to God,» she reflects. «I said, ‘I’m sick and tired of feeling like this.'»

Perdue took the step of enrolling in Optavia, a program offering packaged meal plans. She learned to enjoy balanced meals, with a focus on protein and three servings of vegetables. This, combined with 30-minute walks, allowed her to lose an impressive 180 lbs.

«Now I have so much energy,» she joyfully states. «I was able to ride a bike for the first time at 33.» This transformation has not only led to remarkable weight loss but has also brought renewed vitality and the ability to embrace new experiences that were once beyond her reach.

31/83: Megan Rachow’s weight loss success story: Shedded 170 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
MEGAN RACHOW

Rachow, now 30, vividly recalls the exact moment when she realized her life needed a major change.

«I had been living with obesity for several years, feeling physically and mentally drained,» shares the physical therapist in her conversation with PEOPLE MAGAZINE. «I believed I had gained so much weight that I could never shed it. Then, on July 19, 2014, something inside me switched, and I decided I couldn’t go on like this.»

Living in Medina, Ohio, Rachow’s daily routine included consuming five or more cans of soda, indulging in large portions of food, and frequenting drive-thrus.

«Exercise seemed impossible; I could barely climb the stairs to my apartment,» she recollects.

Determined to make a change, she started with small steps, cutting out soda and focusing on home-cooked meals.

«The pounds began to melt away,» she says with enthusiasm. «I remember losing 9 lbs. in my first week. After shedding 100 lbs., I started exploring more challenging exercises. I became captivated by fitness, pushing the boundaries of what my body could achieve. I’ve done things I never dreamed possible, like running races, lifting heavy weights, and even completing a sprint triathlon.» This transformation not only brought weight loss but also opened up a world of thrilling physical accomplishments, proving that with dedication and persistence, the seemingly impossible can indeed be achieved.

32/83: Mike Bauler’s: Shedded 225 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
MIKE BAULER

In 2010, after Bauler’s father-in-law had a life-threatening heart attack, he felt a strong urge to change his own life. He lived in Madison, Wisconsin.

«I was 28 then, with two young boys, Eli (2) and Carson (6 months),» he remembers. «I can still picture our whole family gathered, tears and sadness in the air. That moment hit me hard because I realized I might end up in that hospital bed next.»

A few weeks later, Bauler, who had reached a peak weight of 450 lbs., joined a nearby gym. At first, he focused on getting active, but he soon revamped his eating habits. He set a daily calorie limit of 1,500 and practiced portion control for a whole year.

Now, at 35 years old, Bauler makes running a part of his daily routine. He’s achieved impressive feats like completing Ironman and Ragnar events.

«I shed most of the weight (200 lbs.) in about 18 months, and that’s what keeps me going,» he explains. «My competitive spirit drives me, and I’m lucky to have amazing friends and support from the From Fat to Finish Line (FFTFL) community. I enjoy being part of training groups and clubs because they build friendships and keep me accountable. It would be tempting to skip a 10-mile run on a Friday morning at 5:30, but I know I have two friends waiting, and I’d never want to let them down.»

33/83: Katia Powell’s: Shedded 170 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
KATIA POWELL

At 26 years old, Katia Powell hit her peak weight of 350 lbs. She lived in Boston and realized that her health wasn’t aligning with her dream of becoming a medical doctor.

Katia’s struggle with weight started in her childhood, where she mostly ate processed foods and drank little water or ate vegetables. Things got worse during college, leading to a moment of profound self-awareness.

«I walked into my apartment, looked at my reflection in the mirror, and thought, ‘Who is that?'» shares Powell, who is now 38. She has since become a holistic health practitioner and fitness trainer, founding Black Girls Nutrition.

Her journey to better health began at the local YMCA. She slowly increased her workouts to 4 to 5 days a week, dedicating 60 to 90 minutes each time. She also changed her diet, swapping sugary snacks for fresh fruits and vegetables. Remarkably, in the first six months, she lost 100 lbs. and continued her progress, shedding an additional 70 lbs.

Powell has maintained her weight loss for 12 years and now enjoys activities like cycling, dancing, and yoga. If she can’t make it to the gym, she turns to outdoor running, walking, or high-intensity interval training at home. Notably, her exercise routine includes meditation, which adds to her holistic approach to well-being.

34/83: Sara Cloutier’s weight loss success story: Shedded 151 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories

COURTESY; PERRY HAGOPIAN

Growing up and even into her teenage years, Cloutier, who is now 36, often felt like she didn’t quite fit in. By high school, her weight had reached 220 lbs., and things like shopping or playing sports with friends were never really enjoyable for her.

«I can’t recall a single time when I didn’t feel like the biggest girl in the group, and it really bothered me,» Cloutier candidly tells PEOPLE MAGAZINE for their 2018 Half Their Size issue. «I was always the odd one out.»

It was in 2003, after giving birth to her first child, a daughter, that Cloutier found herself weighing 301 lbs. That’s when she knew it was time for a change. «I didn’t want my life to end prematurely,» she explains. «I wanted to be there to watch her grow up and pass on healthy habits.» With unwavering dedication to working out alongside a trainer and making smarter food choices, she successfully shed 151 lbs., an achievement she maintained even through her second pregnancy in 2008.

As Cloutier set out to regain her post-baby fitness routine, she stumbled upon Zumba and quickly fell in love with group fitness classes. Just three weeks after her first class, she became a certified trainer, leading her own classes. By 2013, the demand for her expertise had grown so much that she opened her own fitness studio, which she now manages alongside her full-time job.

Now, as Cloutier prepares to welcome her third child, she acknowledges her concerns about potential weight gain during pregnancy. «I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about putting the weight back on because gaining weight is still a bit scary, especially when you have to do it intentionally,» she admits. However, she stresses the importance of distinguishing between a healthy pregnancy and an unhealthy one, emphasizing the significant difference this understanding makes.

35/83: Katie Bolden’s: Shedded 150 Lbs

weight loss success story
@huffnpuff2buffntough

Amidst a relentless battle with severe anxiety and depression, Bolden, now 31, carried the burden of 280 lbs. at her heaviest, feeling as if her mental state was in ruins.

«I despised everything about myself, and it’s a tough place to be,» she candidly shares with PEOPLE MAGAZINE for their 2018 Half Their Size issue.

A significant turning point came when Bolden, at 26 years old, was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, revealing potential challenges in conceiving a child. A few years later, in February 2013, partial blindness struck one eye, and she discovered she had pre-multiple sclerosis.

«It was like a spark ignited within me,» she recollects. «I suddenly realized that I had been merely existing, wasting my life away. It was time for a change, to truly start living.»

Bolden embarked on a transformative journey, meticulously tracking her food intake with MyFitnessPal while embracing activities like swimming, hiking, and weightlifting. Over three and a half years, she accomplished an incredible weight loss of 150 lbs. and welcomed her daughter into the world. Furthermore, she launched a fitness blog and an Instagram account, with her achievements extending to winning a bodybuilding competition.

«When I reflect on all the things I’ve achieved, I can’t help but wonder, ‘Did I really do that?'» she confesses. «As someone who battled severe anxiety, stepping out and accomplishing those feats shows me how much I’ve grown, both physically and mentally.»

36/83: Morgan Root’s: Shedded 128 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2022

Transitioning from a military career to becoming a stay-at-home mom had a significant impact on Morgan Root’s body. In just two years, her weight went from 145 lbs. to 255 lbs.

«I felt a deep sense of shame witnessing the change from a dedicated Army soldier to someone I didn’t recognize,» recalls Root, now 35, as she shares her story with PEOPLE MAGAZINE for the 2018 Half Their Size issue. «Leaving the military coincided with my pregnancy, and the absence of structure led to unrestrained indulgence. Pregnancy made me eat much more than usual.»

Not long after her son turned six months old, this resident of Richmond, Georgia, found herself pregnant again with her daughter, and the weight continued to pile on.

«I no longer wanted to appear in photos with my children. I struggled to breathe, faced hip problems, and felt aches throughout my body. I couldn’t walk the way I should.»

During this challenging time, she made a crucial decision to join Nutrisystem, which provided the structure she needed while juggling her duties as a mom. Today, as a graduate student, she proudly weighs 127 lbs.

Root also took the proactive step of joining a gym.

«My children, who once seemed like obstacles to working out or prioritizing myself, now inspire everything I do,» she concludes, highlighting the positive transformation she has embraced.

37/83: Jermaine Gause’s weight loss success story: Shedded 303 Lbs. (and Counting!)

weight loss success story 2022
JERMAINE GAUSE/INSTAGRAM

Weighing an overwhelming 639 lbs., Gause grappled with a consuming fear – the fear of his own mortality.

«I’m not ready to say goodbye to this world,» he confided during a heartfelt interview on The Doctors in October 2016. «Given my current condition, I’m aware that my time might be limited.»

With unwavering determination to transform his life, Gause took a bold step and joined Live in Fitness, a residential community dedicated to weight loss. In this supportive setting, he completely revamped his eating habits, focusing on lean proteins and vegetables. At the same time, he committed to a consistent exercise routine. Remarkably, in just over a year, he managed to shed an astonishing 303 lbs.

«Since shedding this weight, I feel like an entirely different person,» Gause happily exclaimed in a subsequent appearance on The Doctors. «Every morning, I wake up, and I can move with a newfound sense of freedom that I had longed for.»

38/83: Samantha Call’s: Shedded 125 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2022
SAMANTHA CALL

In 2008, Samantha Call faced an immense loss as her father succumbed to heart disease at the young age of 48. This tragedy struck deep, and it was compounded by the fact that her father had been battling obesity.

At that time, Samantha was also wrestling with her own weight issues, tipping the scales at 265 lbs. But what truly etched itself in her memory was a heartrending conversation with her 12-year-old brother – a conversation that became a turning point in her life.

«I’ll always remember sitting down with my 12-year-old brother after Dad’s passing. He looked at me and said, ‘Samantha, I don’t want you to end up like Daddy,'» Samantha, now 33, shared with PEOPLE MAGAZINE. «It shattered my heart, but it lit a fire under me to begin my journey.»

In the early months of 2009, Samantha found her path to success through the Atkins diet. With unwavering determination and sheer hard work, she shed those extra pounds and reached a healthy 132 lbs. within a year and a half. Remarkably, she has maintained this weight loss for nearly seven years.

Today, she discovers peace and purpose in preparing wholesome meals at home, often with her fiancé, and devotes an hour to exercise before embarking on her daily tasks. As a proud resident of Callis, Maine, she confidently declares, «It’s become an integral part of my everyday life.»

39/83: Jason Cohen’s: Shedded 125 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2022
RUNNER’S WORLD

Jason Cohen faced a lifelong struggle with maintaining a healthy weight. At his heaviest, he tipped the scales at nearly 300 lbs.

«I always believed I’d be big my whole life,» confided Cohen, now 33. But he decided to take charge and shed those excess pounds. He embraced activities like running and cycling, embarked on a friendly weight-loss challenge with a close friend, and made a significant dietary shift by adopting a plant-based diet.

One major source of motivation for Cohen’s remarkable 125 lbs. weight loss journey was a private support group on Facebook called the «Missing Chins Run Club.»

«When I see fellow members sharing their 7-mile runs in the Facebook group, I can’t make any more excuses,» emphasized the Lafayette, Louisiana resident. «It’s time to lace up my shoes and hit the pavement.»

40/83: Jessica Beniquez’s weight loss success story: Shedded 175 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2022
JESSICA BENIQUEZ/INSTAGRAM

Jessica Beniquez, once weighing over 320 lbs., led a largely sedentary life. She candidly admits, «I spent my days in bed, binge-watching Netflix series. It was all about eating, work, and my shows,» as she shared with PEOPLE MAGAZINE.

Growing weary of her «lazy» routine, the 21-year-old made a resolute decision to shed those excess pounds in February 2016. She embraced Herbalife shakes as a pivotal part of her weight loss strategy, and she’s never looked back.

By adhering to a «strict» daily diet of 1,200–1,500 calories and joining a gym, Beniquez achieved remarkable progress, shedding an astounding 175 lbs.

Now weighing 145 lbs., Beniquez proudly works at her gym’s front desk and aspires to become a certified trainer. Her journey serves as an ongoing inspiration to others as she shares it on Instagram.

«I never anticipated being where I am today. I used to be shy, but now I’m brimming with confidence and boundless energy,» says the Spring Hill, Florida resident. «In the past, it took me 20 minutes to walk a mile; now I can run 5 miles in under 50 minutes… It’s truly amazing, the things I can now achieve.»

41/83: Laura Hyman’s: Shedded 103 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2022
LAURA HYMAN; ISAGENIX INTERNATIONAL

Laura Hyman’s weight reached a staggering 264 lbs. because, as she puts it, she was always focused on «taking care of everyone else but myself,» as shared with PEOPLE MAGAZINE. Now at 54, she’s ready to share her journey.

With her husband Myron by her side, the couple achieved something remarkable – shedding over 100 lbs. They credit their success to the Isagenix weight-loss program they began in 2015.

«[Isagenix] gave us a structured plan for our meals and snacks,» says Hyman, who now weighs a healthy 161 lbs. Her routine involves eating five times a day: two shakes, two snacks, and one full meal. She emphasizes the importance of timing, noting that «when» you eat matters just as much as «what» you eat. After dinner, she firmly states, «The kitchen is closed.»

At the start of their weight loss journeys, the couple embarked on a 16-week body transformation program. Now, Hyman works out with a trainer 3 to 4 times a week and has even achieved finalist status in her sixth Isabody Challenge.

«I nourish my body and no longer turn to food for emotional reasons,» she proudly declares. «I feel better now than I did in my 20s.»

42/83: Jovana Borojevic’s: Shedded 139 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2022
JOVANAFIT/INSTAGRAM

Jovana Borojevic’s journey took an unexpected turn when she stepped onto the scale. Despite her prior contentment and self-assuredness in her own skin, the sight of a ‘3’ preceding her weight left her in disbelief.

«I never thought I’d see that ‘3’ on the scale,» Borojevic confessed to PEOPLE MAGAZINE. Her weight had reached 304 lbs., a consequence of her battle with Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and fatty liver disease, exacerbated by her fast food-heavy diet. She experienced a defining moment, and it triggered a complete transformation.

Without hesitation, the 24-year-old digital marketing strategist overhauled her diet, bidding farewell to starchy carbs, refined foods, sugar, and most packaged meals. Within just one month, she managed to shed nearly 20 lbs. Her commitment didn’t stop there; she started hitting the gym vigorously, engaging in weight training and cardio workouts four to five times a week.

Now, a year and a half into her remarkable journey, Borojevic proudly stands at 165 lbs., with her sights set on reaching her target weight of around 150 lbs. Her message is clear: «Don’t forget the victories beyond the scale – how your clothes fit, how you feel, the health issues you’ve conquered, and the happiness you’ve found. These are just as important!»

43/83: Allie Ruby’s weight loss success story: Shedded 98 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2022
ALLIE RUBY/INSTAGRAM

Allie Ruby had a clear goal in mind: she wanted to shed weight and achieve the coveted six-pack she had always dreamed of. Her college days had seen her indulging in poor eating habits, resulting in her weight reaching a staggering 225 lbs. However, even after successfully shedding 98 lbs., she found herself feeling less than satisfied.

«I always imagined that having a six-pack would be a momentous achievement, but when I finally got there last year, it wasn’t the exhilaration I had anticipated. I thought it would be this huge high, but it wasn’t,» shares Ruby, who is now 28, speaking to PEOPLE MAGAZINE.

Determined to stay in shape, she delved into weightlifting, a choice that sculpted her body but also saw her weight climb again, this time due to muscle replacing fat. As the numbers on the scale began to rise once more, self-doubt crept in.

«If you’ve ever lost a significant amount of weight only to see some of it return, you can probably relate to that crushing feeling of moving backward – I think those emotions were even more painful than when I was overweight,» Ruby shared on Instagram. She added that mindfulness practices played a crucial role in her journey. «I had to remind myself that transformation goes far beyond the physical.»

Now, she’s transitioned from weightlifting to powerlifting, a discipline that involves lifting heavier weights, and it has brought her immense joy.

«It’s a whole different ballgame because nobody cares about your appearance; it’s all about your strength,» Ruby tells PEOPLE MAGAZINE. «I absolutely love it.»

44/83: Janice «JJ» Jobity’s: Shedded 120 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2022
FROM LEFT: COURTESY JANICE JOBITY; ARI MICHELSON

Growing up, Jobity always led an active life, but things took a different turn when she faced mistreatment in a relationship. It led her to turn to food as a way to cope.

«I stopped caring for myself as much as I should have,» said the 36-year-old finance project analyst from Toronto in an interview with PEOPLE MAGAZINE. «I was depressed. I just sort of withdrew from the world, and food became my solace.»

By 2015, she had hit her heaviest weight at 260 lbs. and started experiencing severe stomach pain.

«When I went to my doctor, they explained I had a stomach ulcer, and all those years of soda had taken a toll on my stomach,» she recalled.

Jobity decided to prioritize her overall health, both mentally and physically. She began attending boot camp classes and sought counseling to address her emotional struggles.

Her eating habits underwent a significant transformation, with a focus on fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. «I’m a big fan of salad and chicken,» she shared. «Salad and chicken are my go-to favorites!»

When it comes to exercise, Jobity dedicates six days a week to her workouts.

Her fundamental advice for weight loss? «You need to fix what’s going on inside before you can work on the outside. The mind plays a crucial role in the weight loss journey, more than anything else. Much of weight loss is a mental battle.»

45/83: Naomi Teeter’s: Shedded 150 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2022
NAOMI TEETER

Teeter has battled weight issues her whole life. At 26, she hit a staggering 300 lbs on the scale. Her health took a hit too, with painful knee swelling, eczema flare-ups, and nightly acid reflux.

But it took a doctor’s visit to kickstart her transformation.

She began by keeping a food diary and signing up at the gym. Now, at 34, Teeter has achieved incredible feats she once thought impossible. She’s completed multiple half and full marathons, conquered mountains, and even taken the plunge with skydiving. Yet, it was a daring 5k run in the buff that truly allowed her to embrace her body.

«In life, it’s not often that you find big groups of people who accept and cheer for you, no matter your body’s shape or your physical prowess,» she revealed in her chat with PEOPLE MAGAZINE.

As for her current diet, Teeter opts for healthier choices, ditching junk food and keeping an eye on her macronutrients.

In terms of exercise, this health and weight loss strategy coach from Spokane, Washington, stays active through running, hiking, and gym sessions.

Her top tip for weight loss: Don’t stress too much about what you eat; instead, keep an eye on portion sizes. «I truly believe that because I didn’t follow strict food rules, I was able to shed the weight quickly.»

46/83: Tara Kavanagh’s weight loss success story: Shedded 145 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2022
TARA KAVANAGH

Meet a self-employed mom-of-three from Rapid City, South Dakota. Standing at 5’7″ and aged 35, she had already crossed the 200 lbs mark before having children. But it was during pregnancy that her weight peaked at 304 lbs. After her second child’s birth, she decided it was time for a change.

«I wanted to be an active mom, play with my kids, and truly live life, not just exist,» she revealed to PEOPLE MAGAZINE. «I craved new experiences, and I felt like my weight was holding me back.»

In contrast to some of her relatives who opted for weight loss surgery, Kavanagh chose a different path. She focused on finding enjoyable workouts and keeping a watchful eye on her food intake.

When it comes to her current diet, Kavanagh places emphasis on consuming unprocessed, non-GMO, and organic foods whenever possible. She also follows the 80/20 rule when it comes to eating. «I still treat myself once in a while!» she admitted.

As for her exercise routine, she’s a big fan of Jillian Michaels’ workouts. «I do the same workouts now as a fit person that I did when I was 300 lbs. I just crank up the intensity to get that killer workout!»

Her top tip for weight loss: Find a workout that keeps you engaged. «Jillian’s workouts are always enjoyable, and I actually look forward to doing them.»

47/83: Helen Costa-Giles’s: Shedded 90 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2022
GARY GILES; GERONIMO RODRIGUEZ

Helen Costa-Giles grappled with the challenge of finding motivation to shed the excess weight for years, even though her doctor expressed concerns about her 220-lb. frame. However, in 2014, her annual checkup delivered a stark reality check, revealing that her size was steering her towards chronic health problems.

«My test results were off the charts, and it absolutely terrified me,» shares Costa-Giles, who was 38 at the time, speaking to PEOPLE MAGAZINE. «That’s the moment everything changed.»

Determined to take charge, she swiftly eliminated all processed and preservative-laden foods from her diet, embracing a clean eating regimen. Remarkably, in just six months, without any exercise, she shed nearly 90 lbs. Shortly thereafter, Costa-Giles introduced weightlifting into her routine and found herself falling in love with it.

«My body responded remarkably to weightlifting, and I started getting leaner,» she explains. «The scale might not have shown drastic changes, but the inches were definitely shifting. I became somewhat obsessed because, for the first time in my life, my body was aligning with my goals.»

Today, Costa-Giles not only juggles her full-time job in the automotive industry but also hosts free exercise classes in her hometown of San Antonio at 4 a.m., four days a week.

«I’m a mother of two with a demanding job,» she points out. «I get it – many people hesitate to embark on their fitness journeys, often citing numerous excuses. I enjoy sharing my story because it’s incredibly relatable.»

48/83: Dustin LaJaunie’s: Shedded 150 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2022
RUNNER’S WORLD

Dustin LaJaunie’s journey is truly remarkable. Just five years ago, he carried a weight of 425 lbs. However, today, he has shed an impressive 150 lbs. And the best part? He’s not done yet. Dustin’s incredible transformation is ongoing, and he owes much of his success to the unwavering support of his younger brother, Josh LaJaunie.

Josh took the initiative to create a private Facebook support group called the «Missing Chins Run Club.» This group serves as a safe haven where people can openly share their personal stories and struggles while inspiring one another to embark on their own weight loss journeys. The camaraderie within this group is reminiscent of the deep bond the LaJaunie brothers once shared during their hunting days, but now, their mission is entirely different.

Dustin, who now follows a plant-based diet and runs alongside his brother, beautifully captures the essence of the Missing Chins group. He sees it as a transformation from a gathering focused on unhealthy habits to a collective effort centered around gaining and celebrating life. This shift highlights the incredible power of unity and support when it comes to achieving remarkable health transformations.

49/83: Marie Byrne’s weight loss success story: Shedded 70 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2022
MARIE BYRNE

Meet a 42-year-old nursery manager from Gloucester, UK. She faced a challenging battle with emotional eating, which led her to a peak weight of 223 lbs. Given her 5’3″ frame, this was quite a burden to carry. The consequences were clear – her blood pressure reached dangerous levels, and her doctor issued a stark warning about the risks of heart attack or stroke. Knowing that her family had a history of strokes only added to her concerns, compelling her to take action to protect her loved ones.

Determined to turn her life around, she took control of her situation. She embarked on a rigorous journey of at-home workouts led by Jillian Michaels and practiced portion control. The result? An impressive weight loss of 70 lbs. What’s even more remarkable is that her partner’s battle with Parkinson’s disease played a pivotal role in her transformation.

As she observed her partner’s unwavering commitment to staying active despite his challenges, it sparked a fire within her. She started questioning every excuse she had for not exercising and realized that she could do better.

Today, she follows a calorie-counting approach, making sure to prioritize three balanced meals every day. Her dedication doesn’t stop there; she kicks off her mornings at 5 a.m. with Jillian Michaels’s workouts, setting a determined tone for the rest of her day.

Her valuable advice for anyone looking to succeed in their weight loss journey is simple: Stick to your workout plan, even on those tough days when motivation seems scarce. By persevering through the moments of physical fatigue, she has achieved incredible progress, showcasing the undeniable power of mental strength in reaching your fitness goals.

50/83: Brittany Greenslit’s: Shedded 109 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2022
BRITTANY GREENSLIT

Meet a 27-year-old office worker who, during her first pregnancy, found herself carrying the weight of 236 lbs. This was a result of poor eating habits and a mostly sedentary lifestyle. To make matters tougher, she faced complications from a c-section, which triggered feelings of depression. However, she decided it was time for a change.

To boost her spirits and improve her mental and physical well-being, she began with simple walks, Pilates, and yoga sessions. As she recovered, she eagerly embraced Jillian Michaels’ workout DVDs, holding onto the motivating phrase, «Unless you faint, puke or die, keep going!» Even when she felt sore, this mantra kept her pushing through the challenging workouts.

Her diet underwent significant changes. She shifted her focus towards healthier choices, prioritizing fruits, vegetables, and protein. Instead of her old go-to of cheeseburgers and French fries when dining out, she now opts for options like chicken salad.

Residing in St. Cloud, Minnesota, this mother of two maintains her fitness routine with a combination of Jillian Michaels workout DVDs and running sessions. This active lifestyle helps her stay on track and sustain her progress.

Her valuable tip for successful weight loss? She tackles challenges head-on and refuses to back down. It’s a principle that undeniably played a significant role in her transformative journey.

51/83: Alicia Steele’s: Dropped from Size 10 to 2

weight loss success story 2022
ALICIA STEELE

The experienced TV host noticed she was gaining weight during her journey through menopause. «I used to think that putting on extra pounds and becoming less active in our 50s and 60s, especially after menopause, was just something we couldn’t avoid,» Steele, who is now 59 years old, shared with PEOPLE MAGAZINE.

Her path to losing weight began when she got inspired by Teresa Tapp, the creator of the T-Tapp Method, who appeared on a PBS show that Steele was hosting. Feeling motivated, she decided to give Tapp’s workout DVDs a try. Astonishingly, Steele managed to drop four dress sizes with this program and has successfully kept the weight off for five years.

She also made significant changes to her eating habits. Steele completely revamped her diet, focusing on eating plenty of fresh, colorful foods to support her overall health.

When it comes to exercise, Steele follows a daily routine using the T-Tapp DVDs, dedicating 15 to 20 minutes each day to this fitness regimen.

Her top tip for weight loss involves a practice known as dry brushing. She finds this technique helpful for exfoliating, detoxifying, and improving circulation, which in turn enhances fascia fitness. This straightforward yet effective method has been a key contributor to her progress in her weight loss journey.

52/83: Megan McGee’s weight loss success story: Shedded 70 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2022
SLIMMING WORLD

McGee experienced weight gain while in an unhealthy relationship, which caused her to neglect both her friends and her gym routine. However, once she ended that relationship, she recognized the need for a change, especially given her profession in the health field. «Being a nurse, I wanted to set a healthy example for myself,» she shared with PEOPLE MAGAZINE. «I didn’t want to contradict the healthy lifestyle I advocated to my patients by neglecting my own health.»

Hailing from Middlesex, England, this 26-year-old nurse took control of her health by joining Slimming World.

Her eating habits have undergone a significant transformation. She moved away from skipping meals and constant snacking, now adhering to regular meal times. «I still enjoy many of my favorite dishes, but I’ve learned to prepare them in a healthier manner, using lean meats and crafting sauces from scratch.»

In terms of fitness, McGee now finds joy in group exercise classes and maintains a consistent workout schedule with a personal trainer.

Her top piece of advice for weight loss is to embrace change without fear. «There’s so much to gain and a whole life to live by welcoming positive changes.» This mindset has been a driving force in her journey towards a healthier and happier life.

53/83: Rebin Roy’s: Shedded 126 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2022

Roy opened up to PEOPLE MAGAZINE about her past habits, mentioning that she could easily down a pitcher of margaritas along with 20 buffalo wings during happy hour. Additionally, she had been a heavy smoker, puffing through one and a half to two packs of cigarettes every day for 14 years.

Her turning point came when she became pregnant with her first child in 2003. She commendably quit smoking, but she continued with unhealthy eating habits until she faced health issues after giving birth to her third child.

Recognizing the need for a change, she decided to join Weight Watchers, and the results were remarkable. She went from 248 lbs. to 122 lbs. by focusing on portion control.

Roy’s eating habits have transformed significantly. She now prefers having six smaller meals throughout the day, occasionally allowing herself a fast-food burger but only eating half of it.

In terms of fitness, she stays motivated by participating in bodybuilding competitions and maintaining her dedication to her health and well-being.

One valuable weight loss tip from Roy involves using a slow cooker for preparing healthy meals. «It’s such a time-saver,» she noted. «I’ll toss some chicken in the slow cooker in the morning, and by dinnertime, it’s ready to enjoy.» This practical approach has made her journey more manageable while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

54/83: Hannah Jenkins’s: Shedded 107 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2022
FROM LEFT: COURTESY DANA KHALAF; ARI MICHELSON

At just 22 years old, Jenkins openly admits that overeating used to be a daily habit for her. She didn’t hold back when talking to PEOPLE MAGAZINE, saying, «It was a regular thing. After school, I’d sit down with my sisters to watch TV, and we’d devour a whole package of snack cakes.» Her snacking continued even after dinner, with ramen and cheese, and more tempting snack cakes.

But her story took a turn when she entered college. Reflecting on her time in Knoxville, Tennessee, she confessed, «The turning point for me was meeting new people and realizing, ‘Wow, I’m truly uncomfortable.'»

Determined to make a change, Jenkins started her weight loss journey on New Year’s Day in 2013.

Nowadays, her eating habits have transformed. She kicks off her day with a protein-packed breakfast, often having oatmeal with fruit and peanut butter or a protein shake. Throughout the day, she sticks to lean proteins and controlled portions of carbs like sweet potatoes and rice.

Exercise is a vital part of her routine, with an hour of cardio each day and strength training three times a week.

Jenkins is enthusiastic about sharing her top weight loss tip: «I relied on the My Fitness Pal app to log my food, workouts, and track my water intake.» This practical approach was key to her success, helping her stay on track and maintain consistency on her journey.

55/83: Tanisha Washington’s weight loss success story: Shedded 103 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
FROM LEFT: COURTESY TANISHA WASHINGTON; ARI MICHELSON

A single mom from Austin, Texas faced a big weight challenge, hitting her peak at 276 lbs. when she was just 21. Weight issues had always been a part of her life.

She shared with PEOPLE MAGAZINE, «I was always known as the big girl. They even called me ‘Twinkie’ in middle school. It’s painful because I felt like my weight defined me.»

During college, she managed to lose 50 lbs, but an unexpected pregnancy in her junior year led to regaining that weight. However, after giving birth, she made a decision to focus on her health, not just for herself but for her baby too.

Nowadays, she follows the low-carb, high-protein Atkins diet, which aligns with her fitness goals.

When it comes to exercise, she concentrates on strength training, using it to shape and tone her body.

Washington eagerly shares her top weight loss tip: «When I started eating more leafy greens and protein, I noticed a boost in my energy levels throughout the day, which made the journey much easier.» This valuable insight has played a pivotal role in her successful weight loss and overall well-being.

56/83: Hollie Barrett’s: Shedded 124 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
SLIMMING WORLD

Hailing from Suffolk, England, a superstore employee found herself at her highest weight of 249 lbs. She felt that her weight was holding her back from being the active and engaged mom she wanted to be.

She told her story to PEOPLE MAGAZINE, saying, «My weight seemed like a barrier in all aspects of my life, especially when it came to keeping up with my children. I vividly remember a time when I had to chase my daughter Imogen up the stairs for bedtime, and I was so out of breath that I couldn’t even read her a bedtime story properly — it truly broke my heart.»

This experience served as a powerful wake-up call that fueled her determination to shed the excess weight. Barrett had recently seen a friend’s Facebook post about the positive results they achieved with the Slimming World weight loss program, which inspired her to give it a try.

«It was amazing to discover that I didn’t have to resort to extreme measures to lose weight,» she exclaimed.

Now, Barrett remains committed to the Slimming World food optimization plan, enjoying dishes like salmon with wild rice and BBQ pulled pork, while still allowing herself the occasional meal out.

For her exercise routine, she stays active with a combination of long walks and jogging, contributing to her overall fitness.

Barrett’s most valuable weight loss advice is to find a plan that fits your lifestyle and is sustainable. «I used to jump from one trendy diet to another, and they were all incredibly strict and hard to stick with.» She has achieved a more sustainable and successful weight loss journey by finding a balanced approach.

57/83: Sarah Goodenough’s: Shedded 158 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
FROM LEFT: COURTESY SARAH GOODENOUGH; ARI MICHELSON

Sarah Goodenough, a nurse weighing 299 lbs., faced tough times dealing with physical strain, body pains, and asthma.

In an interview with PEOPLE MAGAZINE, the 30-year-old shared, «I used to think this was how life would always be.»

Her life took a big turn when she stumbled upon a book called The China Study, which promoted the benefits of a plant-based diet. Intrigued, she decided to ditch dairy and processed meat.

In just a year, she shed most of her extra weight through these dietary changes.

Today, she sticks to a vegan diet, finding it fulfilling.

As for her fitness routine in Rochester, New York, she’s committed to running five to seven miles daily and lifting weights.

Her top tip for successful weight loss is to get creative with your meals. She says, «[Following a vegan diet] became enjoyable because I was trying out new recipes, and each dish offered a unique taste, making it both fun and exciting.» This fresh approach to food played a big role in her incredible transformation.

58/83: Nathan & Brenda Bennett’s weight loss success story: Shedded 130 & 131 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
BRENDA & NATHAN BENNETT

In 2014, Nathan (45) and Brenda Bennett (42), a married couple, were grappling with weight issues, despite their active routines. Brenda candidly told PEOPLE MAGAZINE, «We weren’t giving healthy eating the attention it deserved at home, and it was hindering our weight loss efforts.»

In response, the Bennetts took a pivotal step by cutting out sugar and processed foods from their family meals. They also adopted My Fitness Pal to meticulously monitor their calorie intake and exercise.

Today, their dietary focus revolves around clean eating and portion control, enabling them to lead healthier lives. When it comes to exercise, the couple commits to working out six days a week. Brenda even mentioned that they’ve turned their fitness routines into a friendly competition to stay motivated.

The Bennetts’ most valuable advice for weight loss? Having an accountability partner. Brenda emphasized, «Supporting each other and steering clear of those late-night convenience store runs for unhealthy snacks was crucial. We are each other’s pillars of strength.» Their partnership has been instrumental in their ongoing success.

59/83: Jessica Battle’s: Shedded 115 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
FROM LEFT: COURTESY JESSICA BATTLE;

Growing up in Delaware, Jessica Battle’s weight reached 280 lbs. by the time she turned 20. However, it wasn’t until her father had heart surgery when she was 25 that she truly decided to take charge of her health.

«Discovering the health issues in my family was a real wake-up call,» Battle, who is now 30, confided in her conversation with PEOPLE MAGAZINE. «I realized that even a simple workout in my living room was better than doing nothing, so I picked up some workout DVDs from my local store.»

She also started keeping an eye on portion sizes, and to stay on track, Battle created an Instagram account, @join_jessica_xo.

As for her diet today, Battle’s focus is primarily on vegetables, fruits, and protein. She diligently tracks her daily intake of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

When it comes to her exercise routine, Battle relies on weight training workout DVDs that she can do from the comfort of her home.

Her most valuable piece of advice for weight loss is to make gradual changes. «Instead of devouring a whole frozen pizza, I began with just a single slice. I quickly realized that diving into a strict diet of only vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins wouldn’t be sustainable right away.» This gradual approach has proven to be more effective for her long-term progress.

60/83: Karyl Mullins’s: Shedded 100 Lbs.

Weight loss success stories
COURTESY KARYL MULLINS; ARI MICHELSON

Mullins, a 38-year-old dog groomer, found herself gaining a hefty 100 pounds after returning to her hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. The undeniable draw of Southern cooking at family gatherings proved too hard to resist.

At the age of 34, her world took a serious turn when she received a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. It wasn’t just about her anymore; her family’s well-being was on her mind.

«I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my family behind,» Mullins confided in PEOPLE MAGAZINE. So, she made a firm decision to turn things around and joined Weight Watchers to take charge of her health.

Her eating habits went through a remarkable transformation, with smaller portions becoming the new norm to fit within the Weight Watchers guidelines.

In the realm of exercise, Mullins now dedicates herself to kickboxing classes, showcasing her unwavering commitment to an active lifestyle. Remarkably, she even conquered a marathon, a testament to her unyielding determination.

Mullins has a simple yet powerful piece of advice for those on a weight loss journey: «I always carry collapsible measuring cups in my purse; it helps me stay on track.» This practical approach has played a pivotal role in her weight management journey.

61/83: Gillian Faith’s weight loss success story: Shedded 110 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2020
COURTESY GILLIAN FAITH; ARI MICHELSON

Faith is a 41-year-old stay-at-home mom hailing from British Columbia. She’s candid about how she lost interest in her body after becoming a mom at 21. By the time her second child arrived, Faith weighed in at 220 lbs., openly admitting her struggles with food addiction.

Her life took a significant turn following her third pregnancy and subsequent divorce. It became clear to Faith that she needed to regain control over her weight. However, her journey wasn’t without challenges, leading her into the dangerous territory of anorexia and bulimia. Thankfully, in 2013, she stumbled upon bodybuilding, a pivotal moment that changed her life for the better.

According to Faith, «Bodybuilding served as a way for me to confront my fears,» as she shared with PEOPLE MAGAZINE. Through this pursuit, she managed to break free from the chains of her past struggles.

When it comes to her diet, Faith has made a conscious choice to stay away from anything that comes «in a can or box.» She’s also opted for a more natural and wholesome approach by cutting out gluten, dairy, and soy.

Faith’s dedication to exercise is truly commendable. She sticks to a consistent workout routine, putting in an hour of exercise six days a week – a key element in her journey.

Her weight loss tip is as practical as it is unique: «Don’t limit yourself to just one direction on the treadmill! I incorporate running backward and side shuffles on an incline. This approach does wonders for my hamstrings and glutes.» Her innovative approach reflects her determination to keep her fitness routine both engaging and effective.

62/83: Rebecca Grafton’s: Shedded 104 Lbs.

weight loss success story
@mygirlishwhims

Meet a 25-year-old insurance saleswoman whose weight hit 246 lbs. thanks to a penchant for pastries during a semester in France. Even after college, her love for baked goods persisted. The turning point? A trip to Jamaica in January 2013, pushing her to shed the extra pounds and feel confident in a swimsuit.

«I wasted no time,» she told PEOPLE MAGAZINE. «I tapped into the My Fitness Pal app on my phone, setting my weight loss goals and pace. It gave me a calorie target, and I stuck to it diligently. Essentially, I had to relearn cooking.»

Her eating habits have since transformed. She focuses on getting enough protein while keeping carbs in check and treats herself to wine on weekends.

Exercise is now a daily staple in her life, a blend of cardio and weight training. Her workout companion of choice? The trusty StairMaster, a key player in her journey.

Sharing her precious weight loss advice, she underscores the importance of unwavering commitment: «Don’t even entertain the thought of giving up. If weekends are your weak point, commit to a Monday morning workout to kickstart your week.» This sage counsel highlights her unwavering determination in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

63/83: Mackenzie Walker’s: Shedded 102 Lbs.

Alex Perrineau

COURTESY MACKENZIE WALKER; ARI MICHELSON

This is the story of a 16-year-old from Windsor, Ontario, who had a tricky relationship with food. She used to start her day with pizza and chugged down a whopping 15 cans of soda daily, causing her weight to peak at 223 lbs. But things took a turn when her dad had gastric bypass surgery. It inspired her to reshape her eating habits to match his smaller meals.

Instagram played a big role in her weight loss journey. She stumbled upon some crucial tips, realizing she needed more protein and that lifting weights was key for building muscle. So, she started her own self-published memoir and now offers online weight-loss coaching to others who want to transform their lives.

Nowadays, she carefully keeps tabs on her protein, fat, and carb intake. Surprisingly, she still enjoys diet soda as it helps her control her cravings.

Strength training is a big part of her fitness routine to stay in shape and keep her muscles toned.

Her best advice for losing weight is simple but effective: «Don’t be afraid to ask for help.» She gained valuable insights just by talking to fellow gym-goers and engaging with people on social media. This shows how important it is to learn from others on the same journey and share knowledge for success.

64/83: Jana Roller’s weight loss success story: Shedded 135 Lbs.

JANA ROLLER
JANA ROLLER/INSTAGRAM; RAMIREZ CREATIVE

Meet a 29-year-old professional photographer who, at her heaviest, tipped the scales at 307 lbs. But a life-altering moment propelled her into a weight loss journey.

She recounted her turning point, saying, «I was at the park with my son,» as she shared with PEOPLE MAGAZINE. «He darted away from me, nearly running into a car because I couldn’t catch him. That shook me to my core. I realized, ‘This needs to change, right now.'»

Fueled by this incident, Roller ventured into bodybuilding, dedicating two years of relentless effort to prepare for her very first competition. Her regimen included early 5 a.m. workouts and unwavering commitment to a meticulously crafted meal plan.

Looking back on her progress, she remarked, «When I examine my competition photos, I can see the strides I’ve made while also pinpointing areas for improvement as I chase my competition goals.» Roller highlighted the remarkable aspect of bodybuilding, where individuals have the opportunity to mold and shape themselves, turning into the people they’ve always envisioned.

This transformative tale underscores the importance of seizing crucial moments for positive change and the profound impact that bodybuilding can have on physical health, self-empowerment, and personal fulfillment.

65/83: Jeanine McDonald’s: Shedded 77 Lbs.

Jeanine McDonald

The mom-of-four, 39, fell into unhealthy eating habits after having kids.

«I used to cook the same meals for my boys,» Jeanine told PEOPLE MAGAZINE. «But with a full-time job and four kids, I couldn’t focus on healthy cooking.»

One day, one of her sons remarked, «Mom, you look really fat.» It hit her hard, and she decided it was time for a change.

On babysitter nights, she hits the gym, and on other evenings, she works out at home after putting her kids to bed.

«When I started going to the gym, I made a promise to myself,» she said. «If I’m not healthy and happy, my kids won’t be either.»

This story reflects the challenges many busy parents face in staying healthy but shows that realizing the importance of personal well-being can drive positive change. It reminds us that balancing life’s demands and prioritizing health is crucial, even with a hectic schedule.

66/83: Tim Kaufman’s: Shedded 200 Lbs.

weight loss success story 2021
RUNNER’S WORLD

Tim Kaufman’s life took a remarkable turn when he embraced a vegan diet and started running. It wasn’t just a change; it was life-changing. He battled obesity, tipping the scales at over 400 lbs. But with unwavering determination, he shed a staggering 200 lbs.

Now, he’s not just lighter on the scale; he’s also part of a close-knit community he lovingly calls the «Missing Chins Run Club.» This group, tucked away on Facebook, is a special place. Here, members share their weight loss journeys, talk about their hurdles, and lift each other up with unwavering support.

Kaufman couldn’t hide his excitement, saying, «Seeing new faces join our group warms my heart. It reminds us all of the struggles we’ve conquered and the progress we’ve achieved together.»

67/83: Alex Perrineau’s: Shedded 142 Lbs.

Alex Perrineau 2020
COURTESY GILLIAN FAITH; ARI MICHELSON

A 22-year-old student in Los Angeles once faced her heaviest weight at 310 lbs. She battled emotional eating, often turning to fast food, and endured teasing in school due to her weight.

«I knew I couldn’t keep living like this,» she confided to PEOPLE MAGAZINE. This realization spurred her to take a significant step – she decided to give Jenny Craig a try, seeking a transformation that would last.

Today, her daily meals are centered around Jenny Craig, providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with healthy snacks in between to keep things in balance. Her fitness routine comprises six weekly workouts, with a focus on running for cardio.

One valuable lesson from her journey is, «Don’t commit to something that feels like a burden.» She values Jenny Craig because it eliminates meal planning worries, emphasizing the importance of finding what truly works for you.

Perrineau’s experience highlights the need to find a sustainable approach that suits individual preferences and requirements, ensuring a successful and lasting weight loss journey.

68/83: Erika Cockrell’s: Shedded 167 Lbs.

Erika Cockrell 2020
DENNIS COCKRELL; RANDI BEREZ

At 30 years old, Cockrell grappled with weight issues that had plagued her since high school. She turned to food as a way to cope with emotional turmoil stemming from her parents’ divorce and problems in her own marriage.

Her weight reached 309 lbs., prompting a resolute decision to change her life. She embraced a practical approach, using My Fitness Pal to meticulously track her food intake.

«I firmly believe in finding what works for you,» Cockrell told PEOPLE MAGAZINE during the 2017 Half Their Size feature. «For me, it came down to the simple idea of calories in versus calories out. It’s that ‘aha’ moment when you realize, ‘I can do this.'»

Cockrell’s journey highlights the importance of finding an approach that suits your unique situation, a realization that can be genuinely transformative. By recognizing what worked best for her, she harnessed the power of tracking and accountability, leading to significant progress on her path to healthier living.

69/83: Joanne Raymond’s weight loss success story: Shedded 133 Lbs.

COURTESY JOANNE 2020
JOANNE RAYMOND; RANDI BEREZ

Meet Raymond, who’s 49 years old. She faced a big challenge – losing 100 lbs. – twice! But then she made a strong decision to keep that weight off for good.

Raymond works as a real estate agent in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She realized that her on-and-off weight struggles were affecting her self-esteem and health. In 2013, things got worse – she started feeling sick often, had constant headaches, trouble sleeping, and painful knees. Her doctor said it was all because of her weight.

At her heaviest, Raymond weighed 249 lbs. That’s when she decided to change her eating habits completely. She ditched regular pasta for healthy spiralized zucchini squash and swapped greasy Chinese takeout for homemade meals like chicken and broccoli.

Now, as she approaches 50 this May, Raymond proudly told PEOPLE MAGAZINE in their 2017 Half Their Size feature that she’s in the best shape of her adult life. Raymond’s story shows how sticking to healthy choices can transform your life, proving that it’s never too late to make a real change.

70/83: Christina Jordan’s: Shedded 134 Lbs.

COURTESY CHRISTINA 2020
CHRISTINA JORDAN; RANDI BEREZ

When Jordan turned 34, something significant happened. She got asked to leave a Disneyland ride because she couldn’t securely fasten the seatbelt.

«I decided to dig deep into holistic nutrition,» said the mother of three. «I made a choice to stop obsessing over being thin and started focusing on my overall well-being, going wherever my body naturally took me.»

At her heaviest, Jordan weighed 271 lbs. She started a routine of eating five to six balanced meals every day. Each meal included lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats.

«I realized that by becoming the best version of myself, I could be the best mom and partner,» she said. Her journey toward self-improvement and health underlines the importance of putting health ahead of looks. It shows that being true to yourself and finding balance are the most fulfilling achievements.

71/83: Diana Anguh’s: Shedded 140 Lbs.

DIANA ANGUH 2021
COURTESY DIANA ANGUH; RANDI BEREZ

Anguh had her fair share of struggles due to her love for fast food, which eventually led her to reach a whopping 275 lbs. during her high school years.

In a candid interview with PEOPLE MAGAZINE back in 2017, the now 24-year-old executive chef revealed, «I used to have a secret rendezvous with an entire pizza box, wolfing it down under my bed, hoping no one would discover my guilty pleasure.»

But then, something clicked. Anguh found herself dateless for her prom, and that was the turning point. She decided to take matters into her own hands, quite literally, by hitting the gym every single day. She also made a pivotal choice to start cooking her meals, breaking free from the never-ending cycle of fast-food indulgence.

All that hard work paid off. After 16 months of unwavering dedication, she reached her goal weight of 135 lbs.

In her own words, she said, «My life has undergone a remarkable transformation — I now carry a newfound confidence as I chase my dreams.» This transformation, born out of sheer determination and a quest for self-improvement, vividly illustrates the profound impact that healthier choices can have on one’s overall well-being.

72/83: Lindita Halimi’s weight loss success story: Shedded 130 Lbs.

LINDITA HALIMI 2023
LINDITA HALIMI; RANDI BEREZ

Halimi, who is now 27, grew up in war-torn Kosovo. Life was tough, and she often didn’t know where her next meal would come from. When the war finally ended, she found solace in food, devouring whole pizzas and entire jars of Nutella.

Between 17 and 20, her weight reached 250 lbs., making her an easy target for bullies. Classmates taunted her, cruelly calling her an elephant. But one day, on a bus, a stranger mistook her for a pregnant woman. It was a painful wake-up call that spurred Halimi to realize she needed to shed those extra pounds.

In her quest for better health, the former American Idol contestant turned to Google to find weight loss tips. She also stumbled upon helpful cooking tutorials on YouTube, showing her how to prepare nutritious meals. This journey, born from adversity and the pursuit of a healthier life, underscores the incredible power of determination and the wealth of information available in our digital age.

73/83: Ashley O’Reilly’s: Shedded 135 Lbs.

RANDI BEREZ 2022
RANDI BEREZ

O’Reilly’s weight gain began at 16 when she got her driver’s license, leading to frequent visits to fast food joints and a two-year journey that saw her weight soar to 250 lbs.

A turning point came during her sophomore year in college when a friend refused to sit beside her in class. That’s when O’Reilly realized it was time for a change. She decided to give Nutrisystem a shot, combining it with regular exercise, and the result was astonishing – she shed an impressive 135 lbs.

In the latest issue of Half Their Size, the nursing student shared, «I’m much healthier now, but the biggest change is how confident I feel. I’ve gained a level of self-assurance I’ve never had before.» This transformation, driven by self-care and a desire for better well-being, underscores the remarkable impact of positive lifestyle changes.

74/83: Adrienne Osuna’s: Shedded 2 Lbs. (and Gained Muscle!)

ADRIENNE OSUNA 2023
ADRIENNE OSUNA/INSTAGRAM

Osuna’s experience stands as a testament to the idea that physical transformations don’t always hinge on the number we see on the scale.

In a conversation with PEOPLE MAGAZINE, the Santa Maria, California photographer emphasized, «Women should judge how they feel and how they look. Breaking free from the scale can be incredibly empowering!»

Previously at 182 lbs. and currently maintaining 180 lbs., Osuna’s routine centers on weightlifting, which she does four times a week, and two days of cardio workouts. She also practices intermittent fasting, which involves not eating between 7 p.m. and 11 a.m. for six days a week, except for a morning coffee with cream.

She explained, «I eventually decided to shift my focus from my weight to what my body can do. This change in mindset has been crucial in my journey to better health.»

75/83: Michael Lachowicz’s weight loss success story: Shedded 194 Lbs.

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REBECCA KUSSMANN; ROBIN SUBAR PHOTOGRAPHY

The experienced chef faced a hefty 432 lbs. on the scale, a result of unhealthy habits that all came together.

In a candid interview with PEOPLE MAGAZINE for their 2017 Half Their Size feature, Lachowicz, now 46, openly confessed, «My struggle involved food, alcohol, and drugs. It was all intertwined. Drugs and alcohol lowered my inhibitions, leading to excessive eating.»

Taking a significant step towards rehabilitation and achieving sobriety played a vital role in his journey to shed pounds. Today, Lachowicz sticks to a workout routine spanning six days a week and maintains a daily caloric intake between 1,800 and 1,900 calories.

76/83: Justin Lacy’s: Shedded 290 Lbs.

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RUNNER’S WORLD

Justin Lacy, a 32-year-old resident of Dexter, Missouri, had a life-altering wake-up call when his mother suffered a stroke three years ago. It hit him hard, weighing over 500 lbs., that he had been too self-absorbed. He realized that his family might someday gather around his hospital bed in tears if he didn’t make a change.

So, Justin set out on a journey of transformation. He switched to a plant-based diet and embraced cycling and running, gradually shedding a whopping 290 lbs. But it wasn’t just about shedding the pounds; he found support and camaraderie in the «Missing Chins Run Club,» a private Facebook group where people shared their own weight loss stories and challenges, creating a sense of belonging.

Today, Justin is focused on preparing for marathons, pouring his determination into dedicated training sessions. His incredible transformation serves as a reminder of the power of personal change and the importance of family and community.

77/83: Kim Carter Martinez’s: Shedded 170 Lbs.

KIM CARTER MARTINEZ 2023
KIM CARTER MARTINEZ/INSTAGRAM

Carter Martinez, a 41-year-old labor union employee from Oakland, California, faced a tough challenge when she hit her heaviest weight of 344 lbs. Her weight and ongoing battle with arthritis made it hard for her to move freely. She needed to lose 50 lbs to become eligible for knee replacement surgery to alleviate her arthritis-related discomfort.

Carter started her journey with what she called «small adjustments.» She began by skipping Starbucks and cooking more of her meals at home. Over time, she transitioned to a paleo diet and went from following Richard Simmons workout videos in her garage to hitting the gym daily.

Looking back on her transformation, she told PEOPLE MAGAZINE, «Life used to be quite challenging. I had to turn down social invitations many times due to my limited mobility. But now, I can actively choose what I want to do and actually participate in those activities.»

Carter Martinez’s journey shows the incredible impact of gradual changes and unwavering determination, highlighting the newfound freedom and choices she now enjoys.

78/83: Jennifer Ginley’s weight loss success story: Shedded 135 Lbs.

Jennifer Ginley 2023

When Ginley turned 26, she couldn’t help but feel self-conscious about her weight. It made her hesitant when her boyfriend proposed, fearing she’d be an overweight bride.

In May 2015, Ginley, her mother, and her sister decided to join the U.K. weight loss program called Slimming World (which is now available in the U.S. too). She took a simple approach by preparing healthy meals ahead of time. Through her consistent efforts, she went from 270 lbs. to 135 lbs.

Looking back on her journey, she happily shared with PEOPLE MAGAZINE, «A little more than a year after joining, I achieved my target weight. And then, just before Christmas, my boyfriend Luke proposed to me at Harry Potter Studios in London (I’m a big Harry Potter fan)!» The joy of saying ‘Yes!’ without any worry about her weight filled her with wonder. She’s now excited about shopping for her wedding dress.

Ginley’s story shows the incredible power of determination and a supportive community. It reminds us of how it can make a profound difference in facing life’s big moments with confidence and enthusiasm.

79/83: Alexa Saddington’s: Shedded 85 Lbs.

ALEXA SADDINGTON 2022
ALEXA SADDINGTON

At 34 years old, Saddington accomplished her weight loss through the Cambridge Weight Plan. This program pairs you with a consultant who creates personalized meal plans featuring convenient, healthy dishes.

Speaking to PEOPLE MAGAZINE about her journey, Saddington shared, «My life has completely changed.» She replaced alcoholic cider, chips, sweets, and takeout with nutritious alternatives along the way.

Saddington, who works as an administrative assistant in the U.K., initially weighed 242 lbs., her heaviest ever. Besides altering her diet, she also added three weekly workout sessions. By the end of 2015, she successfully shed 85 lbs.

Reflecting on her transformation, she said, «I feel like a completely different person.» Previously, the thought of visiting Ibiza felt out of reach due to low self-confidence and a sense of not fitting in. However, she’s now booked a week-long trip to Ibiza with her sister, marking a significant milestone in her weight loss journey.

Saddington’s story underscores the profound impact of determined choices and renewed self-esteem, opening doors to new experiences with enthusiasm and confidence.

80/83: Emily Powers’s: Shedded 120 Lbs.

LOSE IT 2020
LOSE IT!

Powers, 24, was inspired to get healthy for her three children.

«My kids deserved better,» said the daycare worker as she talked to PEOPLE MAGAZINE, reminiscing about the time when she weighed 273 lbs. She recalled how difficult it was to take them for a walk and how she often found herself sitting on a bench at the park, just watching instead of playing with them.

To turn things around, Powers started using the Lose It! app. It helped her keep an eye on what she ate and stick to her goals. She changed her diet to include more lean meats and vegetables and committed to working out three times a week.

Powers was happy to see that her kids now got positive responses from her more often. Before, her weight held her back from joining in on active park outings and playing with her children the way she wanted to. But now, those limitations were gone, and she could fully engage in those precious moments.

Powers’ story shows how taking control of your health can have a big impact. It gave her the freedom to be an active parent and enjoy daily life to the fullest.

81/83: Peggy Pullen’s weight loss success story: Shedded 80 Lbs.

PEGGY PULLEN 2020
PEGGY PULLEN

At 48 years old, Pullen’s weight gain started due to health issues after her first pregnancy. But a significant turning point came when a young boy at a local pool called her a hippopotamus in front of her family. This hurtful incident ignited a strong determination to begin a weight loss journey.

She shared the experience with PEOPLE MAGAZINE, saying, «It happened right in front of my kids. It was really tough. I cried a lot when I got home. But it made me realize that kids learn from your actions more than your words. That’s what kept me going.»

Inspired by the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pullen decided to take up bodybuilding as her path to transformation. She explained, «I started immersing myself in his motivational speeches and following his workout routines. It turned out to be incredibly helpful, especially when I felt overwhelmed and doubted myself.»

Today, Pullen dedicates herself to working out six days a week, and she says, «Approaching 49 this year, I genuinely feel that I look much younger. It’s like discovering the secret to staying youthful!»

Pullen’s story is a powerful reminder of how determination and the hottest role models can have a significant impact on one’s journey to a healthier and more fulfilling life, showing that positive change is possible even in the face of challenges.

82/83: Katie Hug’s: Shedded 130 Lbs.

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KATIE HUG; JOE JASZEWSKI

In 2012, Hug reached her highest weight of 270 lbs. It was a wake-up call when her doctor classified her as morbidly obese, realizing her health was in serious jeopardy.

To make positive changes, Hug, who is now 34, began monitoring her food intake, paying close attention to sugar, fat, and carbs. But the most significant transformation in her life came when she discovered her love for fitness.

Looking back, she told PEOPLE MAGAZINE, «When I was heavier, exercise didn’t bring me any joy; it felt like a chore.»

Today, her routine includes cardio workouts five days a week and strength training for two to three days. She even became a certified personal trainer, sharing her fitness knowledge by teaching exercise classes.

Describing her new outlook, she said, «Exercise introduced me to the benefits of serotonin and dopamine, something I didn’t experience before. I used it as a way to manage stress, anxiety, and depression. This change was truly profound.»

Hug’s story highlights the incredible power of finding joy in physical activity. It demonstrates how this journey can evolve into a tool for handling emotional challenges and ultimately leading to a healthier, more fulfilling life.

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