This is a compilation of great and inspirational weight loss stories from people of all works of life. To put this together I’ve been doing a lot of outreach to different people, as well as put this query out on the journalism sites I belong to:
For people who have lost a significant amount of weight and made great progress on their fitness goals, we’d like to hear your story – what worked for you and what was your journey?
The goal here isn’t to just list generic weight loss advice (there’s looooooooads of that already on the internet), but rather to inspire others by showing how weight loss is possible for anyone.
Currently we’ve got just 5 really great stories (listed below), so if you’ve got your own weight loss story to share, please submit it here. 🙂
During all my life I have been slim and most of the time I enjoyed sports, walking around and doing plenty of physical activities like doing karate and handball. Last year (I am 34 years old now), I stopped doing all physical activities and quite going to the gym, so I steadily started to gain weight, from 64 kg (141 lbs) to 74 kg (163 lbs) in a short amount of time. I have always enjoyed eating sweets and chocolate but never paid attention to nutrition. During all my life, I had always eaten what I wanted and never cared too much about it. However, at the end of 2020 some of my workmates started noticing I was gaining weight and told me. I also started to feel it: I felt tired almost everyday, I felt sad about my body looking worse at worse everyday, so I made a New Year resolution of losing weight. I never really believed on New Year resolutions, but I consider myself a person who can face difficult challenges when needed.
In order to lose weight I realized that I had to learn new concepts like nutrition and gym routines. I started to do some research mostly using YouTube videos where professional trainers and nutritionists share their advice. I soon learned that the key concepts that I should consider were eating healthier, tracking the amount of calories I ate everyday and setting a daily physical activities routine. I did some more research about how to eat healthier and started using Yuka app, which allows you to scan barcodes of products and get a nutritional score for that product. I spent some days scanning most of the products on my local supermarkets in order to find the most healthy food for my newly created plan. Also, I watched YouTube videos about my local supermarkets where advise were given on the most healthy products on each category (like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exgO-VBzSaM). I also installed and used everyday Yazio app for tracking the calories on every meal I ate from January first.
Regarding activities, I set myself the goal of walking for at least 10,000 steps everyday. I tracked this using iPhone's Health app, which worked perfectly. So everyday after lunch, I went for my daily walking alone while my workmates enjoyed a coffee together and some talking. This was a hard task for me as of course I enjoyed spending time relaxing with them, but sticking to this soft exercise routine was necessary for achieving the goal..
Every morning as I woke up I tracked my weight, again using iPhone's Health app connected with Xiaomi's Mi Composition Scale 2 balance. This helped my to motivate, as I could see progress almost every single day. As during the first 2 weeks I saw that I was losing weight slowly but steadily, it motivated me a lot. During each month, I lost 4 or 5 kg (about 10 lbs) which gave me big confidence on the method I was following. In the end it was easier than expected, because it wasn't about spending a lot of time on doing exercise or lifting heavy weights. It was just a matter of doing things on a different way and learning little bit about nutrition, which was key. After 4 months, I went from 74 kg to 59kg and felt that all my energy was back again! The sense of achievement was huge for me and I cannot be happier now!
--Antonio Tajuelo, AntonioTajuelo.com
At my heaviest, I weighed 304 pounds. Now I weigh 130 pounds. I lost the weight naturally (no surgery, pills, disordered eating, or anything along those lines) and have kept the weight off for 8 years and counting. I have written a book, /Start Where You Are Weight Loss, /that details in easy-to-understand steps the process I went through to lose the weight and maintain that loss.
I had been overweight since about six years old and had spent over two decades jumping from one diet to another to another. I could never keep the weight off for long, though, and within a year or less I’d have gained back all the weight and then some. At many times, I was so desperate to be thin that I was willing to give up just about anything and to try just about everything, no matter the cost to my physical and mental health. Because, to me, being skinny equaled being loved, equaled acceptance, equaled belonging, equaled worthiness.
But still, I couldn’t lose weight and keep it off. Then finally, in exasperation, I wrote in my journal: /If it’s not about the food, then what is it?/ That’s when I started exploring the reasons why I was eating and started learning what I needed to do to help heal myself. The answer to that question became a book I wrote called, /Start Where You Are Weight Loss/.
I decided to trust myself and my body implicitly. Now I eat whatever my body is craving without judgment. I want a donut, I eat a donut. I want bread or pasta or cake or whatever, I simply eat it. I don’t count calories. I don’t have a list of “bad” foods. I just eat when I’m hungry, whatever it is my body is calling for, and stop when I’m full. I kicked guilt about eating to the curb. When I screw up (because sometimes I still do), I simply wait until I’m hungry again. No worries and no beating myself up. Ever.
I started down this path because I needed to get myself out of the crazy-making behavior I was having around food. I needed no restrictions, no weighing and measuring food, no off-limit foods, no more judging my self-worth based on the scale, no more rules that were only fueling my constant-thinking about and obsession with food. I knew I needed that to heal myself, so that’s what I did.
I’ve been eating the same way for the past ten years. My weight fluctuates within about twelve pounds and that’s okay with me. I’ve got no hard and set-in-stone number that I have to maintain. Food is no longer my focus, and that’s what’s healed me. I’m no longer afraid of food. I’m no longer terrified of gaining the weight back and then some. I no longer live in fear that I won’t know what to do if I gain a few pounds. I just listen to my body again, make sure I’m waiting until I’m hungry and stopping when I’m full and the weight comes back off. I take the pressure off so I can enjoy my life.
I know a lot of people believe that maintaining a weight loss is hard and a battle. I happen to believe it’s as difficult or as easy as you want to make it. If I’ve learned anything through this whole process, it’s that you live out what you believe. If you believe that keeping the weight off is going to be a struggle, then that’s the experience you'll have. If you believe it’s next to impossible, then it will be for you. But if you choose to believe instead that maintaining a weight loss, no matter how big or small the loss, is not all that difficult, that it’s just the way you live now, well, that’s the experience you will have in your life. All you have to do to change your experience and your life is to change your mind.
--Shelli Johnson, Start Where You Are Weight Loss
I've lost around 17 kilos (37 pounds) and kept it away for + 9 years and going strong!
Suddenly I woke up to the fact that I had gained a significant amount of weight. I mean, I really didn't see it happening (even though I had to buy new, bigger clothes). When the reality hit me, it hit hard. I saw pictures of myself and was shocked: Is THAT me? REALLY?
Then came the shame and self-hatred. Even bigger clothes to hide myself in. I didn't want to eat anything but couldn't let go of bakery products I loved. It took months to get to the point where I decided to actually DO something about it.
First, I started to exercise at home with free Youtube-videos. Then I joined some coaching programs and tried running. Nex in line was to venture into the gym, and buy a personal trainer service.
Yes, all these had their ups and downs, and exercise really made me feel good. I lost some weight but I still struggled with eating sweets, and somehow the whole 'project' felt like... a project, I was doing because I had to, for some reason, not because I really wanted to.
The thing that REALLY changed it for me, was all about the inner game. With professional help, I had a huge revelation about the life I wanted to be living; How I would describe the life, and myself, in my ideal life, if everything was possible.
First, when I thought of this, I hesitated. Could I list something like this... when I'm currently overweight and hate myself? The professional I was discussing with encouraged me to go on.
Then I burst: If I could do anything, I would be living an active life. I would exercise multiple times a week because it gives me energy. I would be in a healthy weight range and have a positive attitude towards myself and in life in general. I would be more outgoing and would feel strong in new situations. I would try new things with excitement and gain enriching experiences. Most of all, I would describe myself as an active person. I wouldn't feel like a bystander anymore when everyone else is doing the stuff I really want to be doing and experiencing.
The professional asked me: Now, why don't you go and just do all that?
My thoughts: What? Did she really had the nerve to suggest something like that, when I look like.. this??
She must've seen the look on my face because she wouldn't let me protest. She repeated: Why don't you? Sounds pretty simple to me.
I was unarmed. I had nothing to say but excuses which I, at this point, knew to be just that. Excuses.
After that conversation, EVERYTHING changed. It was not about weightloss-project anymore. It was about living the life I wanted to be living. It was about allowing myself to live life and become the person I wanted to be. It was about changing my inner-dialogue, and how I saw myself. I started to identify myself with that active person I wanted to be, and everything started to feel easier and more natural.
Now, after over 9 years, I've kept the weight away, and identify myself as an active person living a healthy life. Of course, I still eat sweets and make those bad food choices - but overall my good and bad choices are well and intentionally balanced. I've not given up on anything but by doing the inner work, gained everything I wanted.
So my advice; Don't focus on the external reason you may have to lose weight; peer-pressure, the 'correct' size to go for, etc. Instead, focus on your inner reasons and drivers. Your personal why.
--Marika Jumppanen, Sisu & Serenity
I had been overweight and obese my entire life. At the end of 2017, I was in a bad place in life. I weighed 428 pounds, was in an emotionally and financially abusive marriage, had PCOS, prediabetes, stomach ulcers, and obstructive sleep apnea. I started eating better and exercising more. I learned how to manage my stress without food. I started sleeping better. I eventually left my husband and moved. In June of 2018, I had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy and it changed my life. I started dropping weight more consistently, eventually losing over 235 pounds. I have been maintaining my weight loss for nearly two years now, by eating high protein, low carb and exercising regularly.
My life is incredible now. I run 5ks and obstacle races. I can do so many more things than I ever imagined. Clothing fits me well, and shopping is fun for the first time in my life. What really worked for me was working on the mental issues that caused my obesity. It was facing the issues that made me feel like I wasn't good enough and overcoming the mental blocks. Bariatric surgery was the catalyst that started my life transformation. I'm now divorced, weigh 193 pounds, am so much more active, but best of all, I'm happy. You glow differently when you are truly happy, and I'm living proof of it. All of my obesity-related health conditions have been put in remission all because I started to take care of myself and put myself first.
--Nicole Bicksler, Stop Weighting, Start Doing
I had battled obesity my entire life--I was always the big girl. So, when someone told me that it was, “such a shame about your weight because you have such a pretty face,” it felt like a torpedo blasting into a heart that was already devastated and broken. I had weighed over 391 pounds for nearly 15 years when I decided to have weight loss surgery in 2002. I had the surgery and I lost 243 pounds in 14 months. I’ve maintained that loss for 18 years now.
I eat healthy and I workout and that has certainly contributed to the maintenance of my monumental weight loss. I tried hundreds of diets and workouts plans and failed every single time…until the time I didn’t. That’s the secret: keep trying. I didn’t know what, if anything, would finally work for me to lose 243 pounds, but I was intent on figuring it out. I actually died having the surgery and was on life support for almost a week. I was determined to fight for my life and make it all I had dreamed it could be. As it turned out, weight loss wasn’t the entire answer to making that happen.
The most significant thing I did, was work through and heal from the trauma that caused me to use food as comfort in the first place. You see, being thin doesn’t mean you’re healthy. We are all like houses. Even if you renovate the outside, if you’re existing on a shaky foundation, your house isn’t going to be stable and secure. Your house may have curb appeal, but if the contents are broken and falling to pieces, there will always be ongoing issues and things to repair. Losing weight was a crucial step to finding my peace and happiness. Every bit as important, was losing the weight that was drowning my soul.
--Kelley Gunter, kelleygunter.com
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