Weight Loss Success Stories: Caroline’s Challenge
Growing up, Caroline was always on the chubbier side. “My father encouraged me to clean my plate every night, so I got in the habit of eating even if I was stuffed,” she says. Her diet got even worse the summer before she started high school, when two of her cousins died in a car accident. “I turned to food forcomfort,” she says. “I was so angry after their deaths, I’d lock myself in my room and devour chocolate cupcakes.” By the time she turned 15, Caroline had reached 273 pounds.
Diet Tip: Start a Mission
When Caroline left home to go to college, she immediately noticed differences between herself and her new classmates. “I’d attended a performing arts high school where most students dressed eccentrically and the focus wasn’t on how you looked. All of a sudden, I was surrounded by girls who dressed up in cute outfits every day,” she says. “I realized I was missing out on all the fun because of how I felt about myself. I wanted to show off my body too, so I set out on a mission to change myself for the better.”
Diet Tip: Steer Clear of Temptation
Fortunately, Caroline found healthy food options in the cafeteria. “Cheese and dessert are my weaknesses, so I steered clear of those foods in the dining hall,” she says. “Instead, I headed to the grilling station and salad bar and loaded my plate with fresh veggies and chicken.” She also went for daily walks around her hilly campus. The pounds melted away fast— Caroline lost 30 in a few months—so she consulted a trainer to keep the pace going. “I fell in love with the feel-good high exercise gave me,” she says. “And once I realized it took me at least an hour to burn 500 calories, I became a lot pickier about what I ate.” Caroline stuck to her no- frills diet, strength-trained every other day, and walked or did the elliptical for 45 minutes each morning. Within 18 months, she’d dropped 123 pounds.
Diet Tip: Find a Cheering Section
Caroline found a big cheerleader in her mom. “She paid for my gym membership,” she says. “And if my weight started to creep up or I was feeling down, she’d encourage me.” Caroline also got a lift every time she got dressed. “I began to wear flirty, fitted dresses,” she says. “I’d look in the mirror and get a thrill from seeing my reflection.”
Gina’s Stick-With-It Secrets
1. Look sexy while you sweat “I find flattering and affordable exercise clothes at discount shops, like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. Wearing something I feel good in—rather than an old college tee—inspires me to go to the gym.”
2. Think beyond the scale “It can be so frustrating if you work out and eat well all week but don’t lose a pound. I judge my success by how my clothes fit and the compliments I get—not just by one number.”
3. Plan to eat protein “If I’m going to be around a lot of food at a family gathering, I eat a small piece of grilled chicken before I go so I won’t overdo it on my dad’s curry chicken, potatoes, and rice.”