“When I was really heavy, I felt like people were staring at me,” Tallena Johnson admitted. She was full of shame when she thought about her weight: “I’d walk with my head down and avoid eye contact.”
Tallena Johnson – Lost 113 Pounds
When she was 19, Tallena watched in horror how her mother had a heart attack when she was only at the age of 41. Enough was enough, and Tallena joined the gym. Although at first she could barely do five or 10 minutes even walking, she steadily added 60 more seconds every time she got on the treadmill. Now, she says people still look at her, albeit differently: “Now, I feel like I am turning heads- in a good way!”
Obesity has plagued Mary Maxwell’s whole family. When she was just two years old, her mother sadly passed away due to medical issues related to being overweight. Her aunt, who was also morbidly obese, sadly passed away around the same time due to a heart attack at the young age of 26! Mary quickly entered into the same dangerous lifestyle, and was heading down the same path. She definitely identified as a food addict. Her weight led to a terrible depression. However, one day she decided to take control.
Mary Maxwell – Lost 165 Pounds
Mary decided to get gastric bypass surgery, which is a way to make the stomach much smaller. This way, you feel full incredibly quickly, and lose a lot of weight as a result. It worked, and Mary was able to shed 165 pounds! However, she has one last stone in her shoe: her loose skin. Mary started a GoFundMe page, where strangers have donated over $1000 to help her get surgery to remove loose skin. “Emotionally it is tough … but I am tough,” Mary declared.
Gregory never had any trouble staying in shape when he was young, as he played sports recreationally. However, we can all relate to this story: as he got older, he had less time to run around the basketball court, and he started gaining weight. Being overweight caused him trouble as he would snore, and he could barely get around without losing his breath. After his doctor told him he was at risk for diabetes, this 38-year-old decided to be in shape by the time he was 40.
Gregory Allen – Lost 95 Pounds
Now, Gregory has a six pack and is down 95 pounds! To achieve this impressive physique, he worked out every day, and changed his diet. “More frequent meals, smaller portions, and quality food were the keys,” he instructs. Sometimes, he even does one hour of jump roping wearing a sweatsuit to really challenge himself. Since then, one important component of his success is that he spices things up: “I have varied my cardio workouts, adding in distance running, hill sprints, biking, and kettle bell swings with high reps.”
Nathan And Brenda Bennett
Sometimes, working together is a key to success in weight loss. It is especially nice when you can do it with your partner. Nathan and Brenda were able to channel a spirit of “friendly competition” into their workouts, which highly motivates both of them. Interestingly, they were living a decently active lifestyle even when they were overweight, it was that they were not “eating healthy at home, so it didn’t translate into weight loss success.” Soon, enough, they made changes in their diets that led to results.
Nathan And Brenda Bennett – Both Lost 130 Pounds
The 45-year-olds stopped eating sugar and processed foods. It was not easy, but they kept each other in check. “It was a big help to cheer each other on,” they said. According to Brenda, it was important to, “not let the other person run down to the convenience store and cheat with whatever you can get your hands on.” This system worked to lose them both 130 pounds. They use an app to track their calories. “We keep each other strong,” Brenda said.
When Jessica Larche started getting weird headaches, she never suspected it might be due to her weight. When her doctor told her it was her high blood pressure (160 over 100), she knew she had to make a change. For years, she had been eating emotionally, to have fun, but also to quell and soothe feelings of sadness and distress. Jumping right into the gym rat lifestyle was realistically not sustainable for Jessica, so she decided to simply start by going for walks around the park near her house.
Jessica Larche – Lost 100 Pounds
Along with walking around the park, Jessica knew that she had to avoid pasta, which has always been her “trigger food.” Instead, she used a Spiralizer and ate zucchini noodles. Eventually, she built up the base athleticism and the confidence to hit the gym. Now, she does weights three times a week, and walk/runs five miles two days a week. She saw quick results, losing 75 pounds in just 18 months. She also still jogs outside and challenges herself to go further and further each time.
There is a phenomenon known as the Freshmen 15, where new college students gain 15 pounds due to their freedom to eat whatever they want, whenever they want, especially if their dining hall is all-you-can-eat style. Kelsey Byers played sports throughout high school and had been thin, but in college, had an especially bad case of this phenomenon, gaining a whopping 40 pounds. This was because she started drinking heavily, and eating bad foods late at night.
Kelsey Byers – Lost 40 Pounds
When Kelsey saw how much she had gained, she spent a lot of time shopping, looking for an outfit that would look good on her. Then she, “finally realized that when you have a great body, everything looks great on you!” Kelsey lost weight initially by cutting out alcohol, and then by learning about clean eating through a nutritionist. She got so cut, she entered into competitions and even was on the cover of a fitness magazine! From regular person to model, Kelsey is a true inspiration.
Justin Lacy weighed an absolutely whopping 500 pounds. Everything changed however with a dramatic turn of events. His mother had suffered a stroke, and Justin realized something. He said, “Soon my family’s going to be crying around my hospital bed,” if he did not lose weight. Instead of living what he realized was a “selfish” lifestyle, Justin started doing intense cardio like running and cycling, and changed his diet to be plant-based. With each workout, he was moving farther and farther away from the probability of having a stroke.
Justin Lacy – Lost 290 Pounds
Justin eventually made his way to being so fit, he trains for marathons. He did it with the help of the support group, the “Missing Chins Run Club.” Incredibly, Justin was able to lose 290 pounds overall! He is totally unrecognizable, like he is a different person. Surely, people who have not seen him in a while simply do not believe it is him. This Missouri man shows us how dedication to a good diet and exercise plan can truly change your body dramatically.
At her peak weight, Mackenzie Walker weighed 223 pounds, due to her consumption of an enormous amount of soda- 15 cans a day! When her obese father got bypass surgery, she realized she had to make a change. Instead of eating pizza for breakfast, which she sometimes had done, she decided to eat exactly what her father ate post-surgery. Since he had a smaller stomach now, he could only eat tiny meals. Soon, she saw a dramatic change in her body.
Mackenzie Walker – Lost 102 Pounds
Mackenzie dropped an amazing 102 pounds, and has never felt better. In fact, she is so far along in her journey, she now actually coaches other in weight loss. Her story is also chronicled in a self-published memoir. Mackenzie recommends that people be humble: “Be willing to ask for help. I learned proper exercise just from asking people in the gym and on social media.” Instagram taught her that she, “wasn’t eating enough protein and needed to lift weights to gain muscle.”
Gary was in a rut, as he was going through a messy divorce, and turned to food for comfort. His weight spiraled out of control, until he saw this photo of himself, which opened his eyes to how much weight he had actually gained. Gary hit the gym, but he was not seeing the results he wanted. We all know what it is like to be frustrated like this. However, he realized, upon doing some research, that he was not eating right.
Gary Brunner – Lost 60 Pounds
Brunner went through an incredible transformation, losing 60 pounds overall. He definitely shed more fat than 60 pounds, but he also gained a lot of muscle. It is not easy and takes dedication. “I ate, drank, and slept bodybuilding. If that’s your goal, you can’t do anything else,” he says. Working out about six days a week with weights rather than cardio and eating healthy was his way of doing it, however, “there are many ways to diet and not every plan works for everyone,” Gary advises.
“My numbers were really off the charts and it scared the life out of me,” Helen Costa-Giles said as she saw she weighed 220 pounds. Since she had two sons, she started to get concerned for their health. “I had to break that cycle,” she said, “because it was up to me to lead them to a healthier lifestyle.” When she decided to make that dramatic choice, she tossed all the unhealthy food in the house, and they “had to get groceries because [they] didn’t have anything in the fridge!”
Helen Costa-Giles – Lost 90 Pounds
Helen started working out, and became so obsessed with the rush of it. She felt good and, “got obsessed [with working out] because, for the first time in my life, my body was actually doing what I asked it to do.” As her confidence grew, she started instructing people out of her garage! “We call it the No More Excuses Lifestyle. And some of these people don’t need to get up at 4 a.m., but they get a boost from the energy level of the other people.”
Rebecca Johnson, a Virginia resident, would travel cross country for vacations and holidays to visit family. One fateful day in Utah, when she was on one of these trips at a family members house, she was perusing old photos. ” I looked at my mother in a family photo we’d taken,” Johnson said, “she was obese and in a wheelchair, and it hit me that I could be in that situation in 30 years.” Rebecca decided to do something about it before she passed the point of no return.
Rebecca Johnson – Lost 138 Pounds
In an amazing feat, Rebecca was able to lose 138 pounds! How did she do it? She says she celebrated the little milestones along the way to keep her motivated. “I celebrated each 10-pound loss with a new clothing item,” she said. These little prizes helped move her along from simply taking strolls around her neighborhood to power-walking about five times per week. Johnson remembers celebrating fitting into some jeans: “I ran out of the dressing room and hugged my daughter!”
Robin Stempek, a 39-year-old who lives in Maryland, said that she knew that she, “wasn’t athletic at all.” However, one thing she knew she could, in fact, do was walk. Together with some co-workers and friends, she decided to use her lunch break to walk around the neighborhood and eventually was walking three miles at a time. As she got stronger, she was not lagging behind, but was taking charge. Soon, she was not feeling “invisible” anymore.
Robin Strempek – Lost 100 Pounds
Robin has built so much confidence from her loss of 100 pounds that she feels like in a suit and heels, “she can command [a] room.” Her health and stamina has normalized, which is great news for her 12-year-old daughter who has seemingly boundless energy. To achieve this sort of loss, she not only walked a lot, but also cut out soda, replacing it with seltzer, and also changed her breakfast from sugary cereal to a meal of oatmeal, eggs, and veggies.
Patti was developing such a bad case of diabetes from her food habits that she soon would have to take insulin. At 238 pounds, she was not doing herself any favors by eating to comfort herself when triggered by negative feelings. She took her doctor’s warning seriously and joined the gym. Although she started by going on the treadmill, she eventually found that she felt most comfortable in classes. This is because classes “felt more like a social get-together than exercise.”
Patti Murillo-Casa – Lost 102 Pounds
Patti gave herself new life at age 55 by losing 102 pounds, which was her goal. She uses smart tactics to keep her from slipping up that you also can implement. One tip is to not only to work out with friends, but to also set some sort of system in place that you cannot miss the exercise session. For example, make a rule where you have to buy everyone something if you do not show up to the workout.
Tim Kaufman is a New Yorker who was sick of weighing over 400 pounds. Not only that, but he was having a lot of personal trouble, as he had developed a reliance on painkiller pills. Like many people, he turned to the internet to see if he could find some help there. Thanks to social media, he was able to find a Facebook group whimsically titled “The Missing Chins Run Club” that ended up changing his life for the better.
Tim Kaufman – Lost 200 Pounds
The Facebook group was very encouraging, as it felt like a “tight-knit group,” of people who supported and motivated each other through weight loss journeys in a gentle way. Tim started to go for runs regularly and started eating a vegan diet, and after a period, he dropped 200 pounds! He was also able to wean himself off painkillers. Now, he has perspective on his journey when he sees new people join the group. He says, “it takes [him] back and makes [him] appreciate the struggle.”
Camille Robbins was a busy student, especially in her senior year of college. She was busy with not only class, but also with work and an all-important senior project. When it came to saving time, working out was one of the first things she let go of. Ironically, this was a bad choice: “The funny thing is, I really didn’t save any time in the long run because it took me twice as long to lose the weight then it did to put it on!”
Camille Robbins – Lost 79.5 Pounds
When a friend asked her to come to a high-intensity interval training class, she went, but could barely keep up with the exercises. She stayed inspired, and unabashedly kept coming back until she “not only [kept] up with the other people in the group, but at times out [performed] them.” Now, she is so fit, she looks to do challenging races that were designed by elite army forces. “Fitness is no longer a means to an end for me, but instead a lifelong passion!”
At her peak, Laura Hyman weighed 264 pounds. She was a grandmother relatively early and always had her hands full taking “care of everyone else but” herself. She and her husband decided to try a program called Isagenix, which takes care of everything for you in terms of doling out meals and snacks throughout the day. “This system taught us that not only the food we are eating counts but the timing of when we are eating is so important,” Hyman says.
Laura Hyman – Lost 103 Pounds
Due to the eating schedule she was on, Laura was on her way to being fit. “I fuel my body and don’t eat for emotional reasons,” she said of her diet. She also worked out with a trainer about four times a week to tone her muscles. She experienced dramatic weight loss as a 54-year-old retiree. It was so transformative, she gushed that she now, “feel[s] better than [she] did in [her] twenties.” You will not hear most grandmothers saying that.
At her heaviest, Jessica Beniquez weighed 320 pounds, and her hobbies did not help. “I laid in bed watching series after series on Netflix. All I did was eat, go to work and watch my shows,” Jessica said. Eventually, she noticed that she was being sedentary by binge watching shows, and that she was feeling especially “lazy.” She researched possible solutions, and landed on Herbalife shakes. Since then, Beniquez has gone through an amazing body transformation, and she has “never looked back.”
Jessica Beniquez – Lost 175 Pounds
Jessica put in the hard work of dieting without cheating and hitting the gym. She ate maximum 1500 calories in a day, and was very “strict” about monitoring her food intake. Slowly, but surely, the pounds started to shed off. She became so fit that eventually she even started working at her gym, at the front desk. “I never expected to be where I am today. I was shy, but now I have so much more confidence, I have so much more energy,” Jessica beamed.