Even if you know you need to lose weight, sometimes taking the first step is the hardest part—especially if you have 70 or more pounds to lose. But as overwhelming as the idea of shedding so many pounds is, it is possible. Just take it from these 12 people.
They prove that losing a substantial amount of weight—some up to 120 pounds!—takes strength, determination, and patience. But it’s doable, especially if you have a little help from a weight loss app or a good friend. Here are some of the other top tips from 12 people who have lost 70 or more pounds. Getting started on your weight loss journey? Be sure to check out our list of the 50 Best Weight Loss Tips.
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
“I was guilty of trying new diets or falling into some short bursts of gym related motivation when I was hovering around the 250+ range and I never ended up sticking to any program or keeping any of the weight off when I did. The big difference this time was accepting the fact that I had I had to make a lifestyle change that will probably last the rest of (hopefully considerably longer) life. I am fully comfortable with counting calories forever and I think anybody looking to lose weight needs to find a weight loss method that works for them as a permanent lifestyle change.” — Adam Pelley, over 80 lbs lost
Keep a Food Journal
“One of my tips is keeping an accurate food and activity journal. I use the software “Fitday” but other apps will do, like My Fitness Pal. As of November 2017, I will have tracked my food and activity for 10 years, never missing a day or meal. It has allowed me to accurately gauge my calories (as well as other important factors like carb and fiber consumption) and keep me on track whenever I notice trends that mean I’ll start to gain.” — Sarah Donawerth, over 70 lbs lost
Drink Lots of Water
“Drinking plenty of water was the biggest change that helped me shed the pounds. I ate less and had fewer cravings when I was constantly drinking water all day. I said goodbye to late night sweet cravings as well.” — Eric Chornoby, over 100 lbs lost
Allow Yourself to Munch
“Find a way to munch. I get into moods where I am really hungry. First, I will chew gum to see if the feeling goes away. I’ve been known to chew gum for hours to avoid unwanted snacking. If the hungry feeling still hasn’t gone away, then I will munch on a high volume, low-calorie snack like baby carrots until I am full. At that point, I don’t sweat the details and I allow myself to eat as many baby carrots as I need. Sometimes, I’m just hungry and I have to roll with it.” — Sarah Donawerth, 70 lbs lost
“Stop blaming. It’s an easy thing to do, and most of us don’t realize we are doing it. Blaming our job, hereditary factors, fast food culture, family members, stress, or events of the past doesn’t help matters, it makes us victims. That’s a weak place to be if we want to change weight, which requires us to be strong, well-fueled and courageous.” —Pat Barone, 92 lbs lost
Take Progress Photos
“Take pictures! Take them weekly or monthly or however often works for you. The scale is not the only way to see how far you’ve come. It gets hard to see the change in yourself in the mirror, and we are our own biggest critic. But you can’t deny what you see on photos.” — Adrienne Walter, 85 lbs lost
Plan Your Meals
“Plan out your meals! Lose It! is a great tool for helping you with this. I found that having a cheat meal or enjoying a cold beer was something that I wasn’t willing to give up altogether. But when I planned for it I would eat healthier options on those days and surround those days by a few workouts. This keeps you going and happy!” — Chris Nickell, 120 lbs lost
Find An Activity You Like
“Find fun! Don’t think you have to rot in a gym torturing yourself if it’s not your thing. Movement is movement. If you increase what you’re currently doing, you’ll shed pounds. So dance in your living room, try a belly dancing class, or play beach tennis with friends. Channel that inner kid that wanted to stay out playing well past your mom wanting you to and you’ll have a whole new outlook!” — Devin Alexander, 70 lbs lost
“Always have a healthy snack on hand for a hunger emergency. If I have a granola bar, banana or apple in my purse, I’m much less likely to go to the drive-thru to grab something quickly. I’ve heard it said that if you aren’t hungry enough to eat an apple, you aren’t really hungry. If I’m not willing to eat the healthy snack I have on hand, I know I’m not really hungry and I’m trying to satisfy something else. It really helps me to be mindful and also say no to fast food on my way home from a stressful day.” — Cori Magnotta, 85 lbs lost
“My top tip for losing it would be to get rid of the complaints and self-depreciation. If you constantly lament over how hard it is to lose weight, it will be harder to lose it. If you celebrate how much better you feel when you eat right and how much better you feel with the weight you’ve lost, then you will feel better and keep going to your goal.” — Penelope Pendragon, over 85 lbs lost
Get Enough Sleep
“I really believe our body goes into survival mode when we’re low on sleep and gets stubborn about releasing weight as a result. My first big win in my weight loss journey was developing an early to bed, early to rise lifestyle.” — Nick Wolny, 105 lbs lost.
To get enough shut-eye and slim down in the process, check out our list of 20 Surprising Ways to Lose Weight in Your Sleep.
Lead image courtesy of Cori Magnotta.