We asked the BuzzFeed Community to show us their weight loss journeys and reveal their best tips for getting started. Everyone’s fitness goals and journeys are different, but here’s what worked for them.
Learn how many calories are actually in the foods you eat, but don’t feel like you need to deprive yourself of your favorites.
I’ve been big my whole life and have tried so many diets where I’d lose weight but then gain it back. I’m also a very picky eater, so diets that cut things out completely didn’t work for me. But the thing that worked the best was when I started to keep track of my meals and calories. If I really craved and wanted something, I’d let myself have it, but then I made sure I was more attentive about everything else for the rest of the day.
Exercise has also been a major factor in this. My main cardio was swimming, and as time went on I’d slowly increase the amount of exercise I was doing, simply because my body was getting more comfortable and stronger. I lost 160 pounds in about 2.5 years by changing my lifestyle, and I haven’t looked back.
Instead of setting unrealistic lifestyle goals for yourself, focus on making achievable lifestyle changes.
So far I’ve lost 106 pounds! I was at my heaviest at 286 pounds back when I started college. It took me four years to get down to 180 pounds, and I spent the last few years rebuilding my muscle mass and getting to a healthier weight.
My biggest saving grace was meal-prepping. Instead of continuing my unhealthy relationship with food, I began appreciating how to create healthy and sustainable eating options that worked with my busy schedule and kept me from getting bored and from emotionally overeating. As soon as food became an ally rather than an enemy, everything else started to fall into place.
Another huge lifestyle change was switching from unrealistic goals (i.e. wanting to loose xx pounds in a year) to achievable lifestyle changes (i.e. wanting to work out three times a week, or replacing sugary drinks with water). Setting yourself up for small successes at the beginning leads to incredibly big successes at the end of the day.
Try to stop drinking your calories, and make sure you increase your water intake.
I started my fitness journey back in October of 2017, and so far I’ve lost 128 pounds. The big change I made was to stop drinking my calories. Now I only drink water or sparkling water (La Croix has been my favorite). I’ve also learned to keep track of my calories for each meal, and every day I try to walk at least 12,000 steps.
I don’t like to say I’m on a diet – it’s a complete lifestyle change. It’s amazing how much better I feel. I can run after my child, and I can walk up the stairs without huffing and puffing. It’s truly amazing.
Find a person in your life who will continuously inspire you to be your best, healthiest self.
I started my fitness journey because I wanted to be a better and healthier example for my son. As soon as he was born, I started out by just walking and changing my diet. I now commit to weightlifting as well as HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and a clean-eating diet. It has worked, and I’m down 100 pounds!
Challenge yourself to walk as much as possible, even if you start out by just making it around the block.
I hit my goal of losing 150 pounds this past July! It took a long 23 months, but I don’t regret a single day. I started off slow, but then I built up stamina and made sure I walked a few miles every day. I also used the MyFitnessPal app to track what I ate. Best decision I have ever made.
Don’t feel like you need to do a complete overhaul and change every single thing about your life – small, consistent changes are key.
I lost 105 pounds over a 13-month period by making small, consistent changes. I started by making all of my meals at home, and then I slowly added in workouts. I have completed my 10th half-marathon this year, and I’m working towards completing one in all 50 states. My best advice for anyone starting out is to take it one step at a time – don’t expect to completely overhaul your life in one day.
Start keeping track of your progress – steps, workouts, etc. – so you can physically see all of your hard work and growth.
In a year and a half, I went from 232 pounds and a size 20 to 127 pounds and a size two. I stopped eating when I was bored, I stopped drinking soda, and I started walking more. I also drank so much more water. The other thing that really helped me was getting a Fitbit because it let me track all of my progress.
To help make working out or eating healthy feel like less of a chore, find an aspect of fitness or cooking that you really enjoy.
I lost over 130 pounds! I started by walking every day, ultimately trying to get up to an hour. Then I changed up my diet. Something that really helps is to find something healthy that you actually enjoy doing, and for me that’s hiking. Now I love working out and being healthy.
Learn how to replace certain foods with healthier options.
I always loved my body, even at 370 pounds, but I knew I needed to get healthier. I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app. My goal was to stay on a calorie plan without telling myself that certain foods were off limits. I slowly discovered how to replace foods with healthier options – like mixing riced cauliflower into rice to bulk it up and feel like I had a larger serving, or by making two different veggies to make my meals/portions look and feel larger.
I also let myself splurge every once in a while, because I knew this wouldn’t work if I deprived myself of some of my favorite foods forever. It took me a couple years to get to where I am now, but I’ve lost nearly 170 pounds on my own, and I’ve never felt better.
Be patient, because you probably won’t see changes immediately.
In a year and a half, I lost 130 pounds. I started by drastically changing my eating habits. I also started doing SoulCycle. At first I could only go one time a week, but my body slowly got stronger and stronger. Now I’m fit enough to go five times a week.
Try to be steady and consistent with your exercise and food routines.
I lost 107 pounds in a year and three months through a change in diet and a steady exercise routine. No gimmicks, no diets, no powders, pills, shakes, or wraps. I had hit a rock bottom in my life after flunking out of college, running $3,000 behind on rent, and getting diagnosed with major depressive disorder. I chose to give myself one last try. I’m beyond thankful I did.
Become more aware of when you emotionally eat or eat when you’re bored so you can try to control it.
The first thing I did that helped me lose 110 pounds was cut out soda and try to watch my emotional eating. These small steps ultimately helped me make better food choices, and I started to cook at home and become more aware of portion sizes. I also started to go to therapy.
I still exercised a lot when I was heavier, but now when I work out my joints don’t hurt anymore, and I suffer fewer injuries!
If you can afford it, get a personal trainer to help familiarize you with new workouts, get comfortable at the gym, and hold yourself more accountable.
I’ve lost 112 pounds in about a year and a half. A big chunk of that (about 90 pounds) was lost simply by changing my diet and watching what I ate. A few months ago I joined a gym, and with the help of a personal trainer and hard work I’ve lost over 20 more pounds. Moving more and eating less processed foods are things that have really helped me with this journey so far.
But understand that you don’t need to go to a gym or hire a trainer to see results and feel stronger or healthier.
BuzzFeed / Nadia G.
I was too embarrassed to go to my gym and take a class. I heard about really good results from Zumba, so I bought the game for my Wii. I played at home, working out five to six days a week.
I’ve always been a big gamer, so getting the Zumba game and playing it didn’t make it seem like it was exercise. To me, it was just another game to play, and I guess that’s what motivated me. Then when I actually saw results from it, that became the motivator. Dancing with Zumba was really fun, especially when it was a song that I knew or liked. The game made it seem more like I was trying to beat a level as opposed to actually exercising. It helped me lose 150 pounds in about three years.
—Nadia G., Facebook
Learn about macronutrients and how you can use them to meal-prep healthy, balanced food for yourself.
I started my journey in July of 2017 and was 381 pounds. I joined a gym, gave up soda, and started meal-prepping. Besides soda, I haven’t cut out any other food or drinks from my healthy lifestyle – the big thing is that I try to watch my portions. I’ve lost 155 pounds in 18 months and hope to lose 200 altogether. Years of yo-yo dieting didn’t help, but now I’m in a great headspace. Stick with it if you’re trying!
And most importantly, keep in mind that there are some things you literally just can’t control.
I always enjoyed eating carbs and sugary foods, but a little over 2.5 years ago I committed myself to a low-carb and high-fat eating regiment. To date, I’ve lost over 217 pounds. I also increased the amount of water I drank and began cycling on a stationary bike. As my weight came off, my energy levels rose.
I started doing more intensive classes on the stationary bike (Peloton) and walking or jogging. As that progressed, I started walking less and jogging more. I’d hit plateaus just like everyone else, but over time things would kick into gear again. I eventually joined a local CrossFit gym with the goal of overall body health and conditioning. The gym and support I received from within the community were super helpful, and I was able to work at my own pace. These changes have significantly improved my health and my relationships with family and friends.
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Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.