Weight loss is about numbers: Burn more calories than you eat or drink. But it's also personal.
Everyone is different, and there are so many diets and workouts to choose from. What's right for you?
It can help to get inspiration from people who have been where you are now and have lost the weight. Start with these six stories from people who dropped the pounds and got healthier.
Petrina Hamm, online fitness coach, Apex, NC
Lost 100 pounds
How she lost it: Hamm went on the Atkins diet, followed by a sensible eating plan that watched portion sizes and avoided processed foods and refined sugars. “I started with a gym membership but moved to home workouts like P90X and Insanity, which I loved.”
Her snacks: “Cherries dipped in cocoa almond butter, roasted kale chips, and veggies with hummus.”
How she stayed on track: “My husband became my support system. We made workouts our bonding time.”
Her advice: “Take it one day at a time! You didn't gain weight overnight. You're not going to lose it overnight.”
Allison Keller, teacher, Houston
Lost 60 pounds
How she lost it: Weight Watchers and exercise. “I began working out once a week, then increased to 5 days. Enjoying what I did was key.” When running on the treadmill became boring, she switched to indoor cycling and kickboxing.
Snacks: “Bananas, cucumber slices, grapes, and carrots I could take on the go.”
How she stayed on track: “Attending weekly WW meetings helped me stay accountable. If I slipped one week, the support of the community got me right back on track.”
Her advice: “Avoid temptations. I stopped buying ice cream and chips because I knew if they were in my house, I’d eat them.”
Scott Martin, nurse, Orange County, CA
Lost 67 pounds
How he lost it: The Atkins diet, personalized diet meals delivered to his house, and regular exercise.
“I started running, although I could only go one block at first. Eventually, I was working out 6 days a week on Bowflex’s MAX Trainer [a full-body home workout machine] or a boot camp class.”
His snacks: “Anything low-carb -- cheese, turkey, even cooked shrimp.”
How he stayed on track: “An app called Run Tracker let me see my progress. My family motivated me, too. I wanted to be healthy for them.”
His advice: “Start with a fitness goal that’s attainable; then increase your exercise week to week.”
Jessica Partain, jewelry designer, Charlottesville, VA
Lost 31 pounds
How she lost it: Partain took a high-tech approach. She went to an exercise lab to check her resting metabolic rate and used an online calculator to estimate how many calories she burned daily.
Then, she tracked the foods she ate in a journal, staying several hundred calories under that threshold every day.