Before: 227 lb.
Now: 157 lb.
Height: 5' 7"
My story: As a longtime dieter, losing some weight was always easy for me, but I could never maintain my loss. I'd inevitably gain it back—and often add on a few more pounds. I sing in a choir, and used to be self-conscious onstage. As the weight came off, I felt proud to stand in the front row. I hit both goals by 2013, and the first thing I did was buy a cute pair of jeans with the money I won. But while the cash prize was great, feeling good about myself is my biggest reward. Here are Erin's 5 tips for weight-loss success:
Start: Find a challenge
A friend told me about , a site that pays you to lose. Motivated by the money, I signed up and wagered $400 for two challenges that required me to lose a total of 70 pounds in one year. If I didn't succeed, I'd lose the cash. But if I did, I'd win it back—plus an extra $800.
See also: Our Best 75 Weight-Loss Tips
Step 1: Be prepared
To avoid food traps, I started planning ahead. If I was going to a party, I'd bring a healthy dish like a quinoa and berry salad. Knowing I wouldn't be caught off-guard allowed me to socialize without worrying about gaining.
Step 2: Get Cceative
I work full-time as an aviation safety assistant, and finding time to exercise outside of the office is tough. So, I put sneakers under my desk and started walking 2 miles with a coworker during lunch.
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Step 3: Enlist support
When I was heavier, I reached for food when I was sad. Now, one way I cope is to replace calories with conversation. If I'm upset, I dial a friend and vent. I end the call feeling better, and avoid the temptation to overeat.
My stick-with-it secret: Make a progress poster
To stay committed throughout the year, I made a countdown chart that was a list of every number from 70 to 1 (indicating how many pounds I wanted to lose) and hung it up near my desk at work. Every time the scale went down a notch, I crossed off a number. It was helpful to have a visual reminder of my success, especially on days when my weight didn't budge or when I hit a plateau.