News flash: There will never be just one way to . Which is why 25 women shared the different success secrets that all yielded the same result: A healthier, more confident version of themselves.
Veronica Serrero, 33; Tennessee
Pounds Lost: 65
Although she had a young son, Veronica was able to sneak in short while he napped—which helped her drop one or two pounds per week (a healthy recommendation from the , especially for someone who's recently had a , like Veronica). But as we all know, young kiddos don't stick to a set schedule, so oftentimes she found herself having to build exercise instead. "I'd do a quick YouTube video," she says, or go for a one- to three-mile walk in the jogging stroller she picked up. "Eventually, I started including my son in all my workouts," she says, "Because he enjoyed watching his mama jump around like a maniac!"
Sarah Easley, 32; Chicago, IL
Pounds Lost: 53
After joining , Sarah realized that all the cardio she was doing—specifically, a ton of running—wasn't helping her . So she looked to the weekly TIU workout schedule and "realized just how important both cardio and toning are," she says. That encouraged her to ditch the running sneakers and try out a slew of new-to-her workouts like and barre—and she quickly found herself getting leaner and stronger. "Now I have a ritual where I go to a hot yoga class every Friday morning," she says. "It is the perfect way to stretch my sore muscles from a week of intense workouts, challenge my strength, and improve my flexibility."
Jena Jordan, 25; Louisville, KY
Pounds Lost: 50
The thought of bootcamp was terrifying to Jena at first, but moving outside her comfort zone is what led to her success. "The gym is my second home now, and they explain the mechanics of each move so you can make sure you're doing it right," she says. Jena also devoted herself to , which helped her realize exactly what her body was capable of and turned her onto tracking her macronutrients through , thanks to the many CrossFitters follow. And if there's ever an opportunity to try something new, Jena goes for it. "You just gotta start each day with a new attitude," she says.
Stephanie Miko, 49; Vista, CA
Pounds Lost: 82
After reaching 250 pounds, Stephanie hit her breaking point—but thankfully found , a weight loss challenge site that allows you to set up or join a monetized challenge over a four-week period—and whomever's lost four percent of their body weight (or more) in the 28 days split the pot. It gave Stephanie a concrete goal to focus on (winning $$$), while meeting others who were facing the same obstacles. "The friendship and camaraderie is what keeps me coming back," she says. "And making it a game makes it more fun and motivating." At the end of the challenge, Stephanie had lost 82 pounds—and cashed in on a pretty $1,600. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is.
Olivia Orf, 27; Jonesboro, AR
Pounds Lost: 53
When it came to food, Olivia found that "the trick wasn't necessarily how much she was eating, but rather what exactly she was eating." So she found of her favorite dishes, like chicken fingers, and spent 80 percent of her week focusing on the Tone It Up motto of eating "lean, clean, and green." "I learned how to prepare foods in clean and healthy ways," Olivia says (like skipping the flour breading and greasy oil on those chicken fingers). She also began to experiment with vegan, , and non-red meat recipes throughout what she calls her "dirty food overhaul." It was a smart move: that you simply can't out-exercise a bad diet. By —instead of relying on the drive-thru—Olivia was able to meet her goals.
Nancy Dunham, 50; Alexandria, VA
Pounds Lost: 109
If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? That's what Nancy did, successfully losing weight by using the tried-and-true method of monitoring calories until she had a better grasp of what she was taking in and burning off with exercise. Her main takeaway? Eliminate : Nancy never realized how many extra calories she took in throughout the day, and she's not the only one. that our snacking habits have ballooned to 25 percent of our daily calories, and all those tiny bites make it tough to really be in touch with how much you're eating and can eventually lead to . Sitting down for an actual meal, rather than grazing all day, can make you more aware and help you reach those weight loss goals.
Brittany Sheehy, 28; Greenbay, WI
Pounds Lost: 120
If anyone's proof that you don't have to go through weight loss alone, it's Brittany. Rather than play a guessing game, she used to track the and complex carbs that made up her new diet—a far cry from the "full-sized ham and cheese sub on white bread with extra mayo, soda, and a massive chocolate chip cookie" that she used to eat for lunch. Then she hired a personal trainer to teach her the . "I learned so much about my body," she says. "How to challenge it, get the most out of my time at the gym, and avoid injury." And her boyfriend got on board, too. "We transformed our dining room into a yoga space, exploring that form of exercise." Support system: Nailed it.
Lucille Boujat-Andra, 31; Auxerre, France
Pounds Lost: 25
"There were no secrets," Lucille says of her success. "I changed my food habits and started working out." Specifically, she joined the program, which she discovered on —and instantly fell in love with Karena and Katrina's positive energy. The women, who preach a five-meal-per-day diet, regularly host social media challenges that got Lucille hooked. "I started with the Love Your Body Challenge, committing to 20 to 25 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week," she says. After that came 6 AM workout club, which she joined thanks to the encouragement from her TIU friends on Instagram. Now she's looking toward her next big adventure: A crazy-hard hike in Corsica, and the . "The weight loss makes my mind and body feel better, but I discovered amazing women in the #TIUCommunity," she says. "It gives me strength to challenge myself and finally do the things I've dreamed of doing for years."
Maribel Contreras, 35; El Monte, CA
Pounds Lost: 47
When Maribel was asked to join the , a 12-week body transformation contest the national chain hosts annually, she knew it was go-time. There's over $100,000 in cash prizes for winning participants, and it creates a sense of camaraderie (and healthy competition) that Maribel thrived under. And it was her focus on that helped her become stronger and ultimately prevail. that weight training is beneficial for —even more so than cardio routines. So if you don't lift yet, it's time to start.
Carol Modungo, 50; Swarthmore, PA
Pounds Lost: 53
An easy rule of thumb: "Shop the perimeter of the grocery store," says Carol, as she quickly learned that the center aisles often have foods loaded with preservatives and artificial ingredients. She used to log her meals, snacks, and exercise, and focused on a mix of protein, fresh vegetables, and healthy fats. That helped her drop weight quickly in the beginning—over six pounds a month—until it slowed to three or four because her body adjusted to her new routine. And while the center of the grocery store is filled with processed carbs, goodies and treats, Carol limits her intake of them. "I still eat sweets. I just make sure to keep them to !" she says.
Liz Altschuler, 40; Charlotte, NC
Pounds Lost: 82
After seeing the on a morning talk show, Liz decided it was time to lose weight. Thankfully, her husband joined in. "He too has redefined his norm, eating healthily and regularly exercising," she says. "It's much easier when we're on the bus together going in the same direction." To boost her results, Liz also used the to determine her daily caloric intake by entering her height, weight, and gender—and indulging in healthier twists on her . A new favorite: PB2 protein shakes. "I feel like I'm indulging in a milkshake, but I'm filling up my belly with goodness." What's better than that?
Alicia Trimble, 34; Plano, TX
Pounds Lost: 113
When you go on a weight loss diet, usually the first thing sliced in half is the amount of food you eat. Not the case for Alicia, who went from downing three fast food meals a day—plus whatever else she craved, like ice cream—to eating five small healthy meals (key words: healthy, portion-controlled bites over fat-filled, drive-thru varieties). "The new foods keep me energized," she says of her meal plan. As for exercise, Alicia fell in love with Zumba as soon as she saw her first class. "I walked in and had a blast dancing and moving my body in ways that I had never felt comfortable doing before," says Trimble. The lesson: Don't hate your workout routine—find something you love so you don't dread getting your sweat on.
Kathryn Shepard, 33; Hanover, MA
Pounds Lost: 25
Ditching the scale was the best thing Kathryn did when starting the program with her sister—instead of worrying about whether the number went up or down, she focused on how clothes fit and her body measurements. "Now I can take my jeans on or off without unbuttoning them—a far better feeling of accomplishment for me than stepping on the scale and being worried what number would appear," Kathryn says. To keep herself accountable, "I stay connected to TIU through ," she says. "There's something so special about posting a picture of my workout or a meal I just ate and getting an instant reward when women comment and tell me what a great job I'm doing."
Liz Maher Polavarapu, 32; Chicago, IL
Pounds Lost: 25
To get ready for her upcoming nuptials, Liz did the same thing every single day: She hit the bar…or rather, barre, attending a class every day with a few rest days sprinkled throughout (don't forget that for long-term weight loss success). She was amazed at how quickly she felt stronger and leaner, feeling her body change in just 10 to 15 classes because of the small, isometric movements. And while she didn't focus on having a , Liz said that once she was in a routine, she "didn't crave the " she normally wanted, and naturally and refined carb intake without even noticing. We love when weight loss , don't you?
Lisa Spector, 54; Half Moon Bay, CA
Pounds Lost: 35
"It's really not about weight loss—it's about health gain," says Lisa, who followed Haylie Pomroy's in order to slim down. "I eliminated sugar, dairy, and 100 percent of all processed foods from my diet," instead choosing the organic, clean foods Pomroy recommends. (She currently swears by jicama with lime juice as a replacement for chips.) Surprisingly, because of her major diet shift, Lisa was able to reduce the number of workouts she was doing. "Now, instead of obsessing over every calorie I'm burning, I just do whatever feels good: Zumba, Buti, Spinning—I love my fitness classes!"
Kara Quinn, 35; Glendale Heights, IL
Pounds Lost: 161
Ask Kara, a registered nurse, about her and she'll tell you "it's been an amazing ride" that she's still on. After weighing in at 307 pounds, Kara attended a meeting and agreed to join the program. She immediately connected with her designated personal consultant, who taught her portion control and, importantly, accountability. "She is the best and always a great support to me," she says. Once she had the three meals and three snacks a day formula down, Kara started exercising "even it if it was ten minutes at a slow pace." Now she loves sweating on the elliptical machine or the StairMaster, making it a priority to hit the gym four times a week. Most importantly, Kara feels incredible. "Life is so much easier now," she says. "I buy clothes at a regular store. I cannot tell you how significant this is for me—it makes me tear up."
Kyra Williams, 34; Tampa, FL
Pounds Lost: 165
Though she first attempted because she didn't want to give up her favorite foods and drinks, Kyra quickly realized she needed to moderate her eating habits more to find success. After she truly started embracing whole, clean foods—she now swears by a banana with peanut butter—and an unabashed love for CrossFit, the weight started to come off. And even though most dinners are grilled meat and veggies, she says "eat everything you want in moderation. I and and sugary cereal sometimes—I just don't do it nearly as often, and eat just enough. A few bites is plenty!"
Jennifer Conlon, 32; New York, NY
Pounds Lost: 30
An avid runner, Jenn was regularly logging five-mile sessions until she was sidelined with a hip injury. Thanks to mandatory rest and a less-than-perfect diet, she put on a few pounds. So Jenn signed up for , a personalized weight-loss company whose services include an app and she had regular access to. Surprisingly, Jennifer's nutritionist said she needed to eat more of the good stuff, like , proteins and . Doing so helped her shed the extra weight (she's a master of Ezekiel avocado toast), and when she got permission to add activity back in, she tried indoor cycling at New York City's studio. "The team-inspired rides make you push forward and not let down your comrades," she says. But she didn't abandon running altogether—she just cut her mileage and varied her workouts to keep doing what she loved while staying safe.
Jamie Vick, 33; Mountain Home, ID
Pounds Lost: 83
Having tried over the years, Jamie wasn't sure she could lose weight until she stumbled upon . "I used it to track macronutrients—proteins, fats and carbohydrates—in order to meet my daily calorie goal," she says. "Doing it this way, rather than just counting calories overall, helped me recognize how much I was overeating and learn how to make better choices with my food." And even though she was never an athlete growing up, Jamie downloaded the , sticking with it during both good weeks and bad. "Sometimes I had to repeat weeks because I wasn't ready to increase my running time the way the program called for," but : "Now I love running and it's become a passion of mine."
Ashley Wong, 39; Medina, MN
Pounds Lost: 107
Ashley knew that planning ahead was the only way she could lose the weight—but it needed to be easy and not require on Sunday. "When I started out, " she says. So she got a kick-start from , which provides calorie-counted, pre-portioned meals—21 of them per week, to be exact. "They did all the work for me, and the easier a diet is to follow, the more successful I'll be." Once that felt manageable, she eased into , and now does it two nights each week. "I was hypertensive, obese, and at risk for in my mid-thirties," she says. All of that? Gone.
Ashley Rudolph, 30; Littleton, CO
Pounds Lost: 50
Weight loss is a total-body project—and your brain has to get involved, too. That's what Ashley quickly realized as she struggled to lose the 50 pounds she was hanging onto. "If your mindset is wishy-washy, then your results will reflect that," the now holistic nutrition consultant says. So when the scale stalled during her , her mind had to persevere. And no one was more helpful than her own weight loss coach, who let Ashley know "a plateau is actually a good thing—my body was catching up to what I was doing, and it was resetting," she says. It was that led her to success—and a career change.
Erika Clark, 45; New York, NY
Pounds Lost: 86
Many turn to running or biking when they want to lose weight, but Erika had trouble finding a workout she could fall in love with. She tried various fitness classes—even belly dancing!—but it wasn't until she jumped in the pool that she established her five-times-a-week workout routine. She regularly does two-mile swims now, and also takes in-water exercises classes at the for another low-impact workout. "When you're in waist-high water, the buoyancy means you only weigh 50 percent of what you do on land," she explains. "Plus, no one can see me sweat." Double-win, wouldn't you say?
Erin Hall, 30; Woodbridge, VA
Pounds Lost: 45
Before starting the plan, Erin was clueless about fitness, nutrition, and how to properly fuel her body. "I work in an office setting [where there's] a lot of junk food around," she says. So rather than give everything up at once, she made simple food swaps, like eating plain Greek yogurt instead of a flavored one and instead of diet soda. "All of the small changes added up quickly." Combined with TIU's weekly, easy-to-follow workout schedules, which trainers Karena and Katrina send out every Sunday, and Erin realized she loves her new routine. "Every week is different—you're never bored!"
Cory Christie, 29; Lake Orion, MI
Pounds Lost: 95
Cory attributes her slim-down diligence to using a . "Track what you eat, your exercise, goals, progress, struggles, motivation," she says, because it helped her efforts turn into habits. "Using a journal was really a key to my success." And science agrees: Keeping a food diary can actually double the amount of weight you lose, published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.
Kristin Westerfield, 32; Indianapolis, IN
Pounds Lost: 128
According to Kristin, "There is no 'place' to start. There's no right day, no right time, or right situation," she says. "You just have to start." And since she was 125 pounds overweight, she knew she needed to take the challenge of "eat less, move more" head on. So she bet on it. "I made a bet at that I would be able to lose 100 pounds in 12 months. Knowing that I stood to lose or gain money every single month definitely kept me going," says Kristin. "In the end, I won $4,000 on my $1,200 bet!" Giving herself a long-term goal—the promise of one thousand dollars—helped her power through inevitable and often frustrating weight loss plateaus.