If you’re like any of the women in these incredible weight-loss transformation stories, you’ve struggled with hitting walls while trying to drop pounds and, at least once or twice, felt the temptation to throw in the towel on the whole d*mn thing. That just means you’re human.
It also means that you could use a serious dose of inspo from ladies who have stuck out their journey long enough to see real success. Because let’s face it: Losing weight is hard, and it’s even harder for women than men, thanks to metabolic and hormonal differences, research shows.
Most of the weight-loss warriors here tried multiple avenues, from going vegan to intermittent fasting to at-home Pilates workouts, before finding the methods and eating regimes that worked with their lifestyles. And part of their success was being realistic about what was achievable in the long run. Take it from one wise woman: “I promised in the beginning that I wouldn’t want to eat or do anything while losing weight that I wouldn’t want to eat or do once I hit [my] goal, even if that meant it took a little bit longer,” says @ashleys_officially_lost_it.
Finding a workout routine you love can also help keep you on track throughout the ups and downs. As one woman, @kaitlynesse, says, “Truly all of my weight loss came from working out to feel better and not to look a certain way. I just found this passion for it weightlifting I never had before,” she says, noting that lifting helped her fight through a bout of depression after a breakup.
One more nugget of advice? Don’t underestimate the small stuff, since any effort is better than no effort. “Even when you think those 30 minutes of walking won’t add up to anything, trust me—it will,” @branjay24 says. You have to keep telling yourself, “‘Yes, you are worth it!'” she adds.
Together, these powerful women lost more than 2,500 pounds—and gained so much strength along the way—which you’ll see in these dramatic before-and-afters. Take them in as needed to stay focused, inspired, and invested in your journey toward achieving your own health goals. If they can do it, so can you.
@stellaisstriving lost 243 pounds—more than 42 percent of her starting body weight—by overhauling her eating habits with the keto diet and focusing on fat loss (not just losing pounds).
@_jens_journey_ started out doing keto but didn’t feel that it worked for her, so she stuck with intermittent fasting, a sugar-free diet, and keeping her carbs down. She dropped more than 100 pounds—then gained back about 15 of those pounds to feel her healthiest, she previously told Women’s Health.
It was WW that got @sweet_pea_leigh to a place of kicking her food addiction, which had been causing her to keep gaining weight as well as numerous body aches and pains. She’s lost over 150 pounds.
The Couch to 5K app was hugely transformative for @lizzy_rockz—soon after hopping on the app, she started triathlon training and subsequently ran four marathons. Meal prepping with lots of protein and few carbs was huge for her, too, in her journey to lose about 150 pounds.
@rachellsharp93 went down a little more than 100 pounds, starting with her own version of alternate-day fasting, consuming small amounts of food in between days, and then segueing into another type of intermittent fasting.
Down about 220 pounds, @losing_for_health started out doing keto, then continued to count her macros with a free online calculator.
Originally through gastric bypass surgery, @kathleeng1112 shed 179 pounds, but she kept it up by eating tons of protein and few carbs. She stays active with Pilates, yoga, and at-home workouts.
@gessisfitnessjourney hit her goal of losing 124 pounds first by trying going vegan, then vegetarian, and low-carb, but she ultimately succeeded by tracking everything—calories, steps—on her Fitbit.
It was a combination of keto and intermittent fasting that helped @gritandgrace__ lose more than 50 pounds and her status as prediabetic. Once she cut out sugar, her PCOS symptoms were more manageable, too.
@hannah_day28’s big turnaround came from BeachBody toning workouts. She also began practicing clean eating and portion control. She still eats buffalo chicken, but in a zucchini boat rather than fried.
She started out with VSG surgery, but @cam_bree_uhhh kept off 148 pounds by eating a vegan diet. She now belongs to two different gyms to stick with her love of weight lifting and doing circuits.
@carlywontquit lost 108 pounds with a strict policy of no added sugar, even in her coffee. She’s also a cardio fanatic and can’t get enough of Zumba or Total Body Pump.
Realizing the power of a nutritious home-cooked meal turned @_iwokeupinbeastmode;s nutrition around, helping her to lose a total of 130 pounds. She started out tracking every macro, but after hitting her goal, she stopped counting calories and focused on just eating clean instead.
@laurenlosing did VSG surgery in 2013 as a tool to change her lifestyle. She kept going with eating a high-protein diet, counting macros, and weight lifting.
A new-found love of lifting heavy was a major transforming factor for @kaitlynesse. She lost 80 pounds in about a year, focusing on squats and deadlifts, which she says made her feel strong and powerful. She also put on about 10 pounds of solid muscle in the process.
Keto and kickboxing were the power duo for @thestairlady. She went down 100 pounds in a year without giving up her favorite food, pizza.
@healthylivinislife’s weight-loss journey started with VSG surgery. She continued to drop 120 pounds through the keto diet, and then a general low-carb eating plan. She also supplemented with a hot-yoga routine to help with her anxiety and started running and amping up her core workouts, too.
Struggling with symptoms of both PCOS and IBS, @get_moefit first cut carbs and started going beast mode in the gym, and then worked with a nutritionist to do an elimination diet. She cut out some cruciferous veggies that bothered her, as well as beef and pork (but kept other types of lean meat) to reduce GI issues and lose 80 pounds.
Starting with gastric-sleeve surgery, @gi_sciortino shed 120 pounds and kept it off with intense strength-training and HIIT workouts.
Counting calories with the My Fitness Pal app was a factor for @hayleysweightlossjourneyx to lose 70 pounds. “It was the simple science of tracking calories in vs. out, mixed with self-discipline and self belief,” she says.
@journeytoslimsyddie dropped 140 pounds between VSG surgery, three to five weekly hard-core workouts in the gym, and eating mindfully (with a low-carb and high-protein diet).
It all started with a fun, competitive “biggest loser” challenge at work for @branjay24. She lost 105 pounds by cutting out carbs and sweets and exercised six times a week. Another major factor for her? Taking care of her mental health throughout.
@wokeuplikedez dropped 150 pounds after having gastric-bypass surgery, and then continued the momentum with a high-protein diet. She kept consuming fewer calories and working out more consistently than she had in the past, too.
In the beginning, @ashleys_officially_lost_it tried losing weight simply by counting calories, but she needed more accountability and support, she says. She jumped on the WW (formerly Weight Watchers) bandwagon and later became an ambassador in the midst of her 120-pound weight loss, which she’s maintained for almost two years. Her transformation was mostly accomplished via healthier food swaps—she loves to make cleaner versions of favorite fast-food dishes, like a chipotle chicken avocado sandwich from Panera.
Down 80 pounds from clean eating and at-home workouts, @beast_girl_22 toned up using BeachBody Body Beast. She also made a major change in her eating routine: switching from eating three healthy meals a day to eating smaller healthy meals every two to three hours, with lots of water.