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13 People Who Lost 40+ Pounds Share What Really Got Them Results

Real weight-loss stories that will motivate the hell outta you.

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We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us how they lost weight with major-but-doable lifestyle changes. We received a lot of stories from people who set out to lose weight for a variety of reasons — some for health reasons, others who wanted to accomplish specific life goals, and others who wanted to change their appearance or fit into their favorite clothes again. And all of them crushed it.

So, here are some tips that helped people lose 40 pounds or more:

1. Get into strength training to feel powerful AF.

Courtesy Yasmin Castro

"I do strength training three times a week. I started with mostly bodyweight exercises (lunges, squats, and push-ups) and now use a lot of free weights. Strength transformed my body. Suddenly I had... muscles, and I've lost inches all over and my clothes fit better. I also just love being strong and being able to lift things. Not losing my breath when I go up stairs is amazing. Being stronger feels amazing — I can do things I never did before and always want to challenge myself."

—Yasmin Castro, 29 (lost 100 pounds over two years)

2. Start moving and stay accountable by finding a group workout to participate in.

Courtesy Andrew

"In the summer of 2012, I moved to a new city and some of my new co-workers invited me to join them on a weekly Saturday morning run. They were inviting, not intimidating, and so supportive. Those runs are what helped me stick with it. It was certainly hard, but that group included runners of all skill and experience levels. Not only was a group run a way to hold myself accountable, but it was also a lot of fun.

When I started out, I had chosen a two-mile loop, and it was my goal to conquer that loop. Starting out, I would run maybe 20% of it, and walk the rest. But each run I would challenge myself to run a little bit more, incrementally, until I could run the whole thing."

—Andrew, 31 (lost 160 pounds over two and a half years)

3. Consider seriously cutting down on fast food and alcohol.

Courtesy Rachel Silski

"I made the decision to cut them out because I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and my doctor said it would help my weight loss. I slowly cut out fast food and alcohol, and after about a month I no longer wanted them.

I feel so much better every day. In the beginning my body felt sluggish and tired. But after a few weeks I had more energy and was able to do more. I could also put more into my gym routine after cutting all of that out. Now I even prefer to eat something healthier for myself."

—Rachel Silski, 29 (lost 42 pounds over 10 months)

4. Think about seeing a mental health professional who can help you work through any issues with food, your weight, etc.

Courtesy Arya

"Though I didn't know it at the time, a lot of my weight gain could be attributed to my struggle with major depression and my need to self-medicate with food. I rarely exercised and used to sneak out late at night for fast food binges. At the recommendation of a friend, I began speaking to a therapist to not only work out the issues regarding my physical health, but to heal in all aspects of my life. I was wary of seeking professional help in the beginning — solely based on the stigma alone — but I wouldn't have been able to turn my life around without it.

It was in therapy that I learned I use food as a crutch to escape from the present, so I worked to channel that energy elsewhere. Since the beginning of my journey, I now run three to four times per week and am conscious to not rely on food to escape from my personal issues."

—Arya Roshanian, 25 (lost 125 pounds over five years)

5. Find an active hobby and really make time for it.

Courtesy Nikki Gibson

"After moving from Florida to St. George, Utah, I'm really spoiled with all the hiking trails around me, especially in Zion National Park. I also brought my English Springer Spaniel, Tripp, with me and he truly saved my life. He is so full of energy and is the best hiking buddy a gal could want.

He became my amazing workout partner. I lost about 50 pounds just by eating healthier and working out by hiking and running with my dog. This is the healthiest I have been in years and I can't wait to see what 2017 has in store for me."

—Nikki Gibson, 34 (lost 49 pounds over 10 months)

6. Learn a bit about macronutrients and how you can use them to create more balanced meals.

Courtesy Greg Hirtzel

"I quickly realized that when I ate well and drank a lot of water, I didn’t feel all that hungry, even though I was eating much less than I used to. Following my macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbs) actually allowed for some pretty delicious meals, so I was happy with what I was eating. I learned to make a hundred different recipes with chicken, turkey, or fish. It’s amazing how versatile those meats are, so I was rarely bored. Luckily, I have always loved to cook and make great meals, and eating healthier was a great challenge to expand my repertoire of recipes."

—Greg Hirtzel, 30 (lost 50 pounds over six months)

7. Write out all the healthy things you love eating, and then plan meals around that.

Courtesy Caira Martinez

"I made a list of the things I like to eat, what vegetables I like and so on, and looked up recipes that included them. Now, every Saturday/Sunday, depending on when I have time, I sit and plan all my meals for the upcoming week.

I prep, cook, and pack my meals the night before (usually after dinner). Is it hard? Yes! It requires me to make an extra effort and work for it and the results are worth it!"

—Caira Martinez, 35 (lost 66 pounds over five months)

8. Give yourself a chance to fall in ~love~ with vegetables.

Courtesy Sarah Cutting

"I had toyed with the idea of becoming a vegetarian before, so going plant-based didn’t seem like too big of a stretch. I removed meat and most or all dairy. I began eating as many vegetables as I could and cooking the majority of my meals.

It was hard at first because I was so used to the high-fat, high-calorie diet that I had been fed my entire life. But seeing I was down around 10 pounds made it worth it! I was still eating a TON of calories but they were foods that were better for me. I now crave things I never thought I would want. I love Brussels sprouts and I slather hummus on almost everything. It’s made me so much more adventurous in what I eat. Sometimes I miss the things I gave up, but I have my health and life back and I never thought I would be able to say that, and yet here I am."

—Sarah Cutting, 31 (lost 130 pounds over four years)

9. Start small (very small) and gradually add more to your routine.

Courtesy Malia Forney

"I would bike to work twice a week until I was comfortable and then increase the amount of days I biked to work. Biking created a domino effect; from biking, I moved to running and yoga (which helped stretch my tight muscles from biking and running), and from running, I moved to full-body workouts, including lifting weights. Now I bike for fun and transportation and I am currently training for the 10K run at the Puerto Rico Half-Marathon in March.

Be patient with your body and its limits, be forgiving towards your body (take breaks, don’t get upset at limits your body hasn’t reached yet), and get comfortable with sweating publicly."

— Malia Forney, 23 (lost 75 pounds over two and a half years)

10. If you can swing it, hire a personal trainer if you know that will help you push yourself and stay accountable.

Courtesy Erin Peters

"Working with my trainer has allowed me the ability to push myself harder. I realized that physically, I'm capable of doing more than I thought and it was the mental block holding me back. I always thought I was too weak, or too fat, or too tired, so I needed that push to tell me “five more seconds,” or “10 more seconds."

It wasn’t hard to get started, what was hard was the accountability. I also tried to convince myself it was too expensive. When I realized how much I was spending on unhealthy eating (fast food, restaurants, etc.) and what I would spend on medical bills if I stayed drastically overweight in my later years, I am actually saving money."

—Erin Peters, 32 (lost 130 pounds over one year and one month)

11. Commit to doing something for 90 days.

Courtesy Maatra Henderson

"I dedicated myself to being committed to 90 days of eating right, drinking lots of water, cutting out alcohol, and exercising at least five days a week. I also found ways to incorporate physical activities into my life: dance classes, joining a volleyball league, and a dodgeball team, etc.

For the first 30 days it was extremely hard and frustrating, but after about 45 days, it all sort of became second nature. My body adjusted to waking up early, my tastebuds adjusted to eating less salt and sugar, and I had fewer cravings for the unhealthy things I use to enjoy. Following the 90 days, my new routine wasn't hard to keep up with at all. It turned into my new normal."

—Maatra Henderson (lost 40 pounds over a year)

12. Resolve not to get your sugar fix from drinks like soda, juice, and other sweetened beverages

Courtesy Erin Miller

"I stopped buying regular Coke at the grocery store, fast food places, and restaurants. I also started drinking coffee for the first time to get my caffeine fix. I can't say I don't still have a sweet tooth sometimes, because I do. But if I'm going to splurge on sugar, I'm not going to waste it on a soda.

Immediately, I thought I was going to die from withdrawals (not really but it sucked). I craved soda, which put me in a bad mood. But it didn't take long for that to subside and for me to get used to my new soda-free lifestyle. I felt more energized and less lethargic, less dependent on short-term sugar highs to get me through the day. My mood improved and I felt healthier in general. I won't look back."

—Erin Miller, 30 years old (lost 90 pounds over two years and four months)

13. Find your "why" and think of it often.

Courtesy Emily Dougherty

"It was really hard at first to stick to healthy eating. But I just kept thinking there was a bigger purpose for this. I reminded myself that one day I wanted to go to Machu Picchu. I've been lucky to travel some places but I thought about all the places I still want to go visit, or even live, but haven't because I wasn't in the right shape for it.

I had never tried to lose weight truly for myself before this, so when I lost 50 pounds, I nearly had a panic attack. I thought why am I not jumping up and down excited? I just burst into tears. Because I never thought I could do it. I never thought I'd achieve it. But I did."

—Emily Dougherty, 27 (lost 64 pounds over five months)

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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