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    17 Real Weight Loss Tips From People Who Lost 40+ Pounds

    Real tips, real people, and real results that'll help you with your 2020 resolutions.

    We asked the BuzzFeed Community to share the best tips that helped them on their weight loss journeys. Everyone's experiences and bodies are different, but here's what worked for them.

    1. Don't feel like you need to do a complete overhaul when you get started. Try making small changes at first, and then go from there.

    At the beginning of 2018, I had been at my heaviest since having my second child. I wanted to feel good about myself and get healthy for my kids. I first started by making tiny changes in my diet (like substituting regular cream and sugar in my coffee for skim milk and Splenda). After the first two months of changing what I was eating, I joined a small local gym that does HIIT (high-intensity interval training). I never thought I'd love working out so much, but I felt so strong and really started to see my body change. It was a total lifestyle change. It wasn’t easy, but in total I lost 45 pounds in 2018.


    2. Give up soda, and stop drinking your calories.

    Over four years I lost 130 pounds. It all started with my mom's unexpected death from a heart attack, which caused me to reevaluate my own health choices. I started making tiny changes, like eliminating soda (which was a huge help) and walking instead of driving when possible. The usual things you'd assume – like focusing on your nutrition and exercising – really do work over time. I promise.


    3. Don't think of your fitness journey as a "diet." Diets imply that you're limiting your body, so try to think of this as a lifestyle change.

    I've spent the last three years making small decisions every day for a healthier lifestyle. I've been trading fast food for meal-prepped food, and I've subbed Netflix marathons for ultramarathons on trails.

    I’ve dropped 120+ pounds and gained a whole new world! No fad diets, no supplements, no pills, and no weird shakes – just good, old, better nutrition and exercise. The key was that I never called it a “diet." Instead, I chose to find a sustainable lifestyle that would ensure I stuck with it. Maintaining my weight around 150 pounds from 270+ has completely changed the trajectory of my life!


    4. Find something in your life that'll inspire you to be more active, like this woman who got a dog.

    I spent years using food as an escape from my depression and anxiety, and I hid behind my computer playing video games. Then I got a dog (two puppy Australian Cattle Dogs, to be exact). They were nuts, and I couldn't keep up with them. They deserved more, and I knew it was time for a change. I started to eat better, and from there I took baby steps. Eventually the weight came off. I spent too much time letting my mental illness control my life. Every day gets better. So far I've lost 90 pounds (from 260 to 170).


    5. Walk. Everywhere.

    I used to be a super active teen, but when I got to college I started having really bad anxiety. I didn't have time to exercise, and my food habits were terrible. When I graduated I decided I need to get back to my old habits. I wanted to be healthier again because I didn't recognize myself anymore. I started walking a little bit every day. When I felt comfortable and confident enough to do more, I started trying other things, like pilates and boxing. Now I do pole dancing and even go running a few times a week. I'm down 50 pounds!


    6. Delete all of those photo-editing apps from your phone and computer.

    In January of 2018, I was the heaviest I had ever been in my adult life. I'd let the weight of the world and the pressure from work, family, my future, etc. take over my life. I was unhealthy, both mentally and physically. I realized that I needed to prioritize myself. I needed to learn to love myself, which was so difficult (and even now it's still hard).

    But I set a goal for myself, and that was to delete any photo-editing software off of my phone. This way, I'd make peace with my image issues but also find true value in who I am, inside and out. I was going to put myself first because I'm important and I deserve to be happy. This mental change in how I saw and appreciated myself helped me lose 50 pounds. It was difficult, I'm not going to lie. But I'm doing this for me. Just for me this time.


    7. Focus on and celebrate smaller victories that aren't strictly about the number of pounds you've lost.

    In February of 2016, I got a Fitbit. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. It taught me about calorie counting, exercise, and overall wellness. The biggest thing that helped me was realizing that your weight isn’t always going to drop. You’ll have weeks where things stay the same, weeks where your weight goes up, and weeks where it goes down, but don’t focus on your weight in the short term. Focus on the long term.

    It's been three years since then, and I've lost nearly 90 pounds. It really helped to set achievable goals for myself. I'm so proud of myself for the determination I've shown over the last several years. If you’re not in it for the right reasons, and if you aren’t dedicated, then you won’t lose weight/get healthy/feel stronger/whatever your goal is.


    8. Teach yourself about serving sizes, food habits, and calories.

    I began the year at 310 pounds, the heaviest I had ever been. I decided it was time to make a change. I started with some dieting and exercise and saw some (but not many) results. Then, in March, I came across an ad for a program called Noom. It peaked my interest, so I downloaded it and quickly realized it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

    The program taught me about my own food habits, portion control, and how to set healthy and obtainable goals. Since then, I've continued to make more and more changes to my diet and exercise routines to increase my overall health. In 9.5 months I've lost a total of 111 pounds, and I'm officially under 200 for the first time since middle school! People keep saying how great I look, but to me the joy I feel comes not from the way I look but from the way I feel, which is absolutely incredible!


    9. Write a brutally honest letter to yourself about why you want to make a change.

    Sarie Bronish / BuzzFeed

    I wrote my future-self a letter in case I ever needed motivation. I was as honest as I could ever be, and the letter was heartbreaking. However, it was real, and I needed it many times. It helped me get through my hardest days. As a result, I lost 95 pounds in about 18 months.

    —Sarie Bronish

    10. Make working out an activity you can do with someone else, as a way to keep each other motivated.

    I started out not even trying to lose weight. My wife started working out before bed, and I joined in to spend time with her. I was still eating the same way, but after a month or so I got on the scale and found out I lost 10 pounds! I never thought I'd actually lose any weight, so this was huge and a great motivator. I started to eat healthier and got more into exercising. I'd even wake up early to swim laps most mornings. I’m now down almost 80 pounds. To say my life has changed is an understatement.


    11. Commit to doing something for a shorter period of time (like 30, 60, or 90 days) instead of looking at this as a never-ending journey. As a result, tackling your nutrition and fitness may be less intimidating.

    Maatra Henderson / BuzzFeed

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

    For the first 30 days, it was extremely hard and frustrating. 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 previously enjoyed. Following the 90 days, my new routine wasn't hard to keep up with at all. It turned into my new normal. I lost 40 pounds in about a year.

    —Maatra Henderson

    12. Post about your journey online so other people can follow along and help hold you accountable.

    I was miserable, pre-diabetic, and insulin resistant with awful PCOS symptoms. Then I started keto (a high-fat, low-carb diet) back in January of 2018. After nearly a year, I've lost almost 70 pounds, gotten myself out of pre-diabetic status, and reversed my insulin resistance. I also barely experience any PCOS symptoms. The thing that really got me through it was by starting an Instagram account to document my entire keto journey. It's helped me stay motivated by being a part of a community!


    13. Understand that it's difficult to change your outside without looking in, so try to identify how and why you feel a certain way.

    The best thing I did was figure out how to identify baggage and deal with it head on. I was in a manipulative relationship that led me to eat out after a long day at work because I didn't want to go home. When I was home, I munched on anything that would help me suppress the fact that I was stressed, depressed, and anxious. I ignored all of the signs that something was wrong, but reality smacked me in the face with a major health scare due to my being overweight, out of shape, lacking in vital nutrients, and depressed. It scared me enough to finally ask myself the "why" and face the root cause before it potentially killed me. I realized it was toxic excess baggage in the form of people and circumstance.

    So, I stopped trying to hide from it. I left my ex-fiancé, I stopped eating out, and I started hitting the gym. It took me about two months before I finally became consistent with a gym routine. Then I started making little nutritional changes, and everything else fell into place. I learned how to meal prep, I got a 32-ounce water bottle and made sure I drank and refilled it several times a day, and I even took a nutrition class to gain a greater understanding of diet, macronutrients, and food in general. But, most importantly, I remained consistent and persisted.

    I've lost 112 pounds in about a year. I'm happier, more confident, and so much stronger than ever before.


    14. Try to find new activities and habits that will actually make working out enjoyable and fun for you, rather than a chore.

    A year ago I started using the "Lose It!" app. I found a way to make working out fun, and now I actually like doing it. I’ve even gotten into running, which I swore I’d never do! But it’s fun! Same with biking and hiking. And now I'm down 64 pounds!


    15. Instead of setting unrealistic lifestyle goals for yourself, focus on making achievable lifestyle changes.

    So far I've lost 106 pounds! I was at my heaviest at 286 pounds back when I started college. It took me four years to get down to 180 pounds, and I spent the last few years rebuilding my muscle mass and getting to a healthier weight.

    My biggest saving grace was meal-prepping. Instead of continuing my unhealthy relationship with food, I began appreciating how to create healthy and sustainable eating options that worked with my busy schedule and kept me from getting bored and from emotionally overeating. As soon as food became an ally rather than an enemy, everything else started to fall into place.

    Another huge lifestyle change was switching from unrealistic goals (like wanting to loose xx pounds in a year) to achievable lifestyle changes (like wanting to work out three times a week, or replacing sugary drinks with water). Setting yourself up for small successes at the beginning leads to incredibly big successes at the end of the day.


    16. Don't feel forced to cook every single meal, and understand that it's still okay to eat at your favorite restaurants.

    I’m a flight attendant, so I’m always on the go and eating at fast-food places. The WW app was the backbone to my success, because they have the point value of all the menu items at every chain restaurant, and it steered me in the right direction! Everyone thinks they have to meal prep to lose weight, but most fast-food joints have hopped on the healthy trend, so it’s actually easy to eat healthy on the go! I've lost 70 pounds in about eight months!


    17. And most importantly, understand that there's no quick fix. This journey will be a process that requires patience and consistency.

    Over the last four years, I’ve lost 60+ pounds. The best motivation for loosing weight and keeping it off for me was to learn to love and respect myself. Coming out, cutting toxic people and negativity from life, and learning what I wanted from life helped me to stop comforting myself with food.

    Going to the gym consistently, eating when my body told me to eat, and drinking a lottttt of water were also habits I created slowly. Don’t pressure yourself, and don’t take it too seriously. Being patient, kind, and loving to yourself can be the biggest factors to becoming the better version of you that you want to be.


    Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.