If getting in shape, eating better, and shedding a few extra pounds is on your list of must-do activities for 2016, well, get in line—weight loss is one of the least original (but still totally valid) resolutions out there.
When angling toward a fitter bikini body, there’s no one way to go about achieving it—and forking out thousands for a gym membership is a decent start but doesn’t automatically guarantee you Victoria’s Secret curves. So in the spirit of sussing out the weight-loss techniques that actually yield transformational results, we chatted with five real women who have lost weight, from a CrossFit addict to a woman who swears by her organic lifestyle. Keep reading, and start taking notes.
“The two months prior to starting my fitness journey with my friend Emma, we were traveling around Asia while making incredibly poor health choices, and I was in the worst shape of my life! I have always been a very active person and have always loved working out, but with my busy schedule and traveling, I let myself get to a point where I was no longer happy about myself. I found Ashy Bines’s and Kayla Itsine’s guides and programs and loved both their mentality and philosophy of a health journey not only being about physical change but mental and emotional change as well.
Our fitness journey and lifestyle change [started] with a program called Ashy Bines 28-Day Booty Challenge. The program includes workouts, workout guides with explanations and videos of the exercises, as well as a meal plan guide. The workouts take about one hour, but once you are comfortable with the moves and exercises, the workouts get a bit shorter.
After completing the challenge, we saw tremendous changes and wanted to keep up with our progress. We purchased Kayla Itsine’s Bikini Body Guide and dove right in. Kayla Itsines’s guides are broken down into morning walks, as well as three resistance training [sessions] a week. They include two circuits that you complete in intervals of seven minutes for a total of a 28-minute workout. The workouts are HIIT (high-intensity interval training) based. We switched our diets to clean eating with five to six meals a day, focusing on our protein intake as well as proper carbs and fats.
Before starting the first [bodyweight training] guide, I weighed 135 pounds, and now I weigh 115 pounds—I lost 20! I have noticed a huge increase in energy, happiness, and self-confidence! My clothes all fit properly again. It is such an incredible feeling, and I am so happy to not only feel like myself again but to have a whole new respect for my body and how I treat it.”—Carly; 26; Lake Stevens, WA
“I’ve tried a number of gyms and all of the fad diets, but I needed a lifestyle change to see results. I love skiing, but all the good technique in the world doesn’t make up for poor fitness, and when I found CrossFit I fell in love with it immediately.
With the help of my coaches, I also started changing my diet significantly. Now, while I’m not strictly Paleo, I definitely have a Paleo-ish diet (if I could just break up with sugar!) and love it.
In the last year I’ve lost about 30 pounds, and I’m doing it a little slowly because it’s a more realistic and long-term way to do it. I’d love it to happen overnight, but good health is for life, not just for the next swimsuit season! I also love the way my body is so much stronger thanks to the CrossFit—I’m currently on a ski vacation, and I feel fantastic.”—Melissa; 34; Brisbane, Australia
“I’d been overweight my entire life, and as an adult, before having my first child, I weighed 220 pounds. After my [third] pregnancy, I tried to lose weight on my own with some success, but not even close to what I needed. I asked myself how I could be this unhappy when I had three beautiful children and an amazing husband. Then my mom encouraged me to join Jenny Craig—I was scared, embarrassed, and ashamed, and when it was time for me to step on the scale, it read 321 pounds and my tears wouldn’t stop, so I committed to the program.
One aspect of the Jenny Craig program that was so crucial to my success was having my own personal weight-loss consultant who acted as my mentor, cheerleader, and teacher to hold me accountable and encourage me each step of the way. I followed the Jenny Craig menu plan of three meals and three snacks a day, and I was able to add lots of extra vegetables to my menu, which helped to curb my hunger throughout the day.
I lost 122 pounds on Jenny Craig over a period of about 19 months, and my life has changed in so many positive ways. Now, I’m a role model of healthy eating for my family. My doctors had been concerned about my blood pressure, and I was taking medicine to control it—since the weight loss I no longer need it. I went from being morbidly obese to now being told I am healthy.”—Lindsay; 29; Hyannis, MA
“In the past, my body has risen more than 30 pounds over my natural body weight from overeating and eating the wrong foods. I believe that excess weight is a clear signal that there is imbalance in my body, mind, and my behavior—weight gain is simply a symptom of a larger, deeper-rooted behavioral or nutritional issue. I also believe in a holistic approach to maintaining a healthy body weight; nutrition is a major piece of the puzzle, but it cannot exist in a vacuum, and I have gratitude for the daily discipline of my ashtanga yoga practice.
I have worked at Juice Press for two and a half years, and the lifestyle has allowed me to recalibrate at my natural body weight. I now eat organic foods free of dairy, flour, and sugar, and avoid all processed foods. I drink green juice, and I start the day with a custom smoothie made with homemade unsweetened almond milk, greens, avocado, and acai. For lunch, I enjoy a custom salad from Juice Press’s incredible organic salad bar, and I finish my day with a wholesome dinner prepared at home.”—Leah, 34, New York
“Like most people, as the years crept on, so did the pounds. I wasn’t happy with where I was physically, but even more so than that, I wasn’t happy with where I was emotionally. In the past, I’ve used at-home workout videos, walking, resistance training, and cardio along with calorie counting to lose weight. As I got older and my metabolism slowed, I think that these efforts helped slow the weight gain, but didn’t really help me lose any weight.
I was more motivated to join iLoveKickboxing in order to alleviate the stress that had been piling up over the last year or so rather than to lose weight. Weight loss was just a fantastic bonus! The 45-day challenge was a way to keep me motivated to stay on track and do my personal best. Since starting the kickboxing program, I have lost 16 pounds in three months and have maintained my weight loss for an additional four months.
I have so much more energy and confidence since losing the weight. My stress levels have decreased significantly, and I feel like I am able to tackle anything that is put in front of me! I also spend a lot more quality time with my boyfriend because we kickbox together instead of watching TV on the couch.”—Lauren, 36, New Jersey