Anyone who's able to lose more than 100 pounds and keep it off possesses the trait of sheer determination, but each story from this weight-loss elite is a unique victory with its own tips and tactics.
These three people shared lessons learned from weeks, months and years of losing weight.
While you're admiring their success, you might just find a path that will work for you:
Lee Jordan, as reported in Shape
At his heaviest, Jordan weighed 450 pounds; he lost 275 pounds to get down to 175.
Why he started: Jordan had required an oxygen tank for two years.
First steps: "I made a decision one day to stop living trapped in yesterday or worried about what tomorrow holds, and to be in the present moment and take action," Jordan told Shape. "That was the start of my new life."
He started with 30 seconds of exercise, walking up and down a small hill. "Now I do triathlons," he noted. He also works as certified health coach and personal trainer.
Most important advice: Jordan advocates starting small. "Advancement toward your weight-loss goal comes through frequency and consistency, not intensity," he said. He also recommends beginning the day with activity. "I've found that exercise first thing in the morning sets you up for success and pays significant physiological as well as psychological benefits that will have an effect on the rest of your day."
Tracie Ross, as reported in Health
Ross lost 130 pounds, starting at 293 pounds and ending up at 163.
Why she started: Ross reached nearly 300 pounds before she took charge of her health.
First steps: Ross started walking on lunch breaks and cutting calories. She also started facing her emotions "head-on instead of eating the pain away."
Most important advice: Ross said jogging and a group of supportive friends helped her keep the weight off for good.
Tiffany Kessler, as reported in Prevention
Kessler lost about 100 pounds, starting at 330 pounds and getting down to around 230.
Why she started: Kessler was depressed, had high blood pressure and was about to go on medication that she'd need to take the rest of her life when she started her weight-loss journey.
First steps: Kessler started walking, inspired by her son's 20-pound weight loss for his high school football team. "I stood in the doorway looking down the street," she told Prevention. "I went out on the porch. And then I forced myself to walk to the corner of my block and back. It was like I was coming out of a cocoon or something. That little walk was the beginning of a new me."
Kessler also made alterations to her diet, using My Fitness Pal to limit her intake to no more than 1,600 calories a day. She also stopped drinking soda and exchanged calorie-dense foods for calorie-light ones.
Most important advice: Kessler stays motivated with her Facebook page, "It's Real and I'm Living It." "I've encountered darkness and self-hate, and I can honestly say: If you don't accept that you're turning to food to make yourself feel better, you'll end up unhealthy, unhappy, and facing potentially deadly consequences. The key is to take that first step."
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