Embarking on a new weight-loss plan can be confusing and overwhelming. But even if you’ve tried—and failed—to lose weight in the past, there’s always a chance to meet your goals and drop the weight for good.
Take it from these 16 people who successfully lost more than 20 pounds and have kept it off. Although each person had his or her own unique journey, they all share one common thread—believing in yourself and never giving up.
Read through their best tips and get inspired to jumpstart your own weight-loss plan. For more inspiration, check out our gallery of what real people look like after losing 30 pounds. And if you’re curious about how one of the best weight loss drinks can impact your health, you’ll also want to know about What Happens to Your Body When You Drink a Smoothie Every Day.
“Focus on adding things in rather than cutting them out. Add in the good foods and eventually, they will crowd out the bad.” — Suzanne Culberg, 156 pounds lost
STAY INFORMED: Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest food news delivered straight to your inbox.
“My number one tip is to weigh and measure your food. It sounds tedious, but in reality it’s super quick and easy, and prevents extra calories from sneaking in. I weigh all protein servings and measure all liquids like oils and salad dressings. At this point, it’s just a habit for me… When I slip up and stop doing it for awhile, the scale inevitably creeps up.” — Kat Carney, 90 pounds lost
“My number one tip is to cut sugar out of your diet. The ketogenic diet, in addition to willpower, helped me lose the weight and keep it off. Also, a diet of delicious meats, cheeses, bacon and other fatty foods is very easy to follow.” — Chase Bowler, 75 pounds lost
For help on kicking your sugar cravings for good, be sure to order a copy of the Zero Sugar Diet. Participants lost up to a pound a day on the program!
“Choose a nutrition plan you can live with. We think of diets as short-term plans, but they’re actually training for a lifestyle of healthy eating.” — Renée Jones, 30 pounds lost
That’s why you should probably avoid the 50 Unhealthiest Ways to Lose Weight.
“My number one tip is to let go of the all-or-nothing mentality and accept that your journey will not be perfect. Don’t use slip-ups as an excuse to go crazy and sabotage all of your hard work. My most successful clients are the ones that accept failure (aka slip-ups) as a part of the journey. The least successful people are the ones who try to be perfect 100 percent of the time and instead allow one misstep to derail everything.” — Jaime Morocco, more than 20 pounds lost
“My number one weight loss tip? Ask yourself: Honestly, do you really want to lose weight, do you really want to change your diet? And by change your diet, I mean, change the way you eat for the rest of your life? If you cannot truly say that in your heart of hearts your willing to make this change, forget it, you may lose a few pounds, but you’re going to end up gaining them back and probably more.” — Dan Collins, more than 40 pounds lost
Having a gym schedule, making goals and sticking to meal prepping helped Puglielli lose her weight. Even though she is happy with her weight currently, she still maintains these healthy habits. “It is consistency,” she says. “Meal prep is huge. You got to get to the gym, you got to go. Once you do, you will feel better.” — Emily Puglielli, more than 150 pounds lost
For some ideas to start your own, don’t miss these 21 Healthy Eating Habits That Help You Lose Weight.
“Prepare for success, because a goal without a plan is just a wish. The average person knows the formula for weight loss. We know what to do, but the most common excuse I hear is the lack of time. If you prepare for your success, you throw every excuse out the window. Prepping can take form in make ways: going to the grocery store for meal prep, planning out your weekly workouts by rearranging your schedule, or laying your clothes out at night. Stock your kitchen with the healthy foods and invest in a digital food scale, measuring cups, and Tupperware. If you have a full-time job, set aside time on the weekend to think about the week ahead and what you will be eating. It doesn’t need to take up the entire weekend, just 1-2 hours that will go a long way.” — Rachel Kasab, 60 pounds lost
“I recorded, and record, every calorie I put in my mouth. Changing my mindset about food and my relationship with it. I am a cognitive behavioral therapist and I used the tools of my craft to change my mind about what I ate, how much I ate and why I was putting it in my mouth.” — David Ezell, 83 pounds lost
RELATED: The Expert Guide to Keeping a Food Journal for Effective Weight Loss
“Stop dieting! Diets are short-term and not sustainable. Make the conscious choice to lose weight and lose it for good. Create new, healthier habits that are sustainable and long-lasting. It has to be a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. It may take longer to see results, but the long-term effects are greater and the likelihood of keeping the weight off is higher.” — Katie Draznin, 150 pounds lost
“Understand that it takes time, but any true behavior pattern does! It takes time to change habits and change things that you have become used to doing for years in some cases. It truly is worth it though!” — Danielle Girdano, more than 200 pounds lost
“The number one piece of advice is write down why you’re doing this. Be specific. You can’t say to be healthy because you’ve always wanted that. Get serious, why now, why this time? What does success look like when you win. Read your why until it’s no longer true—that’s when you’ve changed your life!” — Mike Daggett, 91 pounds lost
“Calorie deficit really is the key factor for weight loss and a calorie deficit usually means dealing with hunger. Dieting with renaissance periodization (RP) taught me how to choose the smartest foods to cope with diet hunger, which makes such a difference for success and ability to stick to the plan. Choosing high-volume foods when calories get low makes dieting bearable. There will still be some hunger, but when you make smarter food selections for your calorie needs, the hunger is reduced to a level that you don’t end up face-first in a cake or feeling so deprived you just throw in the towel and tell yourself you can’t diet.” — Sarah Grant, more than 50 pounds lost
“Train yourself to eat spicy hot food. The uncomfortable heat that’s felt is caused by the release of the chemical capsaicin. Capsaicin triggers the metabolism and peppers add fiber to your diet which is great for digestion! I like to sprinkle cayenne pepper on a hard-boiled egg in the morning to start my daily diet routine.” — VIZIN, Billboard Top 40 artist, 500 pounds lost
“Have faith in yourself that you can make the change to a healthier lifestyle. There is never going to be a right time to start a weight-loss journey, but in the now.” — Alexander Capio, 531 pounds lost
“My advice would be is just be consistent, but don’t deprive yourself of going out once in a while.” — Erin Vavro, more than 50 pounds lost
While we’re all for splurging when you can, keep in mind The Cheat Meals That Are Never Worth it, According to an Expert.