Jeannette Fender, 32 Asheville, N.C. Height: 5'8" Pre-weight-loss weight: 198 Current weight: 127 Pounds Lost: 71 How she did it: Nutrisystem, exercise
Her top tips: Make realistic goals. "My first week on Nutrisystem I lost 5 pounds, but after that I averaged about 2 pounds a week and there were weeks when I didn't lose anything. There were times when it felt so slow and I would get discouraged, but by sticking with it I was able to lose 71 pounds in a little over 7 months. The biggest thing that kept me going was that even when I didn't see the loss in numbers, I could feel it in the ways my clothes fit. So, remember that it's not all about a huge loss each week and that the little numbers do add up!" Have an accountability partner. "Find someone you trust who will call you on your mistakes. For me, it was my mom. I would say, 'I'm sticking to the plan' and she would say, 'So when did they add McDonald's to the plan?' You have to find someone who is not afraid to be honest with you and will come from a place of love. And someone that you feel completely comfortable being honest with -- even about the number on the scale."
Move every day. "Exercise is not one of my favorite things. But by switching it up and incorporating it into my daily activities it became doable. I made small changes -- like walking to the store (it's close to our house) instead of driving and parking at the very back of the mall parking lot -- that really helped me get in the habit of being more active. A pedometer is also a great way to see how little changes add up, as you can see the number of steps you take on a daily basis and try to beat that number the next day."
Believe in yourself. "One of the hardest obstacles I had to overcome was me! I knew that every other diet had failed so it was hard to go into this one thinking I could do it. But I knew I had to. Overcoming that mental hurdle and committing to a lifestyle that was healthy was huge for me. And convincing myself that it was doable was the most important step." Realize that you don't have to be perfect. "One of the first lessons I had to work on was learning that I was going to mess up. I was going to slip. And in the past when that had happened, I would just abandon my diet completely. Learning that small indulgences are okay and that you just have to jump back on the bandwagon at the next meal was my saving grace. That way, instead of feeling bad and giving up, I could take a slip up for what it was -- a slip up -- and get back on track quickly and easily."