9 Habits of People Who Have Successfully Lost Weight

Real talk from women who are now 70+ pounds lighter.

There's no shortage of expert weight loss advice out there. But sometimes, after a while, it can start to sound a little unattainable (not to mention repetitive). That's why the best tips can often come from people who've actually been there. 

So let’s set aside the studies for a moment (though if that's what you're looking for we have plenty of tested advice, too). The tips below come from women who have all lost significant amounts of weight—more than 70 pounds each!—which means they understand the frustration, heartbreak, and emotions that can come with trying to slim down. And they also understand what really works to not just get the scale to budge, but to also create a new healthier, sustainable lifestyle. Try their advice to see what works for you.


Go Ahead and Eat the Cupcake (Sometimes)

Photo by James Wojcik

“We’re all human, and sometimes I need dessert!” says Cristina Pappadake-Gomez. So she has it—on occasion, and always after a healthy meal. “'When you eat veggies and protein first, you’re so filled up with the good stuff that there isn’t much room for other foods. And then having just a taste—a few bites—is enough.” It might sound impossible at first, but it’s helped her lose 110 pounds and counting.


Share With Friends

“Because this is a part of my life, there is no way I am going to deprive myself of the things that make me happy,” says Annmarie Mercieri, who has lost more than 85 pounds. “One of the biggest things that helped me is sharing my 'bad' food with someone. This way I’m more prone to eat less of it because I don’t want to wolf the whole thing down in front of my friend.”


Hop on the a Little Scale Less Often

“Don’t weigh yourself every day,” Mercieri says. “So many people become addicted to the scale and lose track of everything else around them. It’s all they think about and then they begin to dread it.” Instead, she suggests weighing yourself at the start of your weight-loss journey. Then set a small goal, like losing two pounds in the next two weeks—and go for it. After two weeks, give yourself the option to weigh yourself again. If you’re not feeling it that day, then wait for two more weeks to check in with yourself. “By weighing yourself every few weeks, you’re giving your mental and emotional health the love it needs,” Mercieri says. “And by setting smaller goals—and ticking those off one by one—you’ll be happier with your progress and it will feel more manageable.”


Try New Things at Least Once

Cara Lynn Moccia started off walking slowly for exercise. When she decided to try a HIIT class, “I was super embarrassed, but I convinced myself that if I hated it, I didn’t have to go back,” she says. Although she did, in fact, hate the class, she liked the instructor, so she decided to give it one more shot. “I ended up loving it and soon made some gym friends. Now if I don’t show, I get a bunch of texts asking where I am,” says Moccia, who’s 117 pounds lighter today. “It’s helpful having a group of friends with the same goal, to be healthy and mindful.”


Make Changes Slowly

Quitting bad habits cold turkey works for some people... but not everyone. “I see a lot of people failing because they find it so difficult to do so. I think it’s okay to slowly cut out bad foods and introduce healthy foods one step at a time,” says Julie Ana Kim, who used to eat fast food every day. She cut it down to twice a week, then once a week, and now never eats fast food. Her change took place over 1 1/2 years, and it helped her lose 72 pounds. Find the right pace for you.


Stay Social

“I believe having a robust social life is important for your mental health,” says Arielle Calderon, who has lost more than 100 pounds. “So I make my schedule work for both my fitness and social life. For instance, if I have a dinner planned on Tuesday night, I’ll run that morning. Or if I have brunch on a Sunday, I’ll do a spin class later in the day. It’s just a matter of making a plan and marking your calendar so you’re organized and don’t have excuses to bow out of a workout.”


Start Every Monday Fresh

Nobody is perfect and life happens. There may be times when you eat more than you wanted to on a weekend, or entire weeks when you don’t get to the gym. Don’t throw in the towel. You can still lose weight—even 100-plus pounds like Rebecca Grafton has. “Giving up because of one bad weekend will not lead to you being successful,” she says. “No matter what happens, start every Monday as a fresh week back on track and a new chance to crush your goals!”


Find a Workout That Doesn't Feel Like Work

Too often we think we “have” to slog away for hours on the dreadmill or force ourselves to do HIIT in order to reach our goal weight. But there’s no reason you can’t lose weight doing a workout you enjoy. “I did ClassPass for several months, and through them, I found Throwback Fitness, which is a fitness studio that bases their program off of old-school gym classes,” says Joyce Wagner. “It’s such a fun and effective workout that has seriously changed my life because not only did they help me grow stronger and kick the last 30-plus pounds of baby weight, it’s helped me change my perception of working out. It is no longer a 'necessary evil,' but an everyday part of my life that keeps me happy and healthy.” Happy and healthy—and now 73 pounds lighter.


Write Down Your Goals

Don’t just have your goals in your head—put them in black and white and refer to them often. “Thoughts wander away as we get consumed in daily life, and these goals may find their way to the back of your mind,” says Kimeh Kizekai. “When you wrote down a goal, it becomes truth and something you are more inclined to remember. Plus, if you keep it somewhere visible, you will see it every day and it becomes a constant reminder.” She created a goal poster and read it out loud every morning, and now she’s lost more than 110 pounds.