Get inspired by these real women who lost weight and kept it off, and learn their most effective diet tips and exercise advice.
By Allison Baker, Megan Bingham and Caren Oppenheim
Name: Melissa Swanner
Home: Portsmouth, Ohio
Previous Weight: 234 pounds
Current Weight: 123 pounds
Weight Lost: 111 pounds
How I Lost It
I have fun with exercise. One of my favorite workouts is playing a dynamic video game like Wii Fit or EA Sports Active. My 16-year-old daughter and I often do one of the half-hour step aerobics circuits together.
I invested in weight-loss tools. When I started dieting, I made two important purchases: a CalorieKing reference book, which lists calorie counts for everything, and a digital food scale so I can measure serving sizes of fruit, cereal and meat. They were inexpensive but a huge help.
I make healthy swaps when baking. To lighten up a chocolate chip banana muffin recipe, for example, I leave out the nuts, replace oil with sugar-free applesauce, and cut the sugar in half. The muffins are still sweet and delicious, and just 100 calories each.