Is there anything more inspiring than a woman who transforms her life through sheer grit and determination? That kind of sweeping, life-altering change can take a lot of different forms — starting a new career, leaving a toxic relationship, getting sober or even losing weight.
A weight-loss transformation for many women extends far beyond appearances. It sparks a new lease on their health and wellness and paves the way for opportunities that were previously out of reach, like traveling, running races and having the energy to keep up with children and the other demands of daily life.
Here, we tapped three women to tell their inspiring weight-loss stories in their own words. Read on as they share exactly how they changed their diets, exercise habits and, ultimately, their mindsets, and prepare to be seriously motivated by their transformations.
Rachel Nipper: Lost 70 Pounds at Age 49
A midlife milestone birthday looming on the horizon was just the oomph Rachel Nipper needed to finally clean up her lifestyle and shed the extra weight she'd been carrying around most of her life.
At 232 pounds, the sometimes-smoker had severe respiratory issues as well as chronic high blood pressure, and she knew she had to take back control of her health. What started as a New Year's resolution snowballed into a full-blown overhaul that saw Nipper learning how to count calories, make better food choices and start exercising for the first time.
Now, at 158 pounds, she's healthier and happier than ever, and she's even inspired her husband to join her get-fit journey.
Read about Nipper's journey in her own words, including the app and social media community that have kept her motivated and on track, even during the toughest moments.
Alison Schultz: Shed More Than 50 Pounds and Quit Drinking
For Alison Schultz, losing weight meant she had to get a handle on another aspect of her life that was seriously affecting her health and relationships: Drinking too much. It had started as a social activity and a way to cope with stress but had slowly begun to affect her whole family — so Schultz vowed to change.
In addition to quitting booze, Schultz began running several days a week and adopted a healthier, everything-in-moderation diet that focused on whole, unprocessed foods. In all, she lost more than 50 pounds in a year and is still going strong.
Get a glimpse at Schultz's weight-loss meal plan and learn about the strategies she's used to help her find a love for exercise and avoid her archnemesis: late-night eating.
Rachel Sharp: Lost 100+ Pounds With Alternate-Day Fasting
At 26, Rachel Sharp had been overweight most of her life and tried just about every weight-loss diet and exercise regimen out there, to no avail — she just couldn't find anything that would stick.
That all changed when she discovered intermittent fasting (IF), a now-popular weight-loss strategy that involves abstaining from food or severely restricting calories for set periods. Sharp opted for a style of IF called alternate-day fasting, which means she eats a full day of healthy meals one day and fasts the next. Although somewhat controversial, this strategy has helped her lose more than 100 pounds and maintain that weight loss.
See how Sharp makes alternate-day fasting work for her, including her meal plan on "eat" days, as well as her best advice for others who want to try this weight-loss strategy.