Before: 220 pounds
After: 135 pounds
Height: 5' 3"
Katrina McCloud, 32, gave up meat in high school for ethical reasons. But instead of filling the void with fruits and veggies, she became a carb queen. (Search: Healthy Vegetarian Meals) "I ate a lot of white, starchy things," she recalls. Her first job as an elementary school music teacher didn't help: "Once I had my own salary, I went out to eat a lot more often," she says. (Video: 3 Tricks to Eat Less) Getting married and having two kids gave her more excuses not to focus on herself, and in 2009, at 220 pounds, 5'3" Katrina was the heaviest she'd ever been. Learn how to transform your body forever with the NEW Spartacus Workout!
The extra weight made even walking around the mall a struggle for Katrina. "I would get out of breath so easily," she says. And she was constantly frustrated trying to find clothes for her size-24 body. One June day, the normally happy-go-lucky Katrina had "a complete meltdown" in the dressing room of a plus-size clothing store. "I was spending a bunch of money on clothes I didn't even like. I hated looking at pictures of myself," she says. "My body didn't match who I was." (Building calorie-burning muscle will help you slim down. Learn How to Lose Weight With Strength Training.)
At her very next meal, Katrina started counting calories and monitoring portion sizes. Over time, she swapped processed white bread and pasta for more satisfying carbs, like whole grains and vegetables. After she'd shed 40 pounds, she added morning runs. (Do you want to start running? Try our Beginner’s Running Plan.) One year in, she hit 160 pounds—lighter than she'd been at her high school graduation. But she wasn't done. She cut dairy from her diet and joined a gym. "I try to take as many classes at the gym as possible," she says. In October 2010, Katrina's scale settled at 135 pounds. "I felt alive and confident, and like me again," she says.
Now, Katrina can keep up with all of her kids, both at home and in the classroom, and her confidence is through the roof. "Exercise is something nice I do for myself," she says. "And I've never felt better!"
- Don't stick with it. "Switch up your workout so you don't get bored doing the same thing. It keeps you motivated and challenges your body."
- Read the fine print. "I try to eat foods that have no more than three ingredients, so what I'm putting into my body is as natural as possible." (Do you need to make over your grocery list? Here, 15 Superfoods to Add to Your Cart.)
- Drink up to wind down. "I always drink herbal tea after dinner to signal that dinner's over and to curb snacking."