Before: 179 lbs
After: 138 lbs
Playing softball helped keep Lincoln, Nebraska, native Shannon Moore, 31, a slim size 6 throughout high school, but her weight started to creep up after she landed an office job. Tethered to her desk, she never exercised—and she started ordering pizza or a giant burrito for lunch. "I ate whatever was most convenient," she says. "I never thought about nutrition." In 2006, Shannon wore a size 14 dress to her wedding, then tacked 25 more pounds of "love chub" onto her 5'8" frame during her first year of marriage.
In January 2008, Shannon's company instituted a system that used health tests to determine employees' insurance deductibles. Shannon, who was 179 pounds at that point, was looking at a steep increase in payments. "Finally," she says, "I had a reason to get fit."
For a week, Shannon wrote down everything she ate. "Turned out that if it wasn't takeout or fast food, my meals came from a box," she says. "And I was drinking five cans of soda a day!" (Search: How to kick the soda habit) She began trading processed foods for fresh fruits and veggies, learned to cook healthy versions of the greasy dishes she used to order in, and joined a gym to walk on the treadmill or use an elliptical for 30 minutes five days a week.
Six months later, she was 10 pounds lighter. To accelerate her weight loss, she stopped chasing workouts with a big bowl of cereal, upped her cardio sessions to one hour, and added strength training three times a week. By December 2010, she dropped 31 more pounds and was a size 4. "I had a fit body again, and I loved it!" she says.
Shannon is now at a healthy weight and up for any fitness challenge. "It's very liberating when you're not restricted by your body," she says. "My confidence is high, and I feel that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to."
Keep your thighs on the prize. "I set new goals and give myself nonfood rewards when I reach them, such as a bottle of nail polish or a good book."
Have night sweats. "I'm a night owl, and sometimes I head to the gym at 9 p.m. and stay as late as midnight. I don't feel as rushed when it's less crowded, and I have more time to focus on my workout."
Go au naturel. Running is my time to decompress, so I try to find scenic routes where all I can hear is the birds chirping. There's nothing more relaxing, and it makes my run go by faster." (Sign up for our 5-K program and start running today.)
Up next: We Lost Over 100 Pounds—Each!