Before: 186 pounds
After: 142 pounds
“I started menopausal symptoms at 40, was put on synthetic hormones, and quit smoking after 15 years of the habit, all in the same year,” says Kathy Hebdon, 45. The result: The stay-at-home mom packed on close to 40 pounds in 2 years and went from a size 8 to size 14. “I never thought in a million years I would get my body back,” she says. “Everything I read told me that your body is just not the same after menopause.”
These healthy weight loss success stories will motivate you to eat right, burn calories, and get the best body you've always wanted
The Turning Point
“I would watch The Biggest Loser, and anytime I saw someone’s success story I would just cry. It made me realize just how uncomfortable I was in my own skin,” Kathy says. Enough was enough. On January 1, 2010, she vowed to make a change in her life.
Kathy started off by following the Nutrisystem diet for 4 months. “I knew I had to have a plan that was laid out for me when it came to eating. I knew myself well enough [to know] that I’d cheat,” she says. By the time she was ready to go off of the diet, she had learned to load up on lean protein and control her portions, and she had a newfound love for vegetables. On the weekends, she cuts up veggies for the week and stores them in the fridge at eye level so she’s more likely to snack on them. (Search: How to eat more veggies)
Kathy used to exercise regularly before having kids, so starting back up wasn’t hard. At first she kept it to 20 minutes a day and exercised with Jillian Michaels’ DVDs, eventually moving on to weight training and intervals. These days, Kathy is the head coach of her local Girls on the Run group and plans on becoming a certified personal trainer.
Video: Age-defying yoga routine
“Of course skinny jeans are a big motivator,” says Kathy, now 44 pounds lighter. But what really keeps her motivated to stay on track is her new energy level. “I get so much accomplished now. It made me realize how lazy I was. Now I’m able to run around with my kids, water-ski with them, and more.”
Fitting into size 4 clothing isn’t the only perk of getting fit. Kathy’s cholesterol and blood pressure levels dropped into a healthy range, and she’s no longer on antidepressants—all benefits that she attributes to her lifestyle changes. “Everything about my health has changed now,” she says. “I really thought that, being post-menopausal, I was doomed to have a potbelly, but now I’m at my personal best. I look better than I did in my 20s and teens. I can’t believe that I did it!”
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Fill half your plate with veggies. “Now, I’m not intimidated by veggies. The interesting thing is the more vegetables I ate, the more I craved.”
Treat yourself to a low-calorie sweet. “I love to take a graham cracker with a little bit of almond butter and a square of dark chocolate.”
Next up: We lost over 100 pounds—each!