7. Don't blame it on age: Connie Bissonnette, 58, had given up, believing that weight gain was a normal part of aging. Her son proved her wrong. "He said, 'Just give me 10 minutes, three times a week,' " Connie recalls. "He devised a workout of exercises such as seated leg lifts and wall push-ups that I did at home." Connie began enjoying the exercises and eventually worked her way up to a 30-minute routine. Pounds lost: 41.
8. Step away from the scale: By the time Kym Hubert's weight reached 245, the 41-year-old was checking her scale three times a day. Desperate to help, her husband smashed the scale. "It was depressing having my 'addiction' taken away," she says. But she started focusing on a new weight-loss interest: walking. When Kym finally weighed herself a year later, she'd lost 80 pounds.
9. Personalize your plan: Dozens of weight-loss plans had failed Lisa Douglass, 29, so she created her own. "I decided to be responsible for my choices," she says. Lisa scoured exercise and nutrition materials, chose the best advice, and developed her own program. She went from 280 pounds to 160 over a two-year period. "Even though I still make bad choices occasionally, I like the fact that I'm making them," she says.
Set the Right Goals:
10. Build on Success: More than 10 years ago, Marlene Dropp, 54, took her first walk around the block in an effort to lose some of her 200 pounds. She set a goal of 5 miles a day. When she achieved that landmark within two months, she came up with a new goal: to cover a mile in 13 minutes. She did that easily and lost 50 pounds in two years. Then Marlene began entering race walking competitions—and had the thrill of completing a marathon for her 51st birthday.
11. Use a symbol: Dinah Burnette, 38, hung an expensive black dress on her closet door. At 245 pounds, she couldn't even pull it over her hips. "I tried it on every four weeks. When I eventually got in it, the buttons were 4 feet apart!" she laughs. One year later and 100 pounds lighter, she fit into the size 12 with room to spare. Ten years later, Dinah still keeps her size 24 dress in the closet as a reminder.
12. Move to eat: Rick Myers's choice was this: Eat fewer calories, or burn more with exercise. He chose the latter and took off more than 50 pounds. In the beginning, Rick, 46, could barely walk for 15 minutes at a time. Now he runs about one hour every day, covering roughly 7 miles. "I switched from walking to running to burn even more calories," he says.
13. Fill up: A 50-year battle of the bulge ended when Helen Stein, 73, admitted her love of eating. Instead of cutting down, she eats large salads, big pink grapefruits, whole cantaloupes and big chunks of watermelon. These make her feel full without the fat or calories piling up. And Helen hasn't regained an ounce of the 38 pounds that she lost 15 years ago.
While dieting can definitely help you reach your ideal body weight, make sure not to ditch these 7 supposedly "forbidden" foods that actually help you lose weight.
14. Seduce your tastebuds: When Alice Layne, 42, traded in pizza for international cuisine, she lost 67 pounds and four dress sizes. "The new tastes transformed my palate."
15. Get it fresh: Carla Tuckerton, 44, stopped having headaches and lost 20 pounds when she gave up highly processed foods. "Almost everything I ate was processed and loaded with artificial sweeteners or salt. I was practically living on frozen dinners, diet sodas and sugar-free desserts."
Now Carla buys fish and chicken from a farmers' market, shops for organically grown fruits and veggies, and cooks her own meals. Spring water with a slice of lemon has replaced colas, and she drinks her tea unsweetened.