You can lose weight and keep it off forever. How can I be so sure? Besides mountains of research from leading experts, there are thousands of Prevention readers who have successfully done it. Over the years, their letters and emails have been filled with practical tips, as well as the pride and pleasure of people who feel great about themselves. They can run, jump, play on the floor with the kids, wear sexy clothes—newly empowered to do whatever they want.
That's why I decided to create the book Win the Fat War, a collection of stories and successful strategies for permanent weight loss. Here are some useful tips that will inspire you:
Believe in Yourself
1. Ditch all-or-nothing thinking: Every time that Sandra Wadsworth, 41, attempted weight loss, she'd quit at the first slip up. "But I finally lost 20 pounds when Weight Watchers helped me see that I wasn't a bad person. Everyone makes mistakes. The key is to learn from them."
2. Start with a bang: At 315 pounds, Kelly Feick had long hidden behind her blond, waist-length hair. But when she decided to take a risk and cut it, her courage to change sparked a sense of purpose and commitment. Kelly, 32, began eating healthier and walking every day. In one year, she dropped from a size 30 to a size 4. Pounds lost: 185.
3. Seize your strength: "I stopped telling myself that I was destined to be overweight forever," says Adrienne Sussman, 52. "I accepted that whatever was broken, I had the power to fix." To get comfortable with yourself, stand in front of a mirror completely naked every couple of weeks. Find one body part that you like—even if it's your elbows. When Adrienne stopped berating herself, she shed 30 pounds.
4. Make a dream book: "Before I could change my body, I had to change my thinking," recalls Sonia Turner, 43. "To build my confidence, I created a scrapbook of people exercising and overcoming adversity. I included a photo of my husband's company Christmas party. I'd always stayed home because I was embarrassed, but I announced, 'Next year, we're going.'" When the holidays rolled around, Sonia had lost 135 pounds. She and her husband danced the night away.
5. See a professional: At age 50, George Trott was diagnosed with diabetes and heart disease. That news got him to trim down 40 pounds, but he needed to lose more. On the suggestion of his daughter, he visited a dietitian who helped him fine-tune his diet. He finally shed all the necessary pounds, and his subsequent blood tests improved, too.
6. Be Flexible: Kris Roberts's schedule didn't allow her to set up a rigid exercise routine. So Kris, 37, took a different approach. "I did whatever was most convenient. My only goal was to do something to raise my heart rate and work up a sweat every day—even if only for five minutes." Her flexibility kept Kris motivated to exercise and enjoy it. She's maintained her 50-pound weight loss for 10 years.