Facing a big birthday at her heaviest weight, Jennifer Lasher turned to friends for shape-up advice.
Before: 210 lb.
Dress size: 16
After: 135 lb.
Dress size: 6
Total pounds lost: 75 lb.
Sizes lost: 5
Growing up Italian, I had carb-heavy meals as the usual dinner fare. And while I exercised at times in high school and college, my weight would continually flip-flop: down a few pounds one month, then back up two months later. Once I married and had kids, any interest in going to the gym was gone; the baby weight never went away. By March 2013, I was 210 pounds, my highest ever, and it struck me that I would soon be 40, overweight and unhappy. So I decided it was time to drop the weight for good.
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Real food = real energy
Using all the healthy lifestyle tips I'd learned from magazines and my girlfriends, I cleaned up my diet, swapping deli sandwiches with high-sodium meat and mayo for Tupperware containers of big butter-lettuce salads topped with carrots, walnuts, feta and homemade dressing. Tracking everything I ate held me accountable, and I found that ditching processed foods left me with more energy, a clear head and better skin, too.
Couch to 26.2
Next, I tackled a longtime goal: running. I had wanted to start my entire life, but I never had the confidence to lace up my sneakers. With a friend, I slowly moved from power walking to hitting the trails for 10-milers. It was overwhelming at firstÂI was often out of breathÂbut I quickly gained strength. Thanks also to my healthy eating, I dropped 35 pounds in four months. I reached my goal weight of 140 in September 2014, and now I'm happily at 135 pounds! I'm even running my first marathon next May. I'm not out there to break any records, just to run and love it.
Jennifer's Weight-Loss Journal
To lose big, Jennifer got advice from friends. Now she's sharing her own hard-won secrets. Find even more tips at health.com/weight-loss-stories.
Set scary goals
My goal is to run 100 miles in a month. I finally hit it (and then some) this past August, with 104.
As an Italian-American, I find it tough to cut out pasta, but I use zucchini linguine or spaghetti squash instead. It's just as delicious!
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Carry a Mary Poppins purse
My bag is always packed with nuts, apples and hard-boiled eggs. It stops me from getting so hungry that I overeat.
Become an early bird
My old excuse: I have no time to exercise with two kids and a full-time job. Now I fit in a two-mile run and strength training at 5 a.m., long before my children get up and I head to work.
Share your transformation
Did you reshape your body? Tell us about it at health.com/i-did-it and let us know what diet and fitness strategies worked for you.