Downloading one simple app and lacing up her running shoes again helped Barbara Delamarter kick 53 pounds to the curb.

By As told to Rozalynn S. Frazier
Updated February 21, 2019

amy-sandoval-beforeBarbara Delamarter, 38, 5'7"

Before: 185 lbs. (size 14/16)

I never had a weight problem—in fact, I was always active. All that changed, though, when I went from stay-at-home mom to special-education teacher in the summer of 2010. The shake-up to my daily routine wreaked havoc on my eating habits. I reached for anything that was convenient. Instead of cooking, I took my family out for fast food at least three times a week. And the weekends weren't complete without pizza, breadsticks, wings and soda (often all in one meal!). Within a year I'd outgrown my clothes and was carrying about 50 extra pounds.

Not the picture of health
My wake-up call came in the form of a holiday card from my mother, which included photos from a recent family trip. When I looked at the shots, I was mortified! Those images were all I needed to get serious about my health. After New Year's, I downloaded the free app MyFitnessPal and began tracking everything I ate. I also measured my portions to help curb overeating. I cut out soda and made sure I had a veggie such as broccoli or peas with each meal. By the end of the first month, I had knocked off 12 pounds. The initial weight loss completely energized me, and for the first time in over a year I was excited to get out of bed in the morning.

One step at a time
Still, I knew I needed to exercise if I wanted to lose more. So I started walking two miles around my neighborhood every day, and I even ran-walked a 5K. By May I was a full-fledged runner, logging four miles daily. And I was down another 36 pounds! My calves shrank and I finally fit back into the boots I'd thrown in the back of the closet. Even the fat that had settled around my lower back melted away! Almost a year later, I've kept the weight off and am still running. My next challenge? Conquering the Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon course. It's a hard one, but I know I am up to it.
 amy-sandovalAfter: 132 lbs. (size 6)

Total weight lost: 53 lbs. (sizes lost: 4/5)
 Amy Sandoval

Stay-fit tips
Steal Barbara's top three strategies:

Make fitness fun. I love running, but it can get monotonous. To beat boredom, I sign up for wacky races with friends. I've done several mud runs, and I just completed a "color run"—a 5K race where you get spritzed with colored powder at each kilometer. The more fun I make exercise, the more likely I am to keep doing it.

Bring snacks: I don't like too much time to go by without eating, which can be tough with my jam-packed schedule. So I keep light bites on hand, like Special K Sea Salt Cracker Chips.

Have your guilty pleasures. I've learned not to deprive myself, because all that does is make me gorge. So I eat what I want—even Double Stuf Oreos—just in smaller portions. Three cookies and I'm totally satisfied!