Ann Wulff: Lost 207 Lbs.
Ann Wulff; K E L S E Y L E E
Wulff felt like pregnancy was “permission to just eat whatever I wanted,” the 39-year-old teacher tells PEOPLE. Through three pregnancies, she gained more than 100 lbs. and kept going from there, eventually hitting 360 lbs.
“I convinced myself that it didn’t matter if I ate unhealthily because I was already overweight,” she says. “I was busy with a full-time job and three little girls, so did it really matter if I eat the ice cream?”
But Wulff started to notice little issues — she lacked the energy to walk the five minutes to the park with her daughters, she had to twist into odd positions just to get the car seatbelt to buckle and she was struggling with constant headaches.
“I was in my mid-30s, and I realized that very quickly that there were going to be things that I absolutely could not do.”
Wulff joined WW, paying for a full year upfront, and focused on losing just 5 lbs. at a time to stay motivated. With healthy dinner swaps and walks around her neighborhood, she lost 207 lbs. in just over two years.
“I feel so much lighter, and I don’t mean physically,” she continues. “I just have so much more energy, I’m more positive, I’m more likely to put myself out there. I’m a better teacher, a better wife, a better mother. A better everything.”
Crystal Benes: Lost 201 Lbs.
Courtesy Crystal Benes (2)
Benes spent most of her life overweight. She was obese as a child, and by the time she was 25, Benes weighed in at 376 lbs.
“Every choice I made regarding what I fueled my body with and how much exercised I did was all up to me,” she says. “I had no one else to blame for my poor decisions that led me to being nearly 400 lbs.”
But that changed on April 2, 2018, when Benes decided to sign up for a local weight loss program in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Over 15 weeks, she dropped 100 lbs. thanks to a personal trainer, nutrition coaching and regular bootcamp classes. But the hardest part, she says, is when that ended and she had to do it on her own.
“I had to understand that this was no longer a diet, and that it had to become my lifestyle,” she says.
Benes kept up her daily workouts and nutrition plan, and by January, just 10 months later, she was down to 175 lbs. She’s maintained that now, with a few pounds of buffer, for the last year with the help of Real Appeal, a weight loss support program.
“My weight-loss journey came at a point in my life where my weight was something I faced every day and led me to a constant state of depression,” she says. “Through the struggle I encountered during my journey, I came to realize that the most difficult road had led to the most beautiful journey of my life.”
Marsha Parker: Lost 155 Lbs.
As the single mother of a newborn, Marsha Parker faced a lot of pressure — and it took a toll on her health. The Bronx, N.Y.-based Parker had to take a lower-paying job with flexible hours so she could take care of her daughter, Kumari, and any money she made went to feeding Kumari healthy meals while she ate $1.25 fried chicken.
“I was stressed and I think I was going through a bit of postpartum depression without realizing it,” she says. “Kumari would be asleep and I would be crying, eating chocolate pudding and drinking Pepsi. I would buy foods that I knew were bad, but they gave me comfort at the time.”
Her weight continued to climb. By the time Kumari turned five, Marsha was up to 290 lbs., had developed high-blood pressure and was pre-diabetic. It was Kumari who pushed her mom to lose weight.
“I would have headaches from the food and she would say, ‘I need you to be healthy, I’m really, really worried about you. Please eat healthy.’ I realized that my health was connected to her wellbeing.”
Parker started taking kickboxing classes and switched to a healthier diet, drinking green smoothies with Kumari and prioritizing lean proteins like fish, chicken and eggs. That, along with a newfound love of weightlifting, helped Parker lose 155 lbs. She now balances five-days-a-week workouts with her job as an online teacher, Ph.D. classes and homeschooling Kumari.
“Kumari saved my life,” Parker says.
Lindy Cellucci: Lost 150 Lbs.
After eight years of weighing nearly 300 lbs., Lindy Celluci reached her breaking point during a vacation with friends in 2014.
“There’s this place called Hopewell Rocks that goes down to the ocean floor, but you have to go down about 500 steps. I stood there and knew I couldn’t do it,” she tells PEOPLE. “I could see them laughing and talking, and I’m up top and I said two words to myself: ‘It’s time.’ ”
The mother of two began researching healthy recipes and tracking her steps with a Fitbit, and lost 82 lbs. in 16 months. That’s when Celluci noticed a suspicious lump on her chest. She was quickly diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo rigorous chemotherapy treatment.
But Celluci was determined to maintain a healthier lifestyle. When she got the all-clear in 2017 from her doctor, started walking again and took Zumba, boot camp or aqua swim classes. The weight kept coming off.
“I lost weight every week for a full year,” she says. “I was just determined. If I put a bit on, which happened a couple of times after that first year, I didn’t let it derail me. You’re going to have ups and downs.”
Cellucci, now 60, hit 150 lbs. down in October, and credits her life to losing weight.
“I never would have found that lump if I hadn’t lost weight,” she says. “It saved my life twice. It saved me from having a heart attack, and it saved me because I found that lump.”
Kimberly Brown: Lost 109 Lbs.
Kimberly Brown/Nutrisystem (2)
When Brown, 34, decided to make a change and lose weight in 2015 she was coming off of a tough year — she had recently suffered a miscarrage, her childhood pet had just died and a broken ankle left her unable to walk on her own for several months.
“It got the best of me,” Brown says.
Plus, her health was suffering — Brown had high blood pressure and frequent migranes, and her doctor thought that losing some of her 239 lbs. would help. Brown decided to join Nutrisystem, and she immediately had success, dropping 10 lbs. the first week and around 2.5 lbs. every week after. Four years later, she’s healthier and 109 lbs. lighter.
“I currently weigh 130, I no longer have to take any medication for my blood pressure and I impress my doctor with my cholesterol and other levels every year on my physical!” she says. “I now have confidence in myself, courage to do anything, and pride in how far I have come!”
Jennifer Riveira: Lost 76 Lbs.
Jennifer Riveira; Isagenix
Jennifer Riveira was always tired and so had trouble keeping up with her young son.
When her doctor told her all of her tests came back normal, but her fast-food habit may be to blame, she realized it was time to make a change.
“In reality, I had just given up on myself,” she tells PEOPLE. “Everybody became more important than I did and fast-food became my way of life. It was fast. It was easy.”
So Riveira cut out greasy food and substituted in meal replacement shakes. She also got active.
Now she exercises regularly and can keep pace with her now 13-year-old son.
“The challenge itself is to feel better about yourself, to be the best version of you, whoever you are,” Riveira says.
Kristen McLaughlin: Lost 133 Lbs.
Courtesy Kristen McLaughlin; Tory Rust
When McLaughlin “became sedentary” in college, the weight piled on, and it only got worse when she started dating a “larger guy.”They would order in for almost every meal — pizzas, burrito bowls, cheeseburgers and fries — and rarely cook, which put McLaughlin at 270 lbs. She joined Jenny Craig in 2016 to lose weight, and managed to drop 60 lbs., but felt guilty that her MBA candidate-boyfriend had to fend for himself, and the weight went right back on.
Then in late 2017, five years into their relationship, McLaughlin’s boyfriend became “distant,” and said he had feelings for someone else.
“At that point I’m like, ‘This is cheating, this is dumb, I can’t do this anymore,’ and I said I was leaving,” she says.
In December alone, McLaughlin broke up with him, moved out of their apartment and happened to start a new job. It was overwhelming, but the clean slate she needed to lose weight for good. “I literally got rid of every excuse that I’ve ever had,” she says.
McLaughlin joined Jenny Craig again in Feb. 2017, and over the next two years lost 133 lbs. — nearly half her size — with the pre-made meals and a newfound love for group fitness classes and weight training. She now cooks for herself and maintains her weight loss.
“I think I’m more myself now, funnily enough, than I ever was the previous 30 years,” she says. “I say yes to things now, I’m more outgoing, I’m more likely to be social.”
Mary Jane O’Toole: Lost 135 Lbs.
Courtesy Mary Jane O’Toole
Plus, O’Toole was dreading buying a wedding dress at her size.
“I didn’t want to buy a plus-size wedding dress, because they cost way more than straight sizes,” she says. “I felt like I was paying this fat tax — I didn’t have the ability to buy affordable clothes because I was bigger.”
Along with her fiancé, O’Toole started tracking her meals and calories with the LoseIt! app. She dropped 75 lbs. in a year, and started incorporating exercise into her routine. By her wedding day in Nov. 2018, O’Toole had lost 135 lbs. and was able to buy the dress of her dreams — in a size 6.
“The ideal dress that I had in my head was cleavage-baring with a dramatic accent, and then I went with a long-sleeved dress that went up to my neck with a bare back. I had never pictured something fitted, but I felt awesome in it because I had done it and lost the weight,” she says.
O’Toole has kept up her weight loss habits, and though she’s frustrated with the loose skin she’s accumulated, she tries to focus on the “non-scale victories.”
“The biggest one is being able to shop out of my friends’ closets — I had never been able to do that before,” she says. It’s so cool, it’s like I have double the closets, and what I had always dreamt about doing in high school!”
Randi Vasquez: Lost 80 Lbs.
Randi Vasquez was a “chubby” kid growing up, but it never bothered her — “I was always feeling myself,” she says. That is, until she hit a “post-grad slump” when she couldn’t find a job she loved and started drowning her sorrows in boozy brunches and fast food.
“I was getting heavier and heavier,” Vasquez, who eventually hit 240 lbs., says. “I started to notice that my confidence was going down, and I wasn’t motivated to do anything. It started to click that if I didn’t change my life that it would just get worse and worse.”
Vasquez knew that a major diet and lifestyle overhaul wouldn’t stick, so she started small, and in fall 2014 found a gym class at her local YMCA that she loved. Within a few months she dropped 18 to 20 lbs., which inspired her to keep going. From there, Vasquez started cooking healthier meals and started doing Kayla Itsines’ popular BBG workout plan.
“Year after year, month after month, I made small little goals and just kept going,” she says. “I hit 80 lbs. down in fall 2017. That was such a big moment for me.”
Since then, Vasquez nailed another big goal — running a half marathon — and focuses on maintaining her weight.
“I don’t feel like my weight can hold me back anymore,” she says. “I was happy before but there was so much I was held back from that I didn’t even realize.”
Tara McGinty: Lost 122 Lbs.
Alan Christiansen: Lost 317 Lbs.
Shamirum Benjamin: Lost 151 Lbs.
Janine Johnston: Lost 145 Lbs.
Jenna Leveille: Lost 140 Lbs.
Nicole Ferrigno: Lost 204 Lbs.
Holly Wallis: Lost 162 Lbs.
Scott Leopold: Lost 193 Lbs.
Kara Cline: Lost 95 Lbs.
Dr. Kevin Gendreau: Lost 125 Lbs.
Brianna Bernard: Lost 107 Lbs.
Rachel Saintfort: Lost 121 Lbs.
Gwilym Pugh: Lost 93 Lbs.
Mariah Stolfi: Lost 84 Lbs.
Kathleen Golding: Lost 178 Lbs.
Bonnie Wiles: Lost 162 Lbs.
Jeremiah Peterson: Lost 92 Lbs.
Robin Janes: Lost 280 Lbs.
Melody Perdue: Lost 180 Lbs.
Megan Rachow: Lost 170 Lbs.
Mike Bauler: Lost 225 Lbs.
Katia Powell: Lost 170 Lbs.
Sara Cloutier: Lost 151 Lbs.
Katie Bolden: Lost 150 Lbs
Morgan Root: Lost 128 Lbs.
Jermaine Gause: Lost 303 Lbs. (and Counting!)
Samantha Call: Lost 125 Lbs.
Jason Cohen: Lost 125 Lbs.
Jessica Beniquez: Lost 175 Lbs.
Laura Hyman: Lost 103 Lbs.
Jovana Borojevic: Lost 139 Lbs.
Allie Ruby: Lost 98 Lbs.
Janice “JJ” Jobity: Lost 120 Lbs.
Naomi Teeter: Lost 150 Lbs.
Tara Kavanagh: Lost 145 Lbs.
Helen Costa-Giles: Lost 90 Lbs.
Dustin LaJaunie: Lost 150 Lbs.
Marie Byrne: Lost 70 Lbs.
Brittany Greenslit: Lost 109 Lbs.
Alicia Steele: Dropped from Size 10 to 2
Megan McGee: Lost 70 Lbs.
Rebin Roy: Lost 126 Lbs.
Hannah Jenkins: Lost 107 Lbs.
Tanisha Washington: Lost 103 Lbs.
Hollie Barrett: Lost 124 Lbs.
Sarah Goodenough: Lost 158 Lbs.
Nathan & Brenda Bennett: Lost 130 & 131 Lbs.
Jessica Battle: Lost 115 Lbs.
Karyl Mullins: Lost 100 Lbs.
Gillian Faith: Lost 110 Lbs.
Rebecca Grafton: Lost 104 Lbs.
Mackenzie Walker: Lost 102 Lbs.
Jana Roller: Lost 135 Lbs.
Jeanine McDonald: Lost 77 Lbs.
Tim Kaufman: Lost 200 Lbs.
Vanetza Cines: Lost 26 Lbs.
Alex Perrineau: Lost 142 Lbs.
Erika Cockrell: Lost 167 Lbs.
Joanne Raymond: Lost 133 Lbs.
Christina Jordan: Lost 134 Lbs.
Diana Anguh: Lost 140 Lbs.
Lindita Halimi: Lost 130 Lbs.
Ashley O’Reilly: Lost 135 Lbs.
Adrienne Osuna: Lost 2 Lbs. (and Gained Muscle!)
Michael Lachowicz: Lost 194 Lbs.
Justin Lacy: Lost 290 Lbs.
Kim Carter Martinez: Lost 170 Lbs.
Jennifer Ginley: Lost 135 Lbs.
Alexa Saddington: Lost 85 Lbs.
Emily Powers: Lost 120 Lbs.
Peggy Pullen: Lost 80 Lbs.
Katie Hug: Lost 130 Lbs.
This content was originally published here.