There’s something undeniably inspirational about weight loss before and after images. In a glance, you can see a drastic, life-altering change. The weight loss stories that accompany these pictures tell of the struggle, hard work, and determination that goes into losing weight.
Everybody’s body is different, and there’s no one right way to get healthy and lose weight. As you’ll see from the stories on this list, most involve changes to their diet and physical activity–but those can take a lot of different forms, from traditional running and weight lifting to competitive hula hooping.
Some people achieve their body transformation through exercise. Others follow food programs, and yet others follow specific diets such as intermittent fasting or keto. For those overweight due to metabolic issues, surgeries and other medical intervention can help get them on the right path.
By reading these transformation stories, you can give your own weight loss journey an important dose of positivity and inspiration. Whether you’re still looking for the perfect plan to get started or you need some motivation to stay the course, the following stories will surely give you the drive you so desperately need.
Don’t become another one of many fat people stories in which the hero never really tries to change their life. Instead, read these 13 transformation stories to get pumped about your own weight loss journey!
Keto Weight Loss Inspiration
Incredibly popular, the keto diet has helped many people lose weight. Featuring a diet high in healthy fats and proteins, your body learns to use ketones for energy instead of glucose. Learn all about it in Ashley’s story.
1. Ashley Jagla Lost 120 Pounds of Baby Weight
At age 27 Ashley weighed 296 pounds. She had just given birth to her daughter, but she was sick of carrying around extra weight. She decided enough was enough. To start her weight loss transformation, Ashley simply cut out fast food and sweets. But, when the pounds started to slide off, Ashley made the choice to get serious about her weight loss. A number of health conditions including arthritis, prediabetes, and hypoglycemia also gave her the motivation she needed to take the plunge.
Her diet of choice? A keto-inspired diet high in healthy fats, protein, and vegetables. To make the transition, Ashley allowed herself some more flexible foods like wings and sausage. But now, she tries to focus on avocado, eggs, meats, fruit, and vegetables. She also cooks most meals herself. Every once in a while she allows herself a carb treat to help keep herself from resorting to binge-eating. After a year on this diet and taking regular trips to the gym, Ashley lost an impressive 120 pounds!
Losing weight has had many positive impacts on Ashley’s life. Not only has her health improved, but she’s also able to engage and play more with her children. She also generally feels more healthy and energetic.
Under the Knife: Weight Loss Transformation
Sometimes, natural weight loss isn’t possible. Hormone conditions and genetics can make it near impossible to lose weight with diet and exercise alone. But that doesn’t mean you should give up. There are many different types of surgery that can help you get to your ideal size. Read about Lindsay’s experience below:
2. Lindsay Shenk: From 400 Pounds to Healthy and Expecting!
Lindsay has been overweight her whole life. By the time she reached her thirties, Lindsay was well over 400 pounds. Ready to start a family, Lindsay and her husband met with a fertility specialist who gave her the ultimate motivation: no doctor would offer treatments until she lost weight. Lindsay had already tried every diet and book under the sun. At this point, she had also been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome which, among other things, makes weight loss through diet and exercise very difficult.
So, she knew it was time to try something different. Lindsay underwent vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery in 2016 and hasn’t looked back! That doesn’t mean the weight loss has been easy. She has made serious changes to her diet and also gotten active. Since her surgery, she lost 220 pounds. In addition, she and her husband were able to conceive and Lindsay is currently pregnant! That means for the moment, her weight loss journey is on hold until after the baby is born.
Lindsay consistently posts about her weight loss journey on her Instagram account. A very transparent poster, she acknowledges that the weight sometimes creeps back on due to changes in routine, such as traveling. But, she’s glad to be moving in the right direction and to know that she’ll never be as big as she once was ever again.
Before and After Weight Loss: Men Also Transform
So many weight loss success stories focus on women. But, men can also undergo amazing transformations that improve their health and change their lives forever. Read about these inspiring men below:
3. Deandre Upshaw’s Up and Down Journey to Lasting Weight Loss
Deandre says of his weight loss that he didn’t lose 150 pounds, “I lost one pound 150 times.” This quote reflects the hard work and dedication that weight loss takes.
In a series of weight loss before and after photos, it’s easy to see big differences in Deandre. A tall man, Deandre is 6 foot 7 inches. He was a star football player in high school. But then, he gained weight in college until he reached over 400 pounds. Concerned about the effects his weight might have on his health, Deandre started to make an effort to lose weight. Without too much effort he was able to lose 60 pounds. But, then he started to slide. When he stopped putting in the effort, the effects also subsided and the weight came back on.
A math lover, Deandre found a new solution for weight loss: math. He counted calories religiously and also used a Fitbit to make sure he got 10,000 steps in. With this approach, he dropped 150 pounds. Then, he made more changes in his diet and started focusing on making sure to get enough protein, and eating whole grains and vegetables.
Deandre also discovered different kinds of fitness to enjoy. One of his favorite workouts? Dancing to hip hop! He also joined a dodgeball league. Now, Deandre looks great and feels great.
4. Barry Parkes’ Middle Age Transformation
Barry Parke’s weight loss transformation didn’t begin until he was well into middle age. Although he’d never been thin, when Barry tipped the scale passed 300 pounds, he had reached his limit. Barry knew that he wanted to make a permanent change, what he didn’t know was how. He didn’t want to try a crash diet or cut out any major food groups. Then, a coworker suggested he try a Fitbit.
A lifelong budgeter, Barry figured he could transfer his accounting skills to calorie counting. He began tracking his meals, making sure he didn’t exceed his daily calorie budget, thus helping him with losing weight.
Then, Barry started to exercise. Inspired by his wife’s daily walk, he decided to join her. Together, they walk 3-6 miles daily, leading to an impressive weight loss of 122 pounds in just one year! His wife, Shauna, who also got a Fitbit, lost 40 pounds.
Barry says his life has changed completely. He no longer snores and has a lot more energy. In addition, he’s learned how to eat sensibly. Before, he says that dieting for him meant not eating at all for up to two days. Then, he would binge-eat two pizzas at once! Now, he has one slice of pizza every once in a while.
5. Curtis Stream Gained Weight Stress Eating But Lost It All
Curtis’s weight, like for many people, had always gone up and down over the years. But, eventually, stressful life circumstances and a bad relationship led him to seriously gain pounds until he reached the weight of 278. It was then that Curtis had to visit the doctor, who gave him the news that his blood pressure was out of control. Worried that he’d have a stroke, Curtis was given medicine on the spot.
It was the wake-up call that Curtis needed. After the visit, Curtis made some changes in his diet and was able to lose weight. But, Curtis was delivered another blow. His girlfriend of five years left him.
However, he kept pushing forward and became even more committed to his weight loss goals. First, he cut out all fast food, alcohol, and soda. He also tried eating his meals mindfully. Then, he started hitting the gym. Embarrassed by his weight, Curtis only went to the gym late in the evening to avoid the crowds. In addition to walking and jogging, Curtis began lifting weights. He soon had to eat a bit more so that his body could keep getting stronger. Soon, he was down 70 pounds! Curtis kept working and the pounds kept melting off until he reached his current healthy weight of 155 pounds. Today, Curtis keeps at it in the gym to build his definition and muscles.
Amazing Fasting Before and After Results
Not into restricting foods? If you want a different path to losing weight, fasting might work for you. Discover the successes of those who’ve used intermittent fasting to lose weight below:
6. Dr. Kevin Genreau: Weight Loss Inspired By Tragedy
Dr. Genreau wasn’t always overweight. But, like for many, life circumstances changed that. First, he gained weight as a college freshman. Then, his father’s illness and death made him turn to food for comfort. The stress of med school meant his bad habits continued.
Tragedy ultimately inspired Dr. Genreau to change his ways. His older sister became ill with terminal cancer and Dr. Genreau felt sad and helpless. He realized that although his sister didn’t have control over her health, he did, and he had chosen to lead a life that put his health at risk. Motivated to be a positive, healthy presence for his young niece and nephew, Dr. Genereau began his weight loss journey.
At first, losing weight was easy for the 32-year-old doctor. He simply cut out processed carbohydrates and ate a 1700-calorie a day diet. But, then he plateaued. This isn’t uncommon. But, Dr. Genreau decided to push through. He doubled down on his diet, choosing the healthiest foods, and also using intermittent fasting. He eats daily from 12 pm to 7 pm. This brought him to his current healthy weight.
7. Janelle Wright Lost 104 Pounds Through Fasting and Diet Changes
Like many moms, Janielle gained some stubborn weight with pregnancy that stuck around after her daughter’s birth. Determined to live a long, healthy life to watch her daughter grow up, Janelle got to work. She had been overweight before pregnancy, so afterward, she was up to 337 pounds.
Janielle credits intermittent fasting, in which she ate for 8 hours and fasts for 16, with much of her weight loss success. During this period of her weight loss, Janielle was careful about what she ate. Janielle’s diet featured limited carbs, lean meats, egg whites and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Then, after significant weight loss, she transitioned to using the 21-day meal plan. This is essentially a recipe book that offers weight-loss friendly foods and snacks planned out for you to follow. For Janielle, it means a full belly and fewer cravings to push her weight loss forward.
To achieve her weight loss of 104 pounds and counting, Janielle also exercises. Not willing to let a fear of going to the gym stop her, she purchased a treadmill which she uses daily at home. Now, the mom has more energy and feels more confident in her body.
Vegan Weight Loss Before and After
Vegans don’t eat any animal products. As a result, they’re often thinner and healthier than their meat-eating and even vegetarian counterparts. It takes commitment, but it can help you achieve serious health gains. Learn how in these inspiring stories:
8. Eric’s Health Turnaround Story: From Chronically Ill to Well!
At the age of 51, Eric received a wake-up call. He was suffering from a number of weight-related illnesses including diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. His doctor told him that unless he changed his lifestyle, he probably had no more than five years to live.
So, Eric got to work. After seeing a news report on plant-based diets, Eric decided to go vegan. He also avoids sugar, helping him keep his plant-based diet as healthy as possible. In addition, he began exercising. At the start, he couldn’t even tie his shoes without getting short of breath. But, through persistence and hard work, and with the help of his adopted pet dog, Eric built up his strength. From daily walks, Eric is now planning to run several full marathons.
As a result, Eric is now quite fit, dropping down from 280 pounds to 175 pounds. That’s over 100 pounds of weight loss! But, the greatest benefit for Eric is his improved health. He completely reversed the conditions from which he suffered and now doesn’t need to take any medications.
The takeaway? Eric believes that by switching to a vegan diet and walking about thirty minutes daily, anyone can lose weight.
9. Robert and Jessica: Weight Loss Gave them the Confidence to Live Life to the Fullest
Robert and Jessica were both very overweight. The couple has children and began to notice the effects their unhealthy lifestyle were having on the kids. So, the pair decided to turn things around, inspired by the hope that their kids would see them growing old in full health.
Starting slowly, Robert and Jessica got active. While Jessica took Zumba classes, Robert started playing tennis again. Then, they began making dietary changes as well. From smaller portion sizes, the couple eventually decided to take things a step further. For ethical and health reasons, they turned to veganism and also chose to purchase organic products. Having grown much stronger and slimmer, Robert and Jessica also began running 5k and 10k races.
These changes resulted in significant weight loss. The confidence and energy translated into other successes in their lives. Robert began working towards his medical degree and Jessica went back for her art degree.
The couple is confident that their decision to show compassion for animals through their veganism has also made a big difference in their health and fitness levels. The confidence and outlook on life that has accompanied their weight loss journey have had a ripple effect. Their careers, children, and others have all been impacted in a positive way.
Plain Hard Work: Weight Loss Stories
Lots of people lose weight using their own unique plans and strategies. The common element? Just about any successful weight loss story involves hard work. Learn how these people achieved their weight loss below:
10. Erica Kendall’s Weight Loss That’s Inspired Thousands
At over 300 pounds, Erica was working hard to run her own business. But, her weight had her mom worried. She encouraged her daughter to join a closeby gym. So, Erica got inspired and got to work. It was a long journey, including moving states, changing her eating habits, and exercising in gyms and at home, but she has made a shocking transformation.
Erica began chronicling her weight loss success story online through her blog and also built up an incredible social media community of followers and supporters. It was her way of keeping accountable and also sharing what she was learning about health and fitness. After 160 pounds of losing weight, Erica has made weight loss her profession. She became certified in women’s fitness, weight loss, and fitness nutrition by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Her blog, called “A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss” offers tips on dieting, exercise, and also includes an important section on emotional eating. Erica encourages others to recognize the psychology of eating, and that many times people gain weight because of depression and other mental illnesses. She strongly believes that mental and physical health are strongly linked.
11. Cori Magnotta: From A Post-Pregnancy Pooch to Hula Queen
Cori’s story is a bit unconventional. Have you ever heard of someone losing weight by hula hooping? It’s not your everyday weight loss inspiration story, but it shows that with the right attitude and determination, you can make weight loss work for you, even if it’s in a unique way.
Cori Magnotta always struggled with her weight. But, things really got out of control after her pregnancy. Because Cori never really enjoyed exercising, she began looking for alternative kinds of workouts. Soon, she found FXP Fitness, in which participants use weighted hula hoops and use moves from a variety of practices including yoga, pilates, and barre. Cori was intrigued. She’d always loved hula hooping as a child. Would it still be fun?
Cori fell in love with hooping and shed an incredible 85 pounds in a year’s time. Down to a healthier weight of 165 pounds, Cori made a new goal for herself: becoming an FXP Hoop instructor. The mom from Connecticut also competed in and was crowned as America’s Fit Mrs. With newfound energy and love for fitness, Cori has far surpassed her goals and hopes.
Cori’sadvice to others is to find an exercise that’s fun. Whether it’s hooping, dancing, or a Zumba class, contrary to popular belief, exercise is an energy giver, not a taker. Don’t count out hooping either, Cori says she has yet to meet a student she can’t teach. So, consider making it your weight loss tool!
12. Amandalyn’s Weight Loss Eliminated Her 11-Pill-A-Day Regimen
At 23 years of age, Amandalyn was severely overweight. Tipping the scales to 265 pounds, Amandalyn was ready to make a change. Having told herself that her big bones and genetics were to blame, at 25 Amandalyn finally got rid of the excuses and started her own body transformation journey. Not only was she overweight, but she also suffered from high cholesterol and blood pressure, migraines, and was also diabetic. Taking a regular regimen of 11 pills a day just to stay alive, Amandalyn knew that only weight loss could change her prognosis.
So, Amandalyn got to work. She changed her diet and started exercising. Focusing on clean eating, Amandalyn now eats a large portion of fruits and vegetables every day. In addition, she dedicates a significant amount of time at the gym, working out and toning her muscles. Now, at a healthy 150 pounds, her life has changed completely. Now, at 28, Amandalyn feels and looks younger than she did in her teens! Her hard work has also made such a big change in her health that she no longer takes prescription drugs on a daily basis.
Amandalyn credits her weight loss with good, old-fashioned hard work. Now, she dedicates her time to helping others achieve their weight loss goals as a coach.
13. Alysia’s College Transformation Through Weight Lifting
At the young age of 19, Aly was done living life overweight. When she graduated high school, Aly was heavy, too heavy! But, through hard work and exercise, by the time she graduated from college, she had lost 75 pounds.
Aly wants to remind everyone who’s on their own weight loss journey that the scales don’t always have the final word. In a recent Instagram post, she showed how only five pounds of weight difference made a dramatic difference in how she looked- and all because of weight lifting. At the beginning of her journey, Aly did cardio obsessively. She also restricted her calorie consumption, only allowing herself a measly 1000 calories a day.
But, it wasn’t until she began focusing on lifting instead that the real body transformation emerged. She still does occasional cardio, but building muscle has been key to her amazingly fit physique. In addition, she now eats a lot more calories, ensuring of course that they’re healthy calories!
Some of Aly’s tips for those hoping to lose weight include upping water intake. Aly drinks five liters of water a day – that’s about 22 cups! She does it by carrying her water bottle wherever she goes. She also swears by eating lots of fiber-heavy fruit and vegetables. Finally, she recommends finding healthy alternatives to your favorite snacks. Instead of scarfing down chips, which she loves, Aly chooses sweet potato and beet chips, and almond flour crackers.
The Bottom Line on Weight Loss Before and After Success
True, lasting weight loss is no walk in the park. It takes serious commitment and a consistent approach to achieve the long-term goal: permanent weight loss. But, as you can see from the above stories, it’s far from impossible. All you need is the will-power, support and plan to get there.
Whether you decide to try fasting, keto, a vegan diet, or get a Fitbit, your journey will be unique to you and your lifestyle. The important thing is that you keep with it and keep going until you reach your goal. When you feel discouraged, simply come back and read some of these stories again for inspiration.
Or, if you’ve already made some progress, go back and look at some of your “before” pictures to remind yourself how far you’ve come. Before you know it, you’ll have your own “before and after” story to tell.
Are you on a weight loss journey? Have you already lost weight? Tell us your personal weight loss success story in the comments below. We’d love to cheer you on!
Then check out these incredible 4 muscle growth stories.
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- Ryder, Gina. 9 Real-Life Stories of People Who Lost Weight. The Healthy, 4 November 2019.
- Leasca, Stacey. This Guy Lost 150 Pounds By Counting Calories, and His Transformation Is Incredible. Men’s Health, 28 January 2019.
- Leasca, Stacey. This Man Achieved a 122-Pound Weight Loss Transformation With the Help of a Fitbit. Men’s Health, 23 October 2018.
- Darling, Mike. This Guy Overcame a Breakup and Lost More Than 100 Pounds in a Year. Men’s Health, 4 May 2019.
- Holohan, Meghan. Intermittent fasting helps doctor lose 125 pounds in 18 months. Today, 11 July 2018.
- Holohan, Meghan. ‘It will work’: Mom loses 71 pounds in 6 months with intermittent fasting. Today, 27 June 2018.
- 8 Inspiring Vegan Weight Loss Transformations. Peta.
- Kendall, Erika Nicole. About BGG2WL. Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss.
- Klein, Sarah. ‘How I Lost 85 Pounds of Baby Weight by Hula-Hooping’. Women’s Health, 23 December 2016.
- Sugar, Jenny. Struggling on Your Own Weight-Loss Journey? Get Inspired by These 75-Pound Transformations. Popsugar Fitness, 26 November 2018.