woman who lost weight
Every fat person knows the humiliation—that moment when a glance at your photo dashes any hope that no one has noticed your size. For me, the reckoning was not just an instance; it was a succession of shames. A year and a half ago, my desperation gave way to resolution as I decided finally to end my lifelong struggle with weight.
This summer, as I inch toward my goal weight, the questions I challenge myself with are what they've always been:
  • Will I give up a half-hour of sleep for a stint on the stair climber?
  • Will I stop complaining that there's no time to shop for my six meals a day and start making preparation a priority?
  • Have I decided I'll do whatever it takes to have the healthy body I say I want to build?
These daily attempts at courage—and not just the acquisition of a fitter figure—are what, I hope, have permanently changed me. And this time around, losing the weight has become about forgiving myself for failing time and time again—and simply rising up to start over, no matter how many times I do.

What Worked for Michelle...and Why  
Michelle developed a winning routine and diet to help her take off the weight...and keep it off! Find out what worked for her.

Words to Lose By  
What six mottos took her from thick to thin?

Train your brain with these words!
Before and after
Far too many bottles of Evian later, I'm still standing—now 64 pounds lighter and six dress sizes smaller. In total, I've cinched 37 inches from my five-foot-eight-inch frame—including eight inches from my waist, four inches from each thigh, an inch from each forearm, and three inches from my neck. I've altogether eliminated my daily 2 p.m. energy dip by overhauling my diet. And in just 18 months, I've gone from heaving after a one-lap speed walk around an indoor track (yes, really) to hoisting two 15-pound dumbbells up from my sides to perform four sets of lateral raises.

Michelle's Plan  
There's no one-plan-fits-all approach, but here's the blimp-to-babe routine that I attempted:
  • Six small meals between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. (post-Nightline binges are what mired me in this mess)
  • At least six 8-ounce glasses of water a day (to buoy me through intense cardio sessions)
  • Complex carbs only before 2 p.m. (leaving time to burn off pasta, rice and bread well before bed)
  • Raw fruit or veggies with almost every meal (hard to stay dumpy downing cucumbers)
  • No salt, sugar or fat added to any food (Mrs. Dash has become a frequent dinner guest)
  • Four 15-minute miles on the elliptical six mornings a week
Michelle's Menus
Here's a sample of my six daily mini-meals:

Meal One, 5 a.m.: Before the gym, a cup of dry granola. After the gym, a banana, some celery and an egg white. (I count pre- and post-gym as just one food hit.)

Meal Two, 8:30 a.m.: Container of nonfat yogurt and half a Snickers bar (I sin daily, but early).

Meal Three, Noon: Six ounces of grilled mahi-mahi, a tomato and a cup of roasted potatoes (plus some raw carrots if I'm still hungry).

Meal Four, 2 p.m.: A fistful of grapes, four ounces of low-fat Swiss cheese spread, and seven whole-wheat crackers (my last carbohydrate fix for the day).

Meal Five, 4 p.m.: A can of plain tuna in water and a cup of steamed kale (it's a daily fight to get in enough veggies).

Meal Six: 6:30 or 7 p.m.: Four ounces of grilled chicken, salad without dressing and a peach.

Rest of the night: Nothing, or as much Crystal Light drink mix as I can hold.

Get more inspiration and Michelle's "words to lose by"!


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