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7 Real 'I Need to Lose Weight' Aha Moments

Beginning the Journey

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We won't sugarcoat it: Changing a lifetime of unhealthy eating habits and poor exercise patterns is hard. (So are these 9 Things No One Ever Warned You About Losing Weight.) Weight loss takes time, perseverance, and dedication—and sometimes a little something extra to light that spark of motivation. It might be a wedding or a class reunion, the birth of a child, a health scare, or a traumatic experience—everyone has a reason, a different "aha" moment that pushed them to begin their health and fitness journey. So we asked seven women to pinpoint the moment they realized they needed to lose weight. Here, their stories.

I Had Finally Had Enough

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Annamarie Rivera, 28
Naugatuck, CT
Weight Lost: 199 pounds

"Before my weight loss journey, I had nothing positive in my life. I surrounded myself with people that didn't really care about me, and I was in a physically and verbally abusive relationship. I had such low self-esteem and such a lack of self-love that I allowed myself to be treated in such a horrible way, and over the course of that relationship, I gained around 100 pounds in one to two years. But one day, I was driving home from work and passed the Planet Fitness gym—the same one I passed every day. I'm not sure why, but all of a sudden I did a U-turn in the middle of the road, went in, and signed up. The gym gave me physical and mental strength. As soon as I started seeing changes in my body, I became obsessed with putting my time and energy into working out and eating healthy. I was starting to love myself, and after a few months of this new lifestyle, I was able to easily walk away from that relationship. I found my self-worth and focused all of my energy into changing my life." (Psst! Talk About Fitspiration! 7 Female Athletes Reveal How Fitness Made Them Stronger.)

I Wanted to Set a Good Example for My Son

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Roni Noone, 39
Baltimore, MD
Weight Lost: 70 pounds

"I was a classic yo-yo dieter through my teens and 20s—always preoccupied with my weight, always on a diet, and always in one of two states: gaining or losing. That changed with the birth of my son. After he was born, I had a whole new appreciation for my body. I shifted my focus from trying to look good in a bikini to being a good example for him. That made all the difference for me."

I Was Humiliated

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Samantha Rothermund, 24
Denver, CO
Weight Lost: 50 pounds

"During high school, I participated in sports. I figured since I was so active, I could eat whatever I wanted and still maintain my weight. After I graduated, however, I began to go out for fast food every night with friends. It was a way to be social and have fun. I knew I had gained some weight, but I was always happy with myself. I began dating a boy in college, and when I went to meet his family, his brother sent him a text message saying that I was fat. I felt so horrible about myself and knew right then and there that I needed to do something about it. The very next day, I decided to go to the gym."

I Had a Health Scare

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Dannii Martin, 31
Manchester, U.K.
Weight Lost: 98 pounds

"I started gaining weight around age 13. I was an emotional eater and left home at an early age, which meant cooking for myself—and 'cooking' often meant takeout or microwave meals. By the time I got to university, I was consuming more than 4,000 calories a day. I began having heart problems and had trouble breathing. After lots of tests at the hospital, the doctors told me this had to do with my weight. Hearing that I was responsible for how I was feeling was a big kick in the butt and made me realize that if I had caused it, I was the only one that could change it."

I Wanted to Look Good for My Best Friend's Wedding

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Theodora Blanchfield, 32
New York, NY
Weight Lost: 40 pounds

"Growing up, I'd always been active—I was on the tennis and gymnastics teams in high school—but when I got to college, I had no idea how to work out if it wasn't in a team setting. Not to mention, my metabolism certainly couldn't handle the increase in takeout and beer. Once I started working, adding in frequent happy hours, I'd put on 50 pounds since I had left home for school. I experienced a series of 'aha' moments: seeing 189 on the scale and not wanting to hit 190, feeling like I took up too much of an airplane seat, finding a killer deal on a pair of designer jeans and not being able to fit into them. But what really gave me a deadline was my best friend's wedding in Aruba. No way was I going to be the fat girl on the beach anymore. I lost 35 pounds in the six months before her wedding and the last 15 in the following six months." (Don't have any travel plans lined up? Check out these Fitness Retreats for Women Traveling Solo.)

I Ended an Unhealthy Relationship

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Karley Richard, 24
Virginia Beach, VA
Weight Lost: 36 pounds

"I had been accepted into the United States Military Academy, and during my second semester at West Point, I was assaulted. For approximately two months, I told no one. I would hide in my room and order immense amounts of unhealthy food and eat in complete darkness. By the time I left West Point, I weighed in at 190. Aside from that traumatic event, for two years I was in an unhealthy relationship with a guy I went to school with, and my poor eating habits were grossly exacerbated when I was with him. I drank and had little concern for what I ate. When I ended the relationship, I began working out every day. And when I met my future husband six months later, he encouraged my newfound healthy lifestyle even further."

I Couldn't Stand Pictures of Myself

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Tina Haupert, 35
Boston, MA
Weight Lost: 25 pounds

"After taking an indulgent vacation with friends, I returned home a few pounds heavier and not feeling very good about myself. And when I saw photos from our trip, they made me feel even worse. Seeing the physical proof of my post-college weight gain of 25 pounds made me want to change my health habits as soon as possible. It was at that very moment that I decided to lose the weight for good."

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