The Most Incredible Health Transformations from 2019
Melissa Alcantara might be a celebrity trainer and former bodybuilder, but her journey is quite relatable: The young mom shared empowering transformation photos in 2019 to explain how she kickstarted her fitness journey after struggling with depression and weight gain for years.
"If you work for it, you'll get it back, sometimes even better," she shared.
Earlier this year, Tara Jayd shared a side-by-side Instagram photo of her at 21 years old and 33 years old. The difference speaks for itself—but Jayd's transformation was more than physical. "I've come so far over the years not only physically, but mentally," she wrote in the post's caption.
It took Jade a decade to get to this point, but she shared why it was worth being patient: "It might take you 10 years or 10 months... who cares...? It is not a race, it's never a race...My journey and my goals are unique, just as your journey and your goals are unique to you."
At just 34 years old, Maggie Wells found herself weighing more than 300 pounds. For years, she was too embarrassed to be in family photos, which ended up being the push she needed to make a major lifestyle change.
Today, Wells is down 185 pounds by simply cutting back on sugar and carbs. Not only has her weight loss made her healthier, but also it's allowed her to be more present for her family and especially her kids.
"I could have lived the rest of my life being a bystander," she told Good Morning America. "Now I get to be a participant in my life and my children's lives."
Ovarian cancer almost took Cheyann Shaw's life in 2016. But after a long and hard battle, the young fitness enthusiast is now cancer-free and has spent over a year working to build back her strength.
Through the process, Shaw says she's developed a special appreciation for her body and everything that it's been through. "Within a year my body has gone through a billion rounds of chemo, 5 surgeries, and massive changes; but each day my body fights and wins this battle," she wrote on Instagram. "I love my body MORE NOW even without the muscles and with scars because to me, my body is beautiful and so is the story my scars tell. I've learned to ALWAYS love myself no matter what and so should you."
At 72 years old, Lauren Bruzzone, a former lawyer and adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut at Stamford, decided to start doing CrossFit and work directly with Wesley James, a certified personal trainer to help elevate her fitness.
Her journey is proof you never stop learning and that you can do anything you put your mind to. "What makes Lauren so special is that she's still hungry for the grind," says James. "She doesn't complain about anything, she's always ready to go, she's very sharp and loves the process of improvement. She makes my day every time I see her."
After a doctor revealed that her health was deteriorating, Joan MacDonald knew she had to make a change. The 73-year-old shared her desire to develop healthier habits with her daughter Michelle, who has been helping her reach her goals.
Today, MacDonald has lost a total of 62 pounds, and her doctors have given her a clean bill of health.
MacDonald has advice for women her age struggling to make a change: "I hope that more women my age embrace being pushed and appreciate that someone is interested in seeing you try harder. Even though you can't turn back the clock, you can wind it up again."
Wendy Meyer became a half marathoner at 49 years old, and she did it with her best friend, Paula, by her side. Today, the duo has completed four marathons and 79 half marathons, including the Shape Women's Half Marathon.
"I'm now 60 and Paula is 57, and we're still setting goals and making plans to keep our bodies moving," Meyer previously told us. "We run and talk and run and cry and run some more. We get together for early morning runs and hold each other accountable if the other wants to bail. We still participate in six or seven half marathons a year."
In 2017, Sophie Butler lost her balance and fell while squatting about 155 lbs with a Smith machine at the gym. She became paralyzed from the waist down and doctors said she'd never regain her strength. Since then, she's been on a mission to prove them otherwise.
She spent two years after her accident working hard in the gym to feel stronger and, now, says she's more comfortable in her body than she ever thought she could be.
"I'm so fricking proud of the strength I've regained in my core," she shared on Instagram earlier this year. "I know now everyone likes to push the 'it doesn't matter what you look like' message on IG, which is TRUE, but I'm so fricking proud that I'm at the point where I'm so confident in my body and my aesthetics again."
A hard battle with lymphoma left Linn Lowes physically weaker than she'd ever been before. After being declared cancer-free, she committed to becoming the strongest version of herself.
Over the years, the self-proclaimed "fitness junkie" has become a nutrition counselor and personal trainer while developing a newfound appreciation for her body along the way.
"Never in a million years did I think my body would get me to where I am today after going through chemo, radiation, and several surgeries," she shared on Instagram. "I remember being so weak and fragile. Now I feel like the world is at my fingertips and nothing can stop me. I want to sincerely thank my body for not only getting me back to my starting point but way beyond!"
After losing 170 pounds, Tina Minasyan knew a lot of things in her life were going to change. But she didn't expect her body to react to weight-loss the way it did.
From struggling with body dysmorphia, learning to embrace her loose skin, and deciding to get plastic surgery, Minasyan came to realize that losing the weight was only the beginning of her journey.
Today she's become an advocate for self-love and body positivity, inspiring women to be real in a world that's so focused on perfection.