Weight Loss Success Stories: Meghann's challenge

Even though she lived on fast food and fried chicken growing up, Meghann was so active, she stayed a healthy size. But when she got a desk job after college and sat in a chair all day long, her pants began getting snug. Within a few months, she'd hit 149 pounds.

Diet Tip: My Wake-Up Call

While she wasn't in denial about getting bigger, Meghann didn't regularly weigh herself, so she thought she'd put on about 10 pounds. But when she went in for a doctor's visit, she found out she'd actually packed on twice that much. "As she was weighing me, the nurse kept inching the bar over further and further," she says. "When it stopped 1 pound shy of 150, I started crying." Meghann realized she couldn't keep going the way she had been. "I dried my tears and decided to make some changes."

Diet Tip: Take it 1 Step at a Time

The day after her physical, Meghann went for a run. "I couldn't believe how hard it felt-I made it only to the end of my block and back," she says. But two days later, she did two blocks, and later that week, she covered three. Meghann kept at it and, after two months, finished a 5K race in 33 minutes. "That feeling of crossing the finish line was unforgettable," she says. "When I got home, I immediately signed up for more races." All of the cardio also made a difference in her waistline: She started losing around 2 pounds a week. At the same time, Meghann set about revamping her eating habits. "When I was a kid, my parents always cooked everything with butter and oil, so that's all I knew," she says. "But I discovered that it's easy to make nutritious, tasty dishes, like lowfat lasagna with eggplant instead of noodles. You just have to be open to trying new things." She cut down on cocktails and brought leftovers to work for lunch instead of grabbing fast food. After five months, she stepped on the scale-and weighed in at a healthy 121 pounds.

Diet Tip: Make it Fun

What's been most amazing to Meghann is how much fun fitness can be. "I used to think people were lying when they said they enjoyed running races or cooking for themselves, but I'm having a blast!" she says. "I've even finished three marathons; my next goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I really believe I can accomplish anything."

Meghann's Stick-With-It Secrets:

1. Try videos "I love renting workout DVDs from NetFlix. I always have a new one-like kickboxing, boot camp, or cardio sculpting-in my mailbox, so I never get bored."

2. Fake it "If I'm out with friends and don't want to drink, I order a club soda with lime. It looks just like a vodka tonic but doesn't pack nearly as many calories."

3. Be smart about sweets "There was no way I could give up dessert entirely, but I could limit my servings to 100 calories. I can have lowfat ice cream, a cookie, or a microwaved apple with cinnamon and yogurt."

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