Weight Loss Success Stories: Crystal's challenge

Before getting pregnant, Crystal hovered around 115 pounds. But nine months-and countless plates of ribs, bags of chips, and drive-through runs-later, she was up to 216. "I thought some of that weight would come off when I had the baby, but barely any did," she says.

Diet Tip: Finding My Control

As a stressed-out new mom, Crystal's bad eating habits were the least of her worries. "I felt like I had very little control over my life-not to mention what I put in my mouth," she says. Consequently, she became so focused on taking care of her husband and son, she completely forgot about herself. But one day Crystal and her family went to a nearby state park and she had a wake-up call: "There was a lighthouse at the top of a small hill, and our son wanted to look out the windows. I started walking up there but was too out of shape to make it," she says. Crystal vowed to never miss another moment in her son's life due to her weight.

Diet Tip: Indulging Less and Keeping it Off for Good

Instead of ditching all the foods she found comforting, Crystal decided to just indulge less often. "If I ate healthy 90 percent of the time, I could afford the occasional treat," she says. So Crystal filled up on fruits, veggies, lowfat cheese and yogurt, peanut butter, oatmeal, and whole-wheat bread. "My new diet left me feeling more satisfied than fried and processed foods ever had," she says. After eight months, she'd dropped 56 pounds. Eager to keep the weight loss going, Crystal decided to up her daily activity. "I knew that if I didn't exercise in the morning, I would never get around to it," she says. So she started doing kickboxing and yoga DVDs before her son woke up. It took a little over a year and a half to lose another 15 pounds, but Crystal wasn't deterred. "I'd seen others yo-yo diet- drop pounds quickly, then gain them back," she says. "I didn't care if it took me longer to lose the weight, as long as I kept it off for good."

Diet Tip: Doing it for My Kids

Over the next three years, Crystal shed 15 more pounds-and finally felt like her old self again. "My husband says I'm back to being the outgoing, energetic girl he married," she says. Crystal has also become a more hands- on mom. "I used to wave to my son from the park bench while drinking a milk shake," she says. "Now I can run all over the playground with him. That's worth every bit of effort."

Crystal's Stick-With-It Secrets

1. Build a support "net" "I'm not comfortable sharing my diet ups and downs in front of people, so I joined a chat group. I IM with the women in it every morning."

2. Aim for your personal best "When friends ask for weight-loss advice, I tell them not to compare themselves to others. That pressure can sabotage your success."

3. Make workouts family-friendly. "On the weekends, I bring my son to the park and run laps while watching him on the playground. I get my exercise in without feeling like it's taking away from time with him."

Related Stories