Photo: Lucie Wicker
This story originally appeared on Health.com by Lucie Wicker.
Laura Kelly, 27, 5'3", from Melrose, Mass.
Before: 196 lb., size 8/10
After: 133 lb., size 4
Total pounds lost: 63 lb.
Total sizes lost: 2/3
I blame grad school for my weight gain. As a full-time student who was also working a part-time job and holding down an internship, I had no time to eat on a regular schedule, let alone make mindful eating a priority. Every night, I’d have a huge dinner and then go right to bed. By the beginning of 2015, my last semester, my bad habits had caught up with me. I didn’t realize how much so until I stepped on a friend’s scale and saw the number 196 staring back at me. I thought the scale was broken, but it wasn’t.
Choosing better eats
For the next week, I didn’t know where to turn. At my cousin’s suggestion, I joined Weight Watchers. Though initially skeptical, I got hooked when the results came fast: I lost 15 pounds in the first month. I learned how to rein in portions and build balanced meals, which changed both what and when I ate. I turned to meals like overnight oats for breakfast and roasted veggies and hummus on whole-wheat bread for lunch, which kept me full throughout the day. No longer famished by dinner, I kicked the vicious cycle of going to sleep stuffed and packing on weight because of it. By May, I was down another 15 pounds.
Amping up workouts
Since exercising earned me more Weight Watchers points, I upped my routine from twice-weekly Zumba and yoga classes to four workouts per week, adding in runs, barre classes, and personal training. While I never used to think my size messed with my workouts, the more I lost, the easier exercising became. Today I’m sweating regularly and eating clean to maintain my 135-pound frame. And as a Weight Watchers ambassador, I get to help others reach their goals. Knowing that my story inspires people to get healthy makes my low point and all my hard work feel worth it.
Related: 9 Science-Backed Weight Loss Tips
Laura’s get-fit crib sheet
1. Set a curfew. Gorging on a late dinner used to leave me feeling too full, so I wouldn’t have a meal until noon the next day. Now I try to finish my last meal before 8 p.m. to help keep my eating schedule regular and my portions in line.
2. Make a sweat date. My mom and I weight lift with a trainer one night a week. Not only is it a time for us to catch up, but showing up for each other keeps us accountable no matter what!
3. Master your cravings. When I need a treat, I reach for avocado or almonds first. Their healthy fats are satisfying enough to curb my need for sweets, so I’m less tempted to grab junky alternatives.
4. DIY comfort food. Rich in antioxidants and complex carbs, sweet potatoes are one of my favorite healthy foods to dress up. I top them with melted ghee and cinnamon to make them taste indulgent.
This article originally appeared on Health.com