The Workout That Helped This Woman Lose 230 Pounds

Weight-loss success happens when you truly love to live a healthy lifestyle, as Cynthia Ortega found out. Here, she tells Zumba’s lifestyle blog, Zlife, about her struggles with weight and how she finally found what works ¡ª and lost 230 pounds!

Cynthia: Before

Born and raised in Houston, Cynthia Ortega used to look in the mirror and hate what she saw. “I felt horrible and sad,” she says. “I used to dread going to restaurants with my husband because I knew I wouldn’t fit in the seat.” Often smiling on the outside, deep down inside, she wasn’t happy. She was trapped in her own body, desperately wanting to be someone else. Even her husband, who was very supportive, felt helpless.

Heavy mostly her whole life, she had never exercised and had many failed attempts with crash diets. One day, while standing in line to order pizza with her husband, a little girl pointed at Cynthia and said to her mom, “Look mom, that’s a big lady!” Everyone heard it and Cynthia was mortified. In 2009, she was hospitalized with the swine flu and couldn’t even fit through the MRI machine. She went into an induced coma and had to learn to walk and eat again. Due to her weight, she also discovered she had sleep apnea and diabetes.

Cynthia: Before

At a crossroads in her life, it finally clicked for Cynthia that she had to get healthy for herself and her young son who looked up to his mom and needed a positive influence. In 2013, she stumbled across a gym near her home and peeked in to see people taking a Zumba class. “It just looked like a lot of fun and something I could do.” She and her friend signed up and, within one month of taking two classes per week, she lost 30 pounds! And that was just the beginning of her transformation.

Cynthia: After

Now 230 pounds lighter, she takes Zumba classes 12 times per week and puts more thought into her diet. She even started a YouTube page to chronicle her weight loss, called “BestFriendFitness” in the hopes of inspiring others out there to get healthy.

At 29 years old and married for eight years, Cynthia is inspiring her husband and family members to be healthy and eat foods in moderation. “Now, when my husband takes me out to a restaurant, I don’t have to care about the chairs and if I’ll fit in them. I love taking selfies and when I look in the mirror I feel great.” She recently went back to the doctor for some tests and stayed four extra days to find out that all her health issues had disappeared and her heart rate was that of a fit person’s!

Cynthia: After

So what is Cynthia’s advice to others who are suffering from weight issues? “Find what works for you and something you’re passionate about. You have to be persistent. You can’t expect results from one day to the next. Zumba Fitness is challenging for me. My friends think I make it look easy, but I get out of breath . . . sore . . . tired. It’s something that I truly love.”

Cynthia: After

More from ZLife:

5 Steps For a Better Body Image5 Ab-tastic ExercisesWhat Happens to Your Brain When You Dance?Image Source: Zlife by Zumba

The Workout That Helped This Woman Lose 230 Pounds

Weight-loss success happens when you truly love to live a healthy lifestyle| as Cynthia Ortega found out. Here| she tells Zumba’s lifestyle blog| Zlife| about her struggles with weight and how she finally found what works ¡ª and lost 230 pounds!

Cynthia: Before

Born and raised in Houston| Cynthia Ortega used to look in the mirror and hate what she saw. “I felt horrible and sad|” she says. “I used to dread going to restaurants with my husband because I knew I wouldn’t fit in the seat.” Often smiling on the outside| deep down inside| she wasn’t happy. She was trapped in her own body| desperately wanting to be someone else. Even her husband| who was very supportive| felt helpless.

Heavy mostly her whole life| she had never exercised and had many failed attempts with crash diets. One day| while standing in line to order pizza with her husband| a little girl pointed at Cynthia and said to her mom| “Look mom| that’s a big lady!” Everyone heard it and Cynthia was mortified. In 2009| she was hospitalized with the swine flu and couldn’t even fit through the MRI machine. She went into an induced coma and had to learn to walk and eat again. Due to her weight| she also discovered she had sleep apnea and diabetes.

Cynthia: Before

At a crossroads in her life| it finally clicked for Cynthia that she had to get healthy for herself and her young son who looked up to his mom and needed a positive influence. In 2013| she stumbled across a gym near her home and peeked in to see people taking a Zumba class. “It just looked like a lot of fun and something I could do.” She and her friend signed up and| within one month of taking two classes per week| she lost 30 pounds! And that was just the beginning of her transformation.

Cynthia: After

Now 230 pounds lighter| she takes Zumba classes 12 times per week and puts more thought into her diet. She even started a YouTube page to chronicle her weight loss| called “BestFriendFitness” in the hopes of inspiring others out there to get healthy.

At 29 years old and married for eight years| Cynthia is inspiring her husband and family members to be healthy and eat foods in moderation. “Now| when my husband takes me out to a restaurant| I don’t have to care about the chairs and if I’ll fit in them. I love taking selfies and when I look in the mirror I feel great.” She recently went back to the doctor for some tests and stayed four extra days to find out that all her health issues had disappeared and her heart rate was that of a fit person’s!

Cynthia: After

So what is Cynthia’s advice to others who are suffering from weight issues? “Find what works for you and something you’re passionate about. You have to be persistent. You can’t expect results from one day to the next. Zumba Fitness is challenging for me. My friends think I make it look easy| but I get out of breath . . . sore . . . tired. It’s something that I truly love.”

Cynthia: After

More from ZLife:

5 Steps For a Better Body Image5 Ab-tastic ExercisesWhat Happens to Your Brain When You Dance?Image Source: Zlife by Zumba

Amanda’s Secret to Losing Over 100 Pounds Wasn’t a Diet

Our next Before & After story comes from Amanda Fraijo-Tobin, who blogs about life after losing 130 pounds on her blog Friday Love Song, which is part of our POPSUGAR Select Fitness network. Below, she shares how she lost the weight and how she keeps it off.

Amanda: Before

Growing up, I wasn’t severely overweight ¡ª sure, I had a pudgy stage, but a lot of people did! My weight wasn’t something I thought much about being a kid (as it shouldn’t be). My parents had good intentions, like most, but we certainly did not grow up eating very healthy. Snacks, soda, meals prepared without nutritional aspects considered. Soda became a very bad habit for me, especially as I got into my teens and didn’t have anyone stopping me from drinking so many.

Fast-forward to high school ¡ª like most high school girls, I thought I was fat. Even though, in retrospect, I clearly wasn’t. I didn’t let it consume my life, though I was a little on the chubby side (so I thought) and I was OK with that. Looking back, I think senior year is when the trouble began for me. Stress, changes in my life, poor eating, and not exercising (hello, gym-class-not-required-after-ninth-grade!) led me to pack on some weight. Again, I already felt like a “fat girl,” so I kept going with the mind-set of “This is me ¡ª this is who I am.” I was married young, had my first child at 20, and of course, packed on more weight. Divorced, remarried, and two more babies later ¡ª more weight.

My weight wasn’t something I paid attention to. I never weighed myself. The only time anyone took my weight was maybe once or twice a year when I had a doctor’s visit ¡ª and even then, I didn’t think much about it. This is me ¡ª this is who I am . . .

Amanda: Before

My husband is a type 2 diabetic. He had already been on tons of medications for several years to control his blood sugar and other problems associated with the disease. He got to the point of having to add insulin injections to his enormous list of meds. His doctor kept urging him to consider weight-loss surgery, telling him that, if he lost some weight, there was a possibility he may be able to stop taking some of his medications. This seemed like a great solution to my husband ¡ª I, on the other hand, disagreed. I told him repeatedly, this wasn’t the solution. If you don’t break bad habits that got you to a certain point, you could not possibly make a real change.

Insert lightbulb moment. Pot calling kettle black. Even though it wasn’t something I monitored, I was surely at the heaviest point of my life. I was waking up to get my son to school and collapsing on the couch for a nap once he was off. I was having random pains in my foot. I felt gross. I knew I needed to start making changes. I needed to make changes for myself, but also for my husband, for my kids. I needed to be a better example. This wasn’t about vanity. This was about life, making a better life for myself and my family.

I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. I had packed on the weight over the course of 10 years. I knew it was going to take some time to take it back off. I knew there would be times I would feel like quitting. But from the start, I adopted a “Today I will do what I can” kind of attitude. This went for exercise as well as eating habits. I knew all my bad eating habits were not going to disappear overnight. Slowly but surely, I made mental lists of things I was doing that were awful for my body and thought of ways to change them. Drink more water, read labels of items I was eating, etc. I had been having such severe pains in my heel that some days I could not even walk on it. Some days, I may not get through an entire workout like I wanted to ¡ª that’s OK. Today I will do what I can.

Amanda: After

I chose not to be vocal about my weight-loss journey from the start. I didn’t mention it to friends. My husband and my father were about the only people who knew what I was trying to accomplish. There were many days of whining on my part to my husband about aches and pains from making my body do things it wasn’t used to doing. I admit I have no idea for sure what my starting weight was. I have a general idea based on the last time I had been weighed at the doctors ¡ª but my journey began about six months, and what I’m guessing, may even be more pounds later. I did not start out with a goal weight in mind. I didn’t want one. I wanted to be healthier. Period. Healthy is not pounds on a scale. This is not a short fix; this is a change I will continue to make for the rest of my life.

How Did I Do It?

This is common sense, things we have heard a million times again and again. Change the way you eat. Exercise. Repeat. It’s amazing to me when people want to know my “secret.” I have no secret. And I find it even funnier when people feel let down by my answer. There is no magic pill. I have not dieted. I have not counted calories. I knew from the start that was not the way I wanted to live my life. This is a lifestyle change. Know that it’s going to be challenging, but have faith that you can make the changes you want to.

Amanda: After

About two years later now and around 125 to 135 pounds down, here I am. Still chugging along. Still making it part of my life to make better decisions for my own as well as my family’s health. Honestly, I still feel a little silly writing this. I have had people tell me that they think I am an inspiration, which blows my mind. But I am here to tell you: if I can do this, you can do this. All it takes is a true commitment. Am I a superfit person? No, of course not. But every day, I strive to be a little better. I am a real person who did this. I am a mom to three children with a full-time job, a husband, two dogs, and a million other things going on. It takes work. It takes time. But you can do this. Start today, one small change at a time. This is me ¡ª this is who I am. Today I will do what I can. Will you?

Do you have an inspiring Before & After story to share? Message us on Facebook, and give us a few details about your journey. We might even profile you on the site, like Amanda!

Image Source: Amanda Fraijo-Tobin

Amanda’s Secret to Losing Over 100 Pounds Wasn’t a Diet

Our next Before & After story comes from Amanda Fraijo-Tobin| who blogs about life after losing 130 pounds on her blog Friday Love Song| which is part of our POPSUGAR Select Fitness network. Below| she shares how she lost the weight and how she keeps it off.

Amanda: Before

Growing up| I wasn’t severely overweight ¡ª sure| I had a pudgy stage| but a lot of people did! My weight wasn’t something I thought much about being a kid (as it shouldn’t be). My parents had good intentions| like most| but we certainly did not grow up eating very healthy. Snacks| soda| meals prepared without nutritional aspects considered. Soda became a very bad habit for me| especially as I got into my teens and didn’t have anyone stopping me from drinking so many.

Fast-forward to high school ¡ª like most high school girls| I thought I was fat. Even though| in retrospect| I clearly wasn’t. I didn’t let it consume my life| though I was a little on the chubby side (so I thought) and I was OK with that. Looking back| I think senior year is when the trouble began for me. Stress| changes in my life| poor eating| and not exercising (hello| gym-class-not-required-after-ninth-grade!) led me to pack on some weight. Again| I already felt like a “fat girl|” so I kept going with the mind-set of “This is me ¡ª this is who I am.” I was married young| had my first child at 20| and of course| packed on more weight. Divorced| remarried| and two more babies later ¡ª more weight.

My weight wasn’t something I paid attention to. I never weighed myself. The only time anyone took my weight was maybe once or twice a year when I had a doctor’s visit ¡ª and even then| I didn’t think much about it. This is me ¡ª this is who I am . . .

Amanda: Before

My husband is a type 2 diabetic. He had already been on tons of medications for several years to control his blood sugar and other problems associated with the disease. He got to the point of having to add insulin injections to his enormous list of meds. His doctor kept urging him to consider weight-loss surgery| telling him that| if he lost some weight| there was a possibility he may be able to stop taking some of his medications. This seemed like a great solution to my husband ¡ª I| on the other hand| disagreed. I told him repeatedly| this wasn’t the solution. If you don’t break bad habits that got you to a certain point| you could not possibly make a real change.

Insert lightbulb moment. Pot calling kettle black. Even though it wasn’t something I monitored| I was surely at the heaviest point of my life. I was waking up to get my son to school and collapsing on the couch for a nap once he was off. I was having random pains in my foot. I felt gross. I knew I needed to start making changes. I needed to make changes for myself| but also for my husband| for my kids. I needed to be a better example. This wasn’t about vanity. This was about life| making a better life for myself and my family.

I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. I had packed on the weight over the course of 10 years. I knew it was going to take some time to take it back off. I knew there would be times I would feel like quitting. But from the start| I adopted a “Today I will do what I can” kind of attitude. This went for exercise as well as eating habits. I knew all my bad eating habits were not going to disappear overnight. Slowly but surely| I made mental lists of things I was doing that were awful for my body and thought of ways to change them. Drink more water| read labels of items I was eating| etc. I had been having such severe pains in my heel that some days I could not even walk on it. Some days| I may not get through an entire workout like I wanted to ¡ª that’s OK. Today I will do what I can.

Amanda: After

I chose not to be vocal about my weight-loss journey from the start. I didn’t mention it to friends. My husband and my father were about the only people who knew what I was trying to accomplish. There were many days of whining on my part to my husband about aches and pains from making my body do things it wasn’t used to doing. I admit I have no idea for sure what my starting weight was. I have a general idea based on the last time I had been weighed at the doctors ¡ª but my journey began about six months| and what I’m guessing| may even be more pounds later. I did not start out with a goal weight in mind. I didn’t want one. I wanted to be healthier. Period. Healthy is not pounds on a scale. This is not a short fix; this is a change I will continue to make for the rest of my life.

How Did I Do It?

This is common sense| things we have heard a million times again and again. Change the way you eat. Exercise. Repeat. It’s amazing to me when people want to know my “secret.” I have no secret. And I find it even funnier when people feel let down by my answer. There is no magic pill. I have not dieted. I have not counted calories. I knew from the start that was not the way I wanted to live my life. This is a lifestyle change. Know that it’s going to be challenging| but have faith that you can make the changes you want to.

Amanda: After

About two years later now and around 125 to 135 pounds down| here I am. Still chugging along. Still making it part of my life to make better decisions for my own as well as my family’s health. Honestly| I still feel a little silly writing this. I have had people tell me that they think I am an inspiration| which blows my mind. But I am here to tell you: if I can do this| you can do this. All it takes is a true commitment. Am I a superfit person? No| of course not. But every day| I strive to be a little better. I am a real person who did this. I am a mom to three children with a full-time job| a husband| two dogs| and a million other things going on. It takes work. It takes time. But you can do this. Start today| one small change at a time. This is me ¡ª this is who I am. Today I will do what I can. Will you?

Do you have an inspiring Before & After story to share? Message us on Facebook| and give us a few details about your journey. We might even profile you on the site| like Amanda!

Image Source: Amanda Fraijo-Tobin

The 1 Change This Woman Made to Drop Those Last 10 Pounds

The struggle to lose weight is very real, so you’ll completely relate to Wendy Mehaffey’s story. This 37-year-old chiropractor and mother of two was fed up with carrying around that extra 10 pounds. She had tried losing the weight before, but what she was doing wasn’t making a big enough impact. Here’s how she finally did something about it.

Wendy: Before

POPSUGAR: What was your daily diet like? Any off-limits foods? Was it different on the weekend?

Wendy Mehaffey: I always felt like I made healthy choices for the majority of my meals. I stay away from soda and sweets. My downfall comes in the form of bagels/breads/rice. I am a carbavore, and that’s always been something I’ve had to work at. I would treat myself to Starbucks two to three times a week for a latte, too! However, my main issue was portion control. I would eat more than I should, going back for a little extra on most occasions. I never restricted any foods from my diet and believe in moderation. But it doesn’t matter when you’re eating two servings at each meal how healthy it is. It still adds up.

Now, I stick very tightly to portioning out my meals. Every meal goes into my portion containers (the same ones from the 21-Day Fix). I felt the most confident when I measured out my lunches and dinners. I preplanned each meal, as to not make bad/wrong choices when I was hungry and needing something quick on the fly. This made it a foolproof plan. I was extremely strict six days per week. On the seventh day, I allowed myself a cheat day. This way, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything that I may have craved (similar to the Body For Life). Here’s an example of a typical day’s meal plan:

Breakfast: Three egg whites, one egg, three pieces of turkey sausage

Snack: Protein shake (GNC natural whey protein powder natural chocolate flavor mixed with water) and a piece of fruit

Lunch: Broiled veggies (a mix of broccoli, squash, green beans, zucchini, onions, mushrooms) with either grilled chicken or ground turkey

Snack: Zone Perfect Protein bar (all-time fave is Chocolate Mint) and 10 to 12 nuts

Dinner: Grilled turkey burger (no bun) on salad or grilled chicken with steamed veggies, and occasionally wine or beer

When I would get a sweet craving, I would have a strawberry. Works like a charm!

PS: What was your workout schedule?

WM: I love running, and I play ice hockey. I typically maintain 15 to 18 miles per week. When the Spring approached, I increased mileage since I’ve always been a fair-weather runner. By this Summer, I was up to 30 miles per week, which was also a big help. I have a great neighborhood filled with moms who love to run. One of my neighbors suggested we start running together at 6 a.m. a few times a week [that was me, BTW!]. It’s been fantastic! Very motivational to know there is someone waiting for you to run with. You can’t let them down so you drag yourself there, and when you’re done, you feel great! It was an easy way to boost my mileage and get my workouts in without taking away from my family and work responsibilities.

Wendy: After

PS: How long did it take you to lose the weight?

WM: I decided to start with the portion control and clean eating about four months ago. It took me about 2.5 months to lose 10 pounds (I’ve lost 20 in total).

PS: How did you stay motivated? Did you have a goal?

WM: There are two things that have kept me motivated. One is a post from a friend on Facebook. She said something to the effect of, “I’m sick of not giving things 100 percent.” This resonated with me. I would always make excuses of why I would not wake up early to work out. I went to bed late, or my kids were up all night, or a million other excuses. I wasn’t even giving it 50 percent! I was just full of excuses. They all sounded so legitimate at the time. Also, another friend said something to me that has also stuck. I hear it every time I’m feeling weak and wanting some food that might take me off track. He told me, “I think you look great, but you must not be serious about losing weight if you’re not doing what it takes to lose it.” That has been huge for my motivation. I completely agree with it! It’s not easy, but it’s worth the way I feel to forgo the extra scoop of dinner. My goal was to feel and look like the mom I always envisioned I would be. I am finally there!

Wendy: After

PS: How are you maintaining your weight?

WM: I still use the measuring cups to portion out my food. I feel like if I didn’t, portions would be getting a little larger and a little larger and I would run into the same problem again of overeating portion sizes. So this way I know that I don’t have to question myself. I still stay away from carbs at lunch and dinner, but I have added back in a few more calories. I will put avocado and cheese on my salad, and I have added in nuts with my afternoon snack. And I still incorporate my cheat day.

PS: Any advice for other women trying to drop those last 10 pounds?

WM: We all have a bunch of excuses that all seem so real in our heads. We don’t have the time, we didn’t sleep enough, we have to get up too early, etc. If you can just commit to doing it ¡ª 100 percent this time ¡ª you’ll find it feels AMAZING. It’s also important to have a supportive network of friends. Find some neighbors or an exercise group that you can be held accountable with.

The 1 Change This Woman Made to Drop Those Last 10 Pounds

The struggle to lose weight is very real| so you’ll completely relate to Wendy Mehaffey’s story. This 37-year-old chiropractor and mother of two was fed up with carrying around that extra 10 pounds. She had tried losing the weight before| but what she was doing wasn’t making a big enough impact. Here’s how she finally did something about it.

Wendy: Before

POPSUGAR: What was your daily diet like? Any off-limits foods? Was it different on the weekend?

Wendy Mehaffey: I always felt like I made healthy choices for the majority of my meals. I stay away from soda and sweets. My downfall comes in the form of bagels/breads/rice. I am a carbavore| and that’s always been something I’ve had to work at. I would treat myself to Starbucks two to three times a week for a latte| too! However| my main issue was portion control. I would eat more than I should| going back for a little extra on most occasions. I never restricted any foods from my diet and believe in moderation. But it doesn’t matter when you’re eating two servings at each meal how healthy it is. It still adds up.

Now| I stick very tightly to portioning out my meals. Every meal goes into my portion containers (the same ones from the 21-Day Fix). I felt the most confident when I measured out my lunches and dinners. I preplanned each meal| as to not make bad/wrong choices when I was hungry and needing something quick on the fly. This made it a foolproof plan. I was extremely strict six days per week. On the seventh day| I allowed myself a cheat day. This way| I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything that I may have craved (similar to the Body For Life). Here’s an example of a typical day’s meal plan:

Breakfast: Three egg whites| one egg| three pieces of turkey sausage

Snack: Protein shake (GNC natural whey protein powder natural chocolate flavor mixed with water) and a piece of fruit

Lunch: Broiled veggies (a mix of broccoli| squash| green beans| zucchini| onions| mushrooms) with either grilled chicken or ground turkey

Snack: Zone Perfect Protein bar (all-time fave is Chocolate Mint) and 10 to 12 nuts

Dinner: Grilled turkey burger (no bun) on salad or grilled chicken with steamed veggies| and occasionally wine or beer

When I would get a sweet craving| I would have a strawberry. Works like a charm!

PS: What was your workout schedule?

WM: I love running| and I play ice hockey. I typically maintain 15 to 18 miles per week. When the Spring approached| I increased mileage since I’ve always been a fair-weather runner. By this Summer| I was up to 30 miles per week| which was also a big help. I have a great neighborhood filled with moms who love to run. One of my neighbors suggested we start running together at 6 a.m. a few times a week [that was me| BTW!]. It’s been fantastic! Very motivational to know there is someone waiting for you to run with. You can’t let them down so you drag yourself there| and when you’re done| you feel great! It was an easy way to boost my mileage and get my workouts in without taking away from my family and work responsibilities.

Wendy: After

PS: How long did it take you to lose the weight?

WM: I decided to start with the portion control and clean eating about four months ago. It took me about 2.5 months to lose 10 pounds (I’ve lost 20 in total).

PS: How did you stay motivated? Did you have a goal?

WM: There are two things that have kept me motivated. One is a post from a friend on Facebook. She said something to the effect of| “I’m sick of not giving things 100 percent.” This resonated with me. I would always make excuses of why I would not wake up early to work out. I went to bed late| or my kids were up all night| or a million other excuses. I wasn’t even giving it 50 percent! I was just full of excuses. They all sounded so legitimate at the time. Also| another friend said something to me that has also stuck. I hear it every time I’m feeling weak and wanting some food that might take me off track. He told me| “I think you look great| but you must not be serious about losing weight if you’re not doing what it takes to lose it.” That has been huge for my motivation. I completely agree with it! It’s not easy| but it’s worth the way I feel to forgo the extra scoop of dinner. My goal was to feel and look like the mom I always envisioned I would be. I am finally there!

Wendy: After

PS: How are you maintaining your weight?

WM: I still use the measuring cups to portion out my food. I feel like if I didn’t| portions would be getting a little larger and a little larger and I would run into the same problem again of overeating portion sizes. So this way I know that I don’t have to question myself. I still stay away from carbs at lunch and dinner| but I have added back in a few more calories. I will put avocado and cheese on my salad| and I have added in nuts with my afternoon snack. And I still incorporate my cheat day.

PS: Any advice for other women trying to drop those last 10 pounds?

WM: We all have a bunch of excuses that all seem so real in our heads. We don’t have the time| we didn’t sleep enough| we have to get up too early| etc. If you can just commit to doing it ¡ª 100 percent this time ¡ª you’ll find it feels AMAZING. It’s also important to have a supportive network of friends. Find some neighbors or an exercise group that you can be held accountable with.

At Over 500 Pounds, I Was Finally Tired of Being Fat and Unhealthy

The following weight-loss success story was originally featured on DDP YOGA, a fitness and health community that helps people struggling with weight, lose hundreds of pounds with yoga.

There are some stories that are so incredible that Dallas himself questions if they are real. Dallas first met Jared while in Park City, UT, premiering the documentary The Resurrection of Jake the Snake, at the Slamdance Film Festival.

After an extremely emotional screening of the film, Dallas was outside the theater, thanking people for attending, and that’s when Jared first walked up to him. He was tentative waiting in line to talk to Dallas, and when he did, he said, “I just wanted to thank you for creating DDP YOGA. I’ve been doing it for nine months, and I lost 180 pounds so far.”

Dallas was a bit skeptical, so he asked Jared, “Did you happen to join TeamDDPYOGA.com?” As much as Dallas believes in DDP YOGA, he knew that losing this amount of weight was a monumental task ¡ª and at the same time, Jared was still a big guy. He had started his journey at over 500 pounds, so he was still at least 380 pounds.

“Yes, I did.” Jared responded.

Dallas got a little more excited.

“Did you happen to take your before photos?” he continued.

“I did after my first week.” said Jared.

“Thank God!” Dallas exclaimed. There was actual proof of such an amazing accomplishment.

Nine months later, Jared was invited to the DDP YOGA Performance Center to be a part of the new workout videos ¡ª starting at over 500 pounds, Jared had managed to get so fit that he could do the most challenging DDP YOGA workouts. Everyone, including Dallas, was amazed by the progress Jared had made since we had last seen him . . . everyone except Jared. It seemed like, although he was happy with his results, he didn’t quite understand how big a deal it was to everyone around him.

So that’s when Dallas asked Jared to read his very first blog entry. As you can see in the video, above, there’s an incredibly powerful moment when Jared realizes just how far he has come. After over 40 years of being overweight, Jared had managed to lose 300 pounds in just a little over one year, by eating real food and doing DDP YOGA. His story continues to inspire us all, and hopefully it will inspire many, many others that it’s never too late to change your life.

Image Source: DDP YOGA

At Over 500 Pounds, I Was Finally Tired of Being Fat and Unhealthy

The following weight-loss success story was originally featured on DDP YOGA| a fitness and health community that helps people struggling with weight| lose hundreds of pounds with yoga.

There are some stories that are so incredible that Dallas himself questions if they are real. Dallas first met Jared while in Park City| UT| premiering the documentary The Resurrection of Jake the Snake| at the Slamdance Film Festival.

After an extremely emotional screening of the film| Dallas was outside the theater| thanking people for attending| and that’s when Jared first walked up to him. He was tentative waiting in line to talk to Dallas| and when he did| he said| “I just wanted to thank you for creating DDP YOGA. I’ve been doing it for nine months| and I lost 180 pounds so far.”

Dallas was a bit skeptical| so he asked Jared| “Did you happen to join TeamDDPYOGA.com?” As much as Dallas believes in DDP YOGA| he knew that losing this amount of weight was a monumental task ¡ª and at the same time| Jared was still a big guy. He had started his journey at over 500 pounds| so he was still at least 380 pounds.

“Yes| I did.” Jared responded.

Dallas got a little more excited.

“Did you happen to take your before photos?” he continued.

“I did after my first week.” said Jared.

“Thank God!” Dallas exclaimed. There was actual proof of such an amazing accomplishment.

Nine months later| Jared was invited to the DDP YOGA Performance Center to be a part of the new workout videos ¡ª starting at over 500 pounds| Jared had managed to get so fit that he could do the most challenging DDP YOGA workouts. Everyone| including Dallas| was amazed by the progress Jared had made since we had last seen him . . . everyone except Jared. It seemed like| although he was happy with his results| he didn’t quite understand how big a deal it was to everyone around him.

So that’s when Dallas asked Jared to read his very first blog entry. As you can see in the video| above| there’s an incredibly powerful moment when Jared realizes just how far he has come. After over 40 years of being overweight| Jared had managed to lose 300 pounds in just a little over one year| by eating real food and doing DDP YOGA. His story continues to inspire us all| and hopefully it will inspire many| many others that it’s never too late to change your life.

Image Source: DDP YOGA

Andie Lost 40 Pounds by Being a ‘Fitness Slut’

After having three kids, founder of the healthy-living blog Maybe I Will Andie Thueson felt controlled by food. She knew it was time for a change, so she started eating healthier and working out. Patience was her key to success and she lost 40 pounds and has kept it off.

Andie: Before

POPSUGAR: What made you decide to start?

Andie Thueson: After I had my third child, I was bigger than I had ever been and I was completely controlled by food. I was tired all the time and as much as I wanted to blame that on being a mom to three, I knew it was because I wasn’t working out or eating right. I was putting everyone else’s needs above my own. As much as I love my children, I knew that if they were going to get the best me possible, I needed to change. I needed to start working out and I needed to finally get control of my relationship with food and feed my body with healthy good foods instead of cheap processed garbage.

PS: What’s your favorite way to work out?

AT: I LOVE to wake up and work out! It just sets the tone for my entire day. I’m what you would call a fitness slut; I don’t stick to any one way to work out; I LOVE mixing it up and trying new things!PS: What’s your weekly exercise schedule?AT: I work out Monday through Friday at 6 a.m. for about an hour before I rush home and get my kids ready for school. On the weekends I am a little more lax and fit my workout in sometime in the morning.

Andie: After

PS: How do you keep workouts exciting?

AT: As I previously mentioned, I love to mix things up! I recently started listening to podcasts during my workouts, so I am bettering my bod and my mind all at the same time. It has been a fun way to mix things up and keep my workout exciting.

PS: How much weight have you lost?

AT: I’ve lost 40 pounds.

PS: What was the first big difference, other than the number on the scale, that really made you feel proud and excited?

AT: Once the weight came off, I became so much more confident and more comfortable in my own skin. I found that exercise was the best part of my day and it really helped me to be a more centered and energetic person. I never thought that sweating and pushing myself so hard at the gym would become a part of who I was.

Andie: Before

PS: How do you track your weight loss?

AT: I typically weigh myself once a week, just to make sure that I stay in “my range.”

PS: What’s a typical day of meals and snacks?

AT: I usually will start eating around 11 or 12 and will eat a meal with lots of veggies and lean protein and will eat a snack or two as needed and then a well-balanced dinner and then I will close the kitchen around 7 p.m. and be done eating. I factor in some type of treat every day! I just make sure it fits into my calories and macros!

PS: What’s the range of calories you eat per day?AT: I like to stay around 1500 to 1600.

Andie: After

PS: What are the healthy staples that are always in your fridge? AT: I love snap peas and guacamole packs! They are so easy to grab and go and are super filling! I also LOVE Quest Bars! They are like eating a candy bar and are a savored treat!

PS: How do you strategize for meals out? AT: I always try to either split my meal or eat half and box the rest. Eating out is supposed to be fun! When you add too many restrictions, I think you are setting yourself up for failure. My biggest advice is just to watch portions! Enjoy your food and STOP when you are full.

PS: What advice do you have for anyone starting out on a weight-loss journey? AT: Have patience with yourself! When I first started I wanted to lose all this weight fast, so I was super restrictive and I demonized “bad foods” I would do OK for a bit, but inevitably I would cave! But instead of eating a healthy, normal-sized portion, I would binge ¡ª it was like I could not stop myself! So I shifted my mindset and became friends with food and instead of putting foods on lists of “naughty” or “nice,” I began to eat for my health and better energy and would enjoy a treat here and there for fun! This change in mindset made all the difference for me.

Image Source: Andie Thueson

Andie Lost 40 Pounds by Being a ‘Fitness Slut’

After having three kids| founder of the healthy-living blog Maybe I Will Andie Thueson felt controlled by food. She knew it was time for a change| so she started eating healthier and working out. Patience was her key to success and she lost 40 pounds and has kept it off.

Andie: Before

POPSUGAR: What made you decide to start?

Andie Thueson: After I had my third child| I was bigger than I had ever been and I was completely controlled by food. I was tired all the time and as much as I wanted to blame that on being a mom to three| I knew it was because I wasn’t working out or eating right. I was putting everyone else’s needs above my own. As much as I love my children| I knew that if they were going to get the best me possible| I needed to change. I needed to start working out and I needed to finally get control of my relationship with food and feed my body with healthy good foods instead of cheap processed garbage.

PS: What’s your favorite way to work out?

AT: I LOVE to wake up and work out! It just sets the tone for my entire day. I’m what you would call a fitness slut; I don’t stick to any one way to work out; I LOVE mixing it up and trying new things!PS: What’s your weekly exercise schedule?AT: I work out Monday through Friday at 6 a.m. for about an hour before I rush home and get my kids ready for school. On the weekends I am a little more lax and fit my workout in sometime in the morning.

Andie: After

PS: How do you keep workouts exciting?

AT: As I previously mentioned| I love to mix things up! I recently started listening to podcasts during my workouts| so I am bettering my bod and my mind all at the same time. It has been a fun way to mix things up and keep my workout exciting.

PS: How much weight have you lost?

AT: I’ve lost 40 pounds.

PS: What was the first big difference| other than the number on the scale| that really made you feel proud and excited?

AT: Once the weight came off| I became so much more confident and more comfortable in my own skin. I found that exercise was the best part of my day and it really helped me to be a more centered and energetic person. I never thought that sweating and pushing myself so hard at the gym would become a part of who I was.

Andie: Before

PS: How do you track your weight loss?

AT: I typically weigh myself once a week| just to make sure that I stay in “my range.”

PS: What’s a typical day of meals and snacks?

AT: I usually will start eating around 11 or 12 and will eat a meal with lots of veggies and lean protein and will eat a snack or two as needed and then a well-balanced dinner and then I will close the kitchen around 7 p.m. and be done eating. I factor in some type of treat every day! I just make sure it fits into my calories and macros!

PS: What’s the range of calories you eat per day?AT: I like to stay around 1500 to 1600.

Andie: After

PS: What are the healthy staples that are always in your fridge? AT: I love snap peas and guacamole packs! They are so easy to grab and go and are super filling! I also LOVE Quest Bars! They are like eating a candy bar and are a savored treat!

PS: How do you strategize for meals out? AT: I always try to either split my meal or eat half and box the rest. Eating out is supposed to be fun! When you add too many restrictions| I think you are setting yourself up for failure. My biggest advice is just to watch portions! Enjoy your food and STOP when you are full.

PS: What advice do you have for anyone starting out on a weight-loss journey? AT: Have patience with yourself! When I first started I wanted to lose all this weight fast| so I was super restrictive and I demonized “bad foods” I would do OK for a bit| but inevitably I would cave! But instead of eating a healthy| normal-sized portion| I would binge ¡ª it was like I could not stop myself! So I shifted my mindset and became friends with food and instead of putting foods on lists of “naughty” or “nice|” I began to eat for my health and better energy and would enjoy a treat here and there for fun! This change in mindset made all the difference for me.

Image Source: Andie Thueson