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How to Lose 10 Pounds (and More) from Women Who Did It

These insider tips from 16 people who lost weight could tip the scale for you.

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how to lose 10 pounds

Seek out others with similar goals

Newsroom editor Kate McGinty, 33, of Cincinnati, OH, found success losing weight—74 pounds, to be exact—by participating in a private accountability group on Facebook. Group members all started the same workout program—21-Day Fix, which they could do in their living rooms for just 30 minutes a day—and committed to checking in with each other on the platform every day. “The accountability was a huge help. I wasn’t alone. Having the support group means having people to celebrate with you, cheer you, relate to you, and hold you accountable,” she says. Follow McGinty’s journey on Instagram @kjmcginty.

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Adopt the right mindset

For 26-year-old Tiffany Elizabeth of Clearwater, FL, changing her expectations made all the difference. In the past, she felt dieting wasn’t worth it if she couldn’t lose at least a pound a day, she says. “This time, I decided I needed to make a lifestyle out of it.” This meant permanently cutting out all her favourite foods: bread, pasta, cake, donuts. To resist temptation, she decided to eliminate gluten and dairy. “When you get rid of those foods, you’re down to a much shorter list and it actually makes it a lot easier.”

She’s lost 84 pounds and hopes to drop 10 to 15 more. “Don’t make a temporary change—that doesn’t work! If you want to see results, you need to change your lifestyle,” she says. If you’re looking for inspiration to get started on your own weight loss journey, check out her Instagram @myadventuretofit.

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Don’t view food as the enemy

Katarzyna Wentland, 23, from Gniezno, Poland, worked out with fitness DVDs and then with a personal trainer to shed 30 pounds. But the most valuable strategy was learning how to have a healthy relationship with food, she says. Her key: Don’t deprive yourself. “No starvation diet; it’s so stupid. After eating nothing, you eat more than you need and don’t have energy,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to go out with friends or eat sweets every so often. Balance in life is super important.” Follow her on Instagram at @catherine_khw. If there’s any food that you want to avoid, it’s these foods that nutritionists never to eat.

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Set realistic goals and reward yourself

While Kristina Guice calorie counted and exercised, she found that setting small, achievable goals for herself is what helped the most. “Thinking ‘I need to lose 50 pounds’ is so daunting,” says the 26-year-old who lives in Tucson, AZ. “Breaking that up into small milestones of five or so pounds helps a lot.” She shed 103 pounds in all, and rewarded herself for hitting each small goal: new jeans, a manicure, or workout equipment or accessories. “The rewards helped keep me focused and on track.”

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Play with your food

There’s no longer such thing as a cookie-cutter diet, discovered 21-year-old Alexandra Orr, of Philadelphia, PA. She tried Arbonne, a health and wellness company that steered her toward a surprising eating plan. She cut out dairy and gluten and quickly lost 15 pounds; what’s more, her chronic bloating dissipated and she gained more energy, clearer skin, and a better mood. “I decided to keep using their products, eating clean, and working out,” she says. “Within three months I was down 50 pounds! Everyone’s body is different and accepts different foods in a different way. Listening to your body is so important because it will get you to your goals.”

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Set a routine that works for you

The first regimen Michel Taylor, 25, of Austin, TX, tried didn’t stick: She planned to go to the gym twice a week, but found that wasn’t enough. Then she made it a daily habit. “I fell into my routine of going to work and then going to the gym. My body craved the movement and gym time allowed me to de-stress from work,” she says. Incorporating weight lifting and cardio, Taylor dropped 40 pounds and went from 32 percent body fat to 19 percent. She also no longer needs to rely on medication for sleep, depression, or anxiety. Follow her on Instagram at @mishamai.

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Go easy on yourself

Juggling two young children and postpartum depression has made shedding pounds a challenge for Lauren Mudd, 33, of Spotsylvania, VA. (Psst: This is how soon you can exercise after giving birth.) Still, Mudd is happy with the progress she’s made and knows she’ll lose the last 10 pounds to make it to her goal weight. Once a week she allows herself to give in to a craving or two. “That way, I don’t feel deprived,” she says. “I’ll indulge in wine or a cocktail here or there—after all, I’m a mom of two children under the age of three!” And, she doesn’t beat herself up if she backslides. “There are some weeks where I don’t eat healthy or work out at all. The most important thing to realize is that this is a journey, not a race,” she says. Get inspired by following her Instagram at @laurenn.mudd.

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You have to want it, and commit

At 175 pounds, Sophie Traulsen, 23, of Chandler, AZ, knew she wanted to lose weight, and she had the perfect reason. “I wanted to feel sexy and confident in my wedding dress,” she says. That motivation proved to be enough to reach her goal, but she didn’t stop there. “Don’t think you can lose weight and then go back to the way things were,” she says. Now close to 45 pounds lighter than when she started, Traulsen’s Instagram page is filled with daily inspiration, healthy recipes, and information about the workout plan she uses.

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Give clean-eating a shot

January 15, 2012, is a memorable date for Desiree S., 32, of Manitoba, Canada. “It was the day I woke up and realized: ‘No more excuses, no more lying to myself, no more fad diets, herbal pills, or detox kits,’” she says. She weighed 275 pounds at the time—her heaviest. After scouring Tosca Reno’s clean-eating website, she chose to eliminate red meat, flour, pasta, refined sugars, and fried foods, replacing them with plenty of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and daily smoothies packed with vitamins, good fats, and protein. Combining this with a renewed commitment to exercise, she lost 140 pounds. Now, she’s focused on being a body-positive role model, coach, and personal trainer. Follow her on Instagram at @nakedhealthjourney.

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Tap into your competitive side

When her mom gave her a Fitbit activity tracker, 308-pound Savannah Bouziden, 31, of Alva, OK, let her competitive nature take over. “Being the competitive person that I am, I took part in challenges and strived to hit that 10,000 step goal every single day. I actually began to enjoy being active again,” she says.

Having lost 103 pounds, Bouziden is still 30 pounds from her goal weight but says she now bases her success on how she feels physically and mentally. “I feel pretty fantastic when I can play with my toddlers and not get winded,” says Bouziden. “The first time I could actually go down the slide with my girls, I cried.” Follow her progress on Instagram at @getfitvannah.

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Find role models

“Something that really helped me throughout my journey was to look at pictures of women who inspired me,” says Isabelle Audette, 20, of Montreal, Canada. “I would scroll through images of fitness models, saying to myself, ‘one day, I’ll have the body she has.’” It worked: she went from 224 to 124 pounds in 10 months. “Everybody is unique and we’re all shaped differently, but this is what kept me going every morning. It doesn’t have to be a model for you, it can even be a dress or jeans you know you want to fit into someday.” Follow her on Instagram at @iisaxxo.

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Don’t worship the scale

The last time she checked, Janelle Flanagan, 42, had lost 50 pounds, down from 188. But now, she simply focuses on completing her HIIT workouts and eating a healthy, balanced diet. “I never weigh myself at all anymore. The number means nothing to me and is not a goal. My goal is to be a better version of myself every day,” says the mother of four from New Jersey.

“I have learned to appreciate my body and love it for what it is capable of,” she says. Her weight-loss journey lead her to become a personal trainer, and she says she loves helping women across the world lose weight and learn to love themselves. For inspiration and motivation, follow her on Instagram at @Janelledfit.

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Try meal prep

Planning ahead helped Katy H., 28, of Washington, DC, shed 80 of her original 245 pounds. “I packed healthy lunches, snacks, and dinners. I invested in lots of storage containers, a Crockpot slow-cooker, and water bottles,” she says. She also quit soda “cold turkey” and instead focused on drinking water and lots of unsweetened tea throughout the day. She’s kept the weight off by trying healthy eating challenges like Whole30 and discovering a passion for Crossfit and road races. “I’ve run two half-marathons and even more 10-mile races,” she says. Here’s your beginner’s guide to training for a half marathon.

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Mix it up

“Constantly changing my routine kept my body guessing and kept me from getting burnt out,” says 27-year-old Alexis Ohl of Terre Haute, IN. “I would try new foods weekly. I also tried to do different physical activities, from biking to Zumba,” she says. In two years, Ohl went from 485 pounds to her new 177-pound self. “I’ve lost 308 pounds and my ultimate goal is just to be happy and healthy with a life I’m in love with,” she says. Documenting her progress on social media has helped Ohl stay accountable; follow her on Instagram at @fatgirlfedup. Meanwhile, don’t fall for these weight-loss mistakes.

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Think outside the box

Kensie Benoit, 28, needed to get creative to drop 40 pounds. “The combination of intermittent fasting and drinking meal replacement shakes for two of my five daily meals not only helped me lose weight, it also helped me maintain that weight loss,” says the court reporter and public speaker from San Antonio, TX. The willingness to experiment led to her success.

Benoit severely restricted her calories a couple of days a week. (Another way to intermittent fast is to only eat between certain hours—10 a.m. and 6 p.m., for example.) Benoit says she also drank 8 to 10 cups of water a day to suppress her appetite and regularly exercised.

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Realize you may always be a work in progress

Although Paromita Chakraborty, 34, of Mumbai, India, would still like to lose a few more pounds (she’s already lost 33), she keeps reminding herself: “My transformation isn’t complete, yet, but I have started feeling fabulous during this journey itself.”

She’s stronger, has more stamina, and oozes self-confidence—which makes a goal weight moot. “I didn’t have to get to my destination to feel great,” she says. “I’m already a much happier and more positive person.” Follow her on Instagram at @cparomita.

then check out these other inspiring tips from people who lost 50+ pounds—and kept them off.

Now that you know how to lose 10 pounds, don’t miss these inspiring mantras that will help you hustle even harder.