But by learning the inside scoop from women who’ve been there (and are still there), you can take their winning weight-loss strategies for a spin to see if they’re a fit for you too—or just use them as a source of inspiration to find your own.
“I stick to the 80/20 diet as closely as possible. That means 80 percent of my meals are made up of veggies, lean protein, healthy fats, and whole grains. The other 20 percent of my meals are more lax. I’ll eat the things I crave, like a burger at Shake Shack (my favorite), bagels, and pizza once a month—that’s it. The 80 percent of my healthy meals are planned in advance, and I use meal prep to make it happen. If you let yourself decide in the moment (like when it’s 2 p.m. and you realize you forgot to eat lunch), then your decisions are likely to be unhealthy. If you plan in advance, there’s less room for getting off track. These strategies have been so effective for me because they fit nicely into my lifestyle. Over time, I’ve realized that there’s no one-size-fits-all way to create a healthy lifestyle. I found what works best for me, and I stuck with it instead of getting distracted with other health trends.” —Talia Koren
“I think the hardest part is staying motivated with my fitness regimen—either I get bored, or my body gets used to my workouts and I stop seeing results, which makes me feel like quitting. To keep myself from falling into that trap, I always mix things up with my fitness. Yes, I still believe that strength training is key for weight loss for women, but there are other ways to work out too that are (way) more fun.
“Currently, I’m on a dance kick! I take fun classes at Dogpatch Dance and Yoga in San Francisco, which has heels classes, Caribbean-style dancehall classes, tap classes to Beyonce, and even classes that have super-sexy choreography. Sometimes, I’ll take four classes back-to-back and not even think about it until I check my FitBit and it says I’ve burned almost 1,600 calories. I also do yoga, which is on demand, when I need a rest but still want to move my body. When I combine fun fitness experiences with my traditional strength training I never fall into a rut and my body keeps progressing—and best of all, I keep the weight off.
“This journey can be so difficult when you’re going it alone. I make sure that I have multiple tribes of people to help keep me accountable. Each month, a group of women and I check in with our daily workouts and meals via a tracking app—it’s nice to see everyone’s posts, and we always motivate and encourage each other. I also keep in touch with a group of women on Instagram. Although we’ve never met in person, we always like and comment on each other’s posts and DM each other for motivation. Additionally, a group of people I take dance classes with participate in private FB chats to stay connected. The camaraderie and accountability ensure that I don’t let my excuses keep me from staying on track with my fitness and nutrition.” —Allison Tibbs (Dance your way fit with High-Intensity Dance Cardio, the first-ever socanomics DVD!)
“My exercise isn’t limited to structured workouts. I take two 15-minute walks daily during my breaks at work, and I also make it a goal to hit 10,000 steps a day on my FitBit. When it comes to nutrition, I truly believe that all food can be purposeful and enjoyed in moderation; you need to eat to fuel your body properly, but sometimes you also need food that nourishes the soul. I’m less likely to overeat if I honor my hunger cues and cravings.
“I track and monitor my progress through a variety of methods, including the scale, body-fat tests, progress pictures, and measurements. Instead of focusing on the day-to-day fluctuations, I look for trends over time. This helps hold me accountable and lets me know when I need to make adjustments to my eating or training. At the gym, I stick with mostly compound lifts. The more lean muscle mass I add to my body, the more calories my body burns at rest. I also make sure to consume enough protein and calories overall to maintain my muscle mass. Hydration is everything. When I drink at least 100 ounces of water a day, I stay fuller longer, have better skin, and am less bloated.” —Ellen Yin
“I think one of the most important parts of maintaining the weight loss is staying consistent while also leaving room to have some fun. At the time that I lost the weight, I was doing consistent eating challenges that were pretty strict. Sometimes that meant no alcohol and no eating out (unless I knew how the restaurant cooked the food and if they served proper portions). However, being strict all the time isn’t sustainable. So, to maintain that weight loss and strike a balance between consistency and fun, I settled on allowing myself two cheat meals a week. This means that every Sunday I still prep all my lunches for the week, but I leave myself open to go out and enjoy a burger at some point if I’d like. Having this split of being mostly healthy, but still allowing myself to eat things outside of that seems to be the perfect balance for maintenance.” —Megan Bauer