My weight issue started in college: But instead of gaining the usual 15 pounds, I put on the freshman 40! The main culprit was multicourse meals out with my boyfriend (who's now my husband). By the time I was 25, I was seven months pregnant with our third child and tipping the scales at 250 pounds. Still, it wasn't until a friend's friend died due to obesity-related issues that I decided to change.
Seeing myself smaller In January 2005, a month after giving birth, I began telling myself, "I am tall, slender and a size 8!" Having a positive inner voice was a good start, but I knew I needed to make over my eating habits, too. I traded fast food for skinless chicken breasts or ground turkey with broccoli and brown rice. I also cut out sugar, including my favorite treat, icing, which I used to put on everything—candy bars, bread, even ice cream! Within three months I had dropped 20 pounds, and clothes I long ago sized out of fit again. This was enough encouragement to help keep me on track.
Falling for exercise Once I had my diet under control, I joined a local church's aerobics ministry, taking workout classes three times a week. By the fall, I had lost another 50 pounds and added running, which thinned out my frame and sculpted my legs. Who knew that in just 15 months I'd go from a size 20 to an 8? These days I've replaced those 8s with 4s and gone from stay-at-home mom to personal trainer. The best part of my new job: helping women reach their goals of living healthy and fit lives.
By the numbers:
Tamyala Ezell 35, 5'8" Warner Robins, Ga.
Before: Weight: 250 lb. Dress size: 18/20
Jamie Hopper After: Weight: 145 lb. Dress size: 4
Total lost: Weight: 105 lb. Sizes lost: 7--8
Get inspired Check out the secrets of Tamyala's body makeover. Follow Health on Pinterest (pinterest.com/goodhealth) and find tips on our Thinspiration board.
The surprise supper: Pasta I love pasta and didn't want to let it go, so I just made mine healthier. I pair wheat varieties with veggies or seafood. It's super simple to make in a pinch.
The sweet cheat: Mangoes To curb my hankering for treats, I eat mangoes. They have a natural sweetness that does the trick. Plus, they're low in calories and high in fiber.
The workout for mind and body: Running I used to drive by runners and think, I want to be like those people. Now I am (that's me, upper right)! Running is a time to think and work through issues.
The lower-body saver: Squats My lower body has always been my stubborn area, so I focus a lot of attention on it. To keep it tight, I do Sumo Squats. They target all of my problem areas (butt and inner thighs) in one easy move!
Share your transformation Have an amazing body makeover of your own? Tell us about it and let us know what diet and fitness tricks worked for you.