Before: 182 lbs
After: 140 lbs
Sarah Russello, 30, had vowed to stay at her college weight after taking a job as a sales rep in Scranton, Pennsylvania. But she hit a snag when she met her future husband, Charles, in October 2008. (Search: Do relationships always make you gain?) Her gym workouts fell by the wayside as she spent more time with Charles, a martial-arts master who could easily burn off the calories from their dinners out. Sarah, who matched him bite for bite, wasn't so lucky. "The weight crept up faster than I realized," she says. By March 2010, she carried 40 extra pounds on her 5'7" frame.
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That month, a friend tagged Sarah in a Facebook photo. She was sitting at a bar in front of a huge plate of mozzarella sticks, beer in one hand, cigarette in the other, with her extra pounds hanging over her jeans. "I didn't recognize myself," she says. She knew she had to get her body back. br>
Sarah tackled her three-packs-a-week habit first. "I thought, 'Why bother trying to lose weight if I'll just gain it back when I stop smoking?'" she says. Within a few weeks, she'd swapped the smokes for gum. "Quitting smoking made me feel like if I could do that, I could do anything," she says. Realizing that the monster steaks she used to eat were up to five times the proper serving size, she gradually scaled back to four- or six-ounce portions and sipped water instead of sweet tea with her meals. (Video: 3 tricks to eat less) In June 2010, Sarah returned to the gym, where she alternated between strength-training and cardio days. By September she was just 10 pounds shy of her goal—to be at her college weight again—but the scale refused to budge. For the next two months, she changed her workouts every two weeks to rev her metabolism, and finally, the scale flashed 140.
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The following June, when Sarah married Charles, even the size-8 gown she'd ordered had to be altered for her walk down the aisle. "I thought I was happy before," she says, "but the way I feel now is 10 times better."
Let him see you sweat. "My husband and I go to the gym together, and it's great motivation. I know he's watching me, so I try harder."
Play with pasta. "I mix tofu shirataki noodles—which are made with soybeans instead of wheat and have only 20 calories per serving—with tomatoes, tuna, mushrooms, and peas. Yum!"
Steak your claim. "I love meat and will never give it up, but I eat red meat only once a week."
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Weight Loss Before and After
“I’m Back at My College Weight!”
Image: Ryan Donnell
Before: 182 lbs