When we last checked in on Diet.com member Rachel, aka Skinnywinner101, she was 11 months into her weight loss journey and had dropped 49lbs.
Now - another 4 months, 16 lbs and 1 wedding later - Rachel has reached a weight of 139lbs, for a total of 65 lbs lost!!!
Back in April of 2009, when she first joined Diet.com, Rachel weighed in at 204 lbs - her highest weight. Knowing that if she was to live a long and healthy life she'd need to change her lifestyle, Rachel set out on a mission. "Eat healthier and get active" were her guiding principles, and she got to work on both of them.
She cleaned up her diet to include lots of fresh fruits and veggies, as well as whole grains and lean meats. She also cut down her intake of sweets like brownies and cake by making smart substitutions - like apples and yogurt.
When her boyfriend proposed in November of 2009, Rachel didn't panic. Keeping her cool and maintaining the "healthy lifestyle" mentality, she took her simultaneous wedding planning and weight loss in stride.
"The great thing about my bridal weight loss," Rachel tells Diet.com, "was that I wasn't losing weight just for the wedding. I had already lost a ton of weight by the time we got engaged." (Around 35 lbs, if you're following along!!)
"So, my goals weren't to drop 10 pounds to fit into my dream dress. My goal was a complete lifestyle makeover. Exercise and eating healthy only enhanced my wedding planning. It made it easier since weight loss wasn't my focus, it was simply already part of my life."
She makes it sound easy, but she's also quick to admit that it took hard work to get to where she is today.
"To lose the last 20 pounds was difficult," Rachel confesses. "I counted calories like I always do. I fill up on tons of water."
The biggest change, she says, was her increase in exercise - an area where she has definitely challenged herself. "My body responds best to cardio. So I took my passion for running and challenged myself to beating my own 5-mile time. I used to be able to lose weight simply by counting calories. Now the scale won't budge without a good workout."
Her hard work has paid off! Not only is Rachel less than 10 lbs away from her original goal weight of 130 lbs (she has since decided to change her goal weight and lose MORE than that!), but she is also able to say that she had her wedding dress taken in several sizes before the big day!
Her description of seeing herself on her wedding day is an inspiring one:
"I stood there in my wedding dress a long time alone. My dress had been taken in from a size 18 to a 10. It was shocking to see that my body had shape. After losing 65 pounds my face actually looks like a different person. It looks like me, but I finally saw the person I am on the inside, looking back at me in the mirror. In a perfectly fitting white wedding gown... It was a beautiful moment. Worth all those runs!"
And Rachel isn't the only one who has noticed a transformation!
"My husband always says to me, 'You are so skinny!' Then he squeezes me. My close family was surprised by how much I'd lost. I guess people don't think you can carry 65 extra pounds when you're 4'11". People say to me 'You look so good,' and kids tend to say 'You look so different!'"
Rachel's got some sound advice for any other brides-to-be who are also trying to drop weight while planning a wedding:
"When it comes to weight loss - Don't use your wedding as an excuse to party. I ate a 500 calorie dinner and didn't have any alcohol at my party before the wedding. Put exercise at the top of your 'wedding to-do's'... that and being nice to your fiance!"
Post-wedding, Rachel's healthy lifestyle followed her along on her honeymoon as well - she and her new husband went hiking!
"It was so fun! We hiked up hills and to waterfalls and cliffs. It was great!"
Rachel has nothing but kind words to say about the supportive community ... Continue
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