Before: 205 lbs
After: 140 lbs
Working in the kitchen of an assisted-living community, Sherise Campbell spent eight hours a day, five days a week surrounded by fries, pizza, pasta, and soda. Ten years into her job, this 5'4" former "skinny girl with no curves" was a size 16. It didn't help that her chef husband, Tafari, worked the late shift and brought home fried chicken or tacos at 10 p.m. that Sherise would share despite having eaten earlier. She ignored her doctor's advice to lose weight until she hit an all-time high of 205 pounds in the summer of 2009.
Because her weight gain was so gradual, Sherise didn't realize just how many pounds she'd tacked on. That is, until she flipped through a photo album from her wedding-anniversary cruise in the Bahamas and spotted a shot of herself in a red halter dress. "Curves are good, but I didn't like the way those curves looked," she says.
Sherise joined a gym that December and took advantage of a free personal-training session that came with her membership. She found it was just the motivation she needed and signed up for 12 more weeks of training. "I wasn't sure what to do at the gym, and my trainer gave me a plan to follow," she says. "Plus, I had someone to hold me accountable." Sherise began walking or running on a treadmill at a high incline five days a week and lifting weights three days a week. Her trainer also urged her to pay more attention to what she ate. Sherise started having breakfast (which she'd always skipped), and at lunch and dinner she filled half her plate with salad, a quarter with chicken or fish, and the other quarter with steamed veggies or healthy carbs. She soon discovered that her body was now rejecting the fatty foods she once loved. "If I snagged some of my sons' french fries, I'd feel sick later," she says.
Three months in, she had dropped 25 pounds and toned up. "I used to be self-conscious about my chicken-wing arms, but now that I've tightened them up, I love my arms!" she says. She even won a gym competition by losing 5 percent of her body weight and spent the $60 prize money on smaller workout clothes.
In October, Sherise set sail with her husband on another cruise, and this time she didn't dread the vacation photos. At a svelte 140 pounds, she sported a tankini. "For the first time, I enjoyed buying clothing for a trip," she says. "It felt incredible to buy size-6 shorts." And that dress from the Bahamas? "I can't wear it now—it falls off me."
Chew out cravings.
"When everyone around me is eating junk, I pop a stick of sugarless gum into my mouth to stave off cravings. I keep a pack in my car, desk, gym bag, and jacket so I'm always armed."
Never be list-less.
"Keep a copy of your grocery list with you at all times so you can jot down healthy items to buy. That way, you always have an alternative to junk food in the house."
Before: 205 lbs