These 12 people lost a combined 1,563 pounds. Here's how they did it.

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By Stephanie Thurrott

In 2018 I interviewed 12 people about their weight-loss success. They were as young as 27 and as old as 57. They lived in Oklahoma, or Minnesota, or New York City. They worked as medical technologists or radio personalities, or house cleaners. They were single, or married or divorced. They had kids, or grandkids, or no kids.

But they all had one thing in common — they all lost weight, a lot of it. Here are some of the strategies they shared that worked for them.


Everyone I spoke with had tried to lose weight in the past. Sometimes they succeeded, but then they regained the weight they had lost. In some cases, they regained a lot more.

This time, something — large or small — pushed them to lose weight for good.

Danny Reed called it a “click moment.” It was when he couldn’t keep up with his friends on a hike. His wife Lexi, who worked to help people get Social Security disability benefits, had her click moment when she realized she would be the one who needed those benefits if she didn’t do something about her weight.

Karla Pankow needed physical therapy, and discovered that she loved movement. Vanessa Baldwin’s brother gave her unlimited exercise classes for a month because he was worried about how her weight was affecting her personality. Hoang Nguyen ran into a friend of a friend, and their conversation reminded her how much she used to love to dance.

Sean Anderson had to renew his driver’s license, and his new photo made it clear just how much weight he had gained. Jesse Alexander, who considered himself just a big guy, not someone with a weight problem, heard his doctor tell him he was obese.

Eric Gonzales was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Jerome Wilson got a new job, and hauling his 300-plus pounds up and down the stairs made his knees scream.