As December comes to a close, many of us are engaging in some end-of-year reflection, not only upon what has been gained over the last 12 months, but, in the case of the individuals profiled as part of our ongoing I Lost Weight series, what’s been lost.




Each week, we introduce you to someone who has discovered an unknown love of fitness, revamped dietary habits, proven unsupportive family members wrong or simply conquered the negative thoughts in their heads. These people share the path to their weight-loss goal, and simultaneously inspire us to make changes in our own journeys.




Below, we’ve highlighted some of the most inspirational insights from the weight loss success stories featured in 2014. Together, they’ve lost more than 3,200 pounds – and gained tremendous perspective on what it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Since reaching my lowest weight, I’ve seen some amazing things happen in my life

In the year since reaching my lowest weight, I’ve seen some amazing things happen in my life. I married an amazing woman who is the absolute greatest thing in my life. I put on a 5K in my hometown to celebrate losing 200 pounds and raised $10,000 for local elementary schools to purchase fitness equipment. I injured my knee, gained a little weight back and learned the struggle to recoup from that – but I’ve appreciated every minute of it along the way because I’m able to do so.



I can look people in the eye when I talk; reaching this point in my life is the greatest feeling

It is so exciting to be able to do things as simple as cleaning the house without having to sit down every 15 minutes or as cool as walking a 5K. I can go places with friends and family because I no longer feel like a giant embarrassment to them or myself. I can look people in the eye when I talk instead of wanting to crawl in a hole so the world wouldn’t see me. Reaching this point in my life is the greatest feeling, and if just one person who reads this can find anything that can help them start their journey, then that just adds to my joy of deciding to save my own life.

The reality is that there is no finish line in weight loss

The reality is that there is no finish line in weight loss, because in maintenance, the journey continues. But I am so looking forward to finding out what the future holds for me. I am in better health and have more energy than I ever had in my entire life. It has been a slow and steady process for me. It has been a struggle. At the end of the day, I may have been through a lot, but I have accomplished a lot, too.



I needed to love and support myself. It started with believing I was worthy of that love

I sought counseling, something I had put off for so long … I knew, though, that if I had to wake up another morning with a feeling of dread, completely overwhelmed by what I had done to my body, mind and spirit, I wouldn’t live to see my 40th birthday … I had let myself get up to almost 400 pounds, a size 30+, and all the love and support from my husband and family didn’t matter. I needed to love and support myself. It started with believing I was worthy of that love.



I owed it to my son to try to break the family tree of obesity

I knew I owed it to my son to try to break the family tree of obesity. There are so many compromises to being an obese parent: I was simply forfeiting the ability to participate in so many wonderful moments. I used to sweat so much before. I couldn’t fit in some amusement park rides. It is a tragedy to work so hard, only to find yourself too exhausted to enjoy your life.



You must love yourself, trust your support network and trust your program

Every day you will battle how you look in the mirror. You start to let the scale define you. Every meal becomes a challenge. Will you gain weight when you’re trying to lose it? Yes. Will you have moments where you eat bad food? Yes. Will there be times when you feel like you’re doing everything right but still aren’t achieving your goals? Yes. You must love yourself, trust your support network and trust your program.