Weight-Loss Diaries

Three brides reveal how they managed to take it off. The result: gorgeous gals with wedding photos they'll cherish forever.

Julie Phillips
Age: 29
Before: 172 lbs.
After: 110 lbs.
Pounds Lost: 62


This bride-to-be had two excellent reasons to embark on a major weight-loss program. First, of course, Julie was getting married—always a prime motivator!—and second, she discovered she had an unacceptably high cholesterol level. At the age of 25, she realized she had to lose the excess weight in order to be healthy when she started her new life as a married woman. At her ideal weight of 110 pounds, she reached her goal.

The diet journey: At first Julie tried “extreme dieting,” skipping breakfast and eating nothing but salads. But she knew from experience that this method led to backsliding, so she joined Weight Watchers, picking the online option because she “didn’t like the idea of going to meetings or being weighed in front of everyone. I wanted to be answerable to myself alone.” Julie, who likes to cook, prefers eating her own food to prepackaged diet foods. “They just don’t fill me up the way homemade food does,” she says. The biggest eye-opener was what she learned about restaurant meals. “There are too many temptations, and also a lot of things you don’t realize. I’d assume I was making a good choice by ordering a chicken salad. But it would turn out that after they added the cheese and the dressing or whatever, choosing the hamburger would have been smarter!”

The dress: Her weight loss didn’t become real to Julie until she shopped for her wedding dress. She started by donning some big, poufy numbers. “But the women in the shop said, ‘oh, that’s not a good style for you—you’re so small.’ I was not used to being called small!” She ultimately chose a sleek strapless dress that suited her petite frame. Since the wedding, Julie has occasionally fallen off her regimen. But if she starts gaining weight, she nips it in the bud. “I always end up going back,” she says. “Eating well has become part of my life. And that includes between meals too—I stick to fruits, nuts and veggies for snacks.”

No more couch potato: At her heaviest, Julie had let exercise fall by the wayside. But, she says, “once I committed to losing weight, I committed to exercise.” As she got closer to her wedding day, she enlisted the help of a personal trainer to get her arms and shoulders in shape. After a while, she started doing The Firm workout DVDs at home, as well as Pilates. “Then I decided to start running. I figured, anyone can run for 30 seconds at a time.” Since that modest beginning, Julie’s vow to continue to exercise has taken her to places she could never have imagined: She’s now run the Boston Marathon once, and, she says, “I have every intention of doing it again!”

Julie’s Tips

Plan your meals and stick to them. If you do get off track, it’s OK as long as you quickly get back on.
Avoid artificial sweeteners. They leave you wanting the real thing, and they taste gross!
Realize that you need motivation. The scale helped me. Little by little it went down instead of up, and people started to notice my clothes were too big. Savor every little loss and compliment you get.

Next: How Janet lost 17 pounds >>