The One Diet Rule That Helped These People Lose 20+ Pounds

Updated: Mar. 30, 2022

Get inspired by the people who've managed to lose—and keep off—more than 20 pounds. See the trick that worked for them.

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Charlene Bazarian, Hair and Makeup by Janeen Jones
Courtesy Dana Lane Photography

“You’re no busier than a fit person!”

“I went to a spa for a day of beauty after having children and was mortified when I had to return to the desk and ask the receptionist if they had a larger robe, as the one-size-fits-all robe was lying. That awful experience was my ‘aha’ moment. Since then, I’ve lost close to 100 pounds, kept it off, and now use a social media platform and a blog to inspire and encourage others to find their own fitness and weight loss success. I deliver advice in a funny and firm way by explaining, ‘You’re no busier than a fit person.’ Instead of making excuses for why we aren’t like folks who are fit, we should realize that they’re busy too! It’s all about making time for what matters.” —Charlene Bazarian. Learn the truth behind what it really takes to lose one pound.

Mandi Kinninger
Courtesy Mandi Kinninger

“Choose your hard”

“Do you want to exercise and diet and be healthy? Or do you want to not exercise, eat poorly, and be sick and overweight? They’re both hard. This diet rule has helped me lose 25 pounds and over 30 inches. I became a Beachbody Coach in December 2017 because I wanted to help myself and use my own fitness and nutrition knowledge to help others. However, I was depressed, overweight, stressed, and in a toxic work environment. I was lacking the self-confidence, self-worth, and self-love that I desperately craved. So this was my ‘let’s just try one last thing’ option. Through portion control and fitness, I lost weight and built muscle. I was consistent but still didn’t have that balanced lifestyle down. In January of 2018, I adopted timed-nutrition, which was a game changer for me. It taught me how to balance my macros properly, eat every two to three hours and in proper portion control, and allowed me to achieve confidence and happiness in a way that I never thought was possible.” —Mandi Kinninger

Lara Lyn Carter
Courtesy Lara Lyn Carter

“Eliminate refined sugar”

“To date, I’ve lost over 48 pounds. To get here, I started looking at food labels and realized how many unsuspecting foods contain sugar. I researched the effect on blood sugar spikes with refined sugar versus things like honey and coconut sugar. Because I’m a chef, I incorporated these types of sugars into my recipes instead of refined sugars—and it’s worked!”—Lara Lyn Carter. Load up on these 13 foods proven to help you lose weight.

Jenny Block
Courtesy Jenny Block

“If you bite it, you write it”

“My Weight Watchers leader taught me to write down everything I ate or drank, even if it was just a nibble or a sip. This helped me lose 70 pounds 16 years ago. When it comes to weight loss, accountability is your friend. If you write down what you eat and drink and keep track of points, you can see the wasted calories, fats, and carbs and learn how to feel satisfied and energized without eating and drinking everything in sight. You also learn who your false friends are, like packaged foods, bars, shakes, and powders, most of which fool you into thinking you’re making a good choice when, in fact, you are wasting points and calories and still ending up hungry and undernourished. Food is fuel.” —Jenny Block 

Angela Zangari
Courtesy Angela Z.

“Cut out dairy”

“After doing my research and watching documentaries like What the Health, I decided to cut dairy out of my diet to see if it would help me lose weight. This meant no pizza, ice cream, cookies, or anything with butter, which made it easier to pick healthy options. Having this one rule in place and being super committed for several months definitely helped me lose weight. It was easy to stick to this diet rule once I started seeing results and improvements in my body. People tend to think there’s a trick or secret to losing weight (I was guilty of this too for a very long time), but the truth is all you need is consistency and motivation, and you’ll reach your goals.”—Angela Zangari. These are the 13 weight loss rules pros cheat on (so you can too).

Chase Bowler
Courtesy Chase Bowler

“Eat high fat and low carbs”

“I started the ketogenic diet—it focuses on eating high fat and low carb—two years ago. What helped me stick to this diet rule was remembering how fat I used to be and that I can still eat amazing foods like peanuts and bacon while sticking to this plan. The ketogenic diet is the perfect diet for anyone who wants to lose body fat but also wants to be healthier. I lost over 75 pounds and kept it off following a strict and sometimes loose keto diet.”—Chase Bowler Here’s what everyone gets wrong about the keto diet.

JennyLee Molina
Courtesy Dina Zhulii

“One meal—and day—at a time”

“As clichéd as it sounds, my diet was a complete lifestyle change, and I’m so happy I was able to make the commitment to myself for good. I focus on one meal at a time and one day at a time, opting for vegetables, healthy grains, and legumes at every meal. I avoid processed sugar, meat, and starchy carbohydrates and eat on an intermittent fasting schedule. Due to my busy schedule, I receive DeliverLean meals Monday through Friday because the weekday meal prep was overwhelming for me. When dining out, I order a hearty salad or light soups instead of fried foods and burgers, which were often my go-tos. I also work out five times a week, even when things get busy. My tip is to break a sweat every day, make the healthiest choices possible at every meal, soak in as much inspiration as you can, and find support, whether online or by recruiting a friend to join you in your weight loss goals.”—JennyLee Molina. Try these quick weight-loss tips pros swear by.

Ashley W. Capps
Courtesy Ashley W. Capps

“Practice positive self-talk”

“I learned that my current reality was based on my negative self-talk. To shift this, I made a list of the qualities I loved about myself and repeated them whenever I was feeling down. I would say, ‘I’m a connected, intuitive, and grounded thinker, strong builder, and joyful mother.’ Within a few months of this practice, I started to love myself again and felt confident enough to start exercising and making better food choices. After two years, I was down 80 pounds! I also meditate and listen to Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life when I need a reminder of all that I have to be grateful for.”—Ashley W. Capps Don’t miss these ways to quit the negative self-talk.

Courtney Krenzel
Courtesy Courtney Krenzel

“Eat only when you’re hungry”

“By the time I was 12 years old, I weighed 185 pounds. That’s when I decided to join Weight Watchers and lost 55 pounds in a year. But I wanted to be a teenager and eat what I wanted; I stopped dieting and started to pack on the weight again. At my last year’s physical, I was the biggest I’ve ever been at 330 pounds. That’s when it hit me. I decided to have weight loss surgery but had to work with both a nutritionist and psychologist to lose 30 pounds on my own first. I reached the goal on the day of my surgery. Now, I’m down to 230 pounds. The one diet rule that helped is measuring my food and eating only when I’m physically hungry. I always eat my protein first during each meal.”—Courtney Krenzel. Don’t miss these 30 tiny diet changes that can help you lose weight.

Lisa Bast
Courtesy Brianne Yarbrough

“Never, ever go back for seconds”

“If I plan to have spaghetti, I measure out 1 cup of pasta (whole wheat) and 1 cup of pasta sauce. For higher-calorie foods, such as ice cream or mashed potatoes, I stick to a half-cup serving. I also stick to five ounces of lean meat or fish. What helped me adhere to this rule was the strong desire to lose weight and reach my goal of 120 pounds (I started at 143 pounds and am only 5’2”). While I’m an unabashed ‘foodie,’ the desire to keep the weight off is strong because I now like the way I look in clothes.”—Lisa Bast. Read these inspiring secrets of people who lost 50+ pounds—and kept it off.

Gaye Weintraub
Courtesy Gaye Weintraub

“Don’t eat to feed your emotions”

“As an emotional eater, my resolve goes out the window when I’m angry, frustrated, hurt, tired, or lonely. I eat food to numb myself, and it ruins my diet. I made a conscious decision to admit this flaw about myself and resolve it once and for all. If something is bothering me, I find another way to resolve it that doesn’t involve food. As long as I can remain in the present and recognize my emotions, I can refrain from ‘splurging.’ Binge eating, emotional eating, and eating off plan no longer creep into my days. Since I made the decision not to let the light in my refrigerator be the light in my life, I’m happier and thinner for it.”—Gaye Weintraub

Jaclyn Zukerman
Courtesy Jackie Zukerman

“Address digestive problems”

“I’ve had indigestion for years and have tried so many multi-level marketing companies and diets looking for any solution to help me feel better. One day, I connected with a friend at a networking event who casually informed about Isagenix. She told me how they specifically specialize in helping people with digestive issues. As skeptical as I was, a year later and 20 pounds down, my digestive issues have completely disappeared! I couldn’t be more grateful for what it has done for my body and lifestyle. Every day post-workout, I have my dairy-free shake. I do my Beachbody workouts 3 to 4 days a week for 30 to 60 minutes! When you take care of your body, you are magnetic; you attract amazing things not only internally but in your everyday life!”—Jaclyn Zukerman. Don’t miss these things your doctor wants you to know about losing weight.