Photos Reveal What It Really Looks Like to Lose 20 Pounds

The daunting task of double-digit weight loss can overwhelm even the most educated health and fitness master. Health care professionals suggest losing weight slowly, about 2 pounds per week for success, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But while the common-sense approach is the best way make weight loss permanent, seeing the finish line when you have a long road can be tough to imagine.

Here are examples of how some people dropped 20 pounds, including photos of the stunning before and after differences.

Marie lost 20 pounds by switching up her exercise plan

Marie Michellev weight loss collage.

When the gym isn’t fun, join an activity or sport that you enjoy. | marie_michellev via Instagram

Hate working out? You aren’t alone. According to Very Well Fit, 60% of adults ditch exercise because of time constraints, not seeing immediate results, and simply loathing it. However, according to Eat This, Not That!, Marie joined a group called Cadets Color Guard, where being an enthusiastic performer motivated her to get active.

Not sure what will work for you? Check out some of these activities.

Next: Banish this food from your eating plan.

BBG Girl dropped 20 pounds in 5 months by nixing simple carbs

BBG Mommy weight loss collage

A popular diet helped this woman lose weight. | bbgmommyof4 via Instagram

According to Eat This, Not That!, BBG Girl lost 20 pounds by hopping on the ketogenic diet craze. The program promotes eating mostly fats and hardly any carbs, according to Women’s Health. While most people lose weight, sustained weight loss is hard to maintain.

Instead of banishing all carbs, health professionals suggest removing simple carbs and keeping the good carbs, such as fruit and vegetables, NBC News reports. “It’s really important for people to understand that the body’s preferred source of fuel for most everyday activity is carbohydrate, Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, and director of Worldwide Nutrition Education, told NBC News. “So following a very low-carbohydrate diet can really shortchange your physical and mental performance.”

Next: Achieve results from this easy activity.

Chip lost 20 pounds in 3 months with interval walking

Chip Dean collage.

Taking it slow has its benefits. | chipdean via Instagram

Ditching sugar and processed foods can move the scale, and so can exercise. Even walking can help. Here’s one way to torch more calories: Walk at different speeds, or in intervals, to burn up to 20% more calories, according to engineering researchers at Ohio State University. That’s what Chip did to drop 20, according to Eat This, Not That!

“Most of the existing literature has been on constant-speed walking. This study is a big missing piece,” said Manoj Srinivasan, co-author of OSU study and associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. “Measuring the metabolic cost of changing speeds is very important because people don’t live their lives on treadmills and do not walk at constant speeds. We found that changing speeds can increase the cost of walking substantially.”

Next: Strive for the yin to your yang.

Javier lost over 20 pounds in 6 months with a few cheat days

Javier Gonzalez weight loss collage.

Working out slowly became part of his lifestyle. | fiercejavy via Instagram

According to Eat This, Not That!, Javier spent six months exploring what really made him happy. In the process, he dropped 20 pounds. He ate healthy foods but allowed some cheat treats, too. Javy also found running, swimming, yoga, and hiking to be forms of enjoyment — and even therapeutic.

Next: Track your progress.

Laura lost 30 pounds with the help of a friend

Laura Avon posing on a boat.

Laura lost weight by partnering with her friend. | Laura Avon via Twitter

Grab your bestie, and lose weight together. Laura (pictured above) and her friend Susie managed to drop weight by ditching fast food and committing to a health partnership. “We call each other every Friday to discuss our weekend plans and how we’re going to stay on track,” Susie told Woman’s Day. “We text each other inspirational quotes once a week, like ‘Stay patient and trust your journey.'”

Next: This woman dropped a lot of weight by adding structure to her life.

Briana lost 20 pounds in 3 months with Weight Watchers

Briana Luca's photo.

Weight Watchers helped Briana lose 20 pounds. | Briana Luca via Instagram

Not all plans work for everyone, but this woman found success through Weight Watchers. Briana lost her confidence after a lifetime of being overweight, Popsugar reports. However, she discovered Weight Watchers and dropped 20 pounds in only three months. She learned she was eating too much and realized she could still enjoy food — but in moderation.

Next: Consider this tried-and-true method.

Taylor dropped 25 pounds in 5 months by holding herself accountable

A woman holds a phone while cooking.

Sometimes a little help goes a long way. | DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images

Those who closely track their food and fitness might lose more weight. Although research is mixed, one study found people who regularly used a weight loss app lost more weight than those who didn’t, according to NPR.

Taylor found that holding herself accountable helped her lose 25 pounds in five months, according to Women’s Health. She hired an accountability coach to check in with her on workouts and keep her motivated to reach her goal.

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