Malarie Burgess, 28, from Baltimore lost 185 pounds by eliminating unhealthy foods from her diet and exercising on a stationary bike.
Six years ago, Malarie saw her weight top out at 350 pounds. A friend who noticed that Malarie could no longer fit in a restaurant booth sat her down to express concern. "At first I was hurt, angry and embarrassed," says Malarie, who was a preschool teacher at the time. "But I knew she was right. I was eating what I wanted and didn't think much about it. I was particularly good at mindlessly snacking on potato chips."
FORMING GOOD HABITS
After that conversation, Malarie and her boyfriend at the time went through the food in their apartment, tossing out all sugary drinks and junk food. They also bought a stationary bike. "I made a vow to use it for 21 days straight because I read that it takes 21 days to form a habit," Malarie says. Her first goal was to get her weight below 330 pounds so she could buy herself a Wii Fit—that was the weight limit to use it. "I'd challenge myself to walk up the stairs to my third-floor apartment without getting winded," she says.
HITTING IMPORTANT MILESTONES
She kept going—riding the stationary bike 30 minutes a day for three weeks straight and doing at-home workouts she found on YouTube. After seven months, once she had lost about 60 pounds, she started running and doing strength training. It's been four years since then, and Malarie has lost more than half her weight and kept it off. She eats right, stays active and has even started a career as a fitness instructor. "I really like who I have become," she says.