How One Woman Conquered Her Sweet Tooth and Lost 125 Pounds

It <i>is</i> possible to stop your cravings—find out how.

Before: 290 lbs.

After: 165 lbs.

When her well-meaning but strict mom eliminated sweets in their house, a preteen Caitlin Gallagher would sneak in fistfuls of candy bars from school, gobble them up, and trash the evidence. So began a lifelong battle with junk food. Through her early twenties, Caitlin regularly bought bread, pasta, and pints of ice cream “and devoured it home alone in one sitting.”

By the time she was 37, Caitlin was juggling two kids, two jobs as a salon owner and travel agent—and nearly 300 pounds. After a chance meeting with an energetic mom at her son’s playground who turned out to be a personal trainer, Caitlin began working out regularly. Over the next six months, she dropped 25 pounds, but then plateaued. Her doctor told her she would need to drastically change her diet if she wanted results. Determined to overcome her sweet tooth, Caitlin cut out added sugar and white flour and stuck to filling smoothies, lean protein, and fiber-rich veggies. Overhauling her diet worked, and soon, Caitlin was peeling off 10 pounds a month. Now, at age 40, she’s a certified personal trainer, and her children have to fight to keep up with her. “What I can do amazes me,” she says. “I didn’t know I had this much energy inside me.”

Here’s how Caitlin was able to accomplish her weight-loss goals:

• Lose the digits. “I only set accomplishment goals, like finishing a certain race. It was never about pounds.”

• Get some satisfaction. “If you’re a dessert fan like me, try apples for sweetness or a square of extra-dark chocolate.”

• Think thin (and fast!). “For a great on-the-go lunch, I’ll pack nitrate-free cold cuts rolled in romaine leaves, plus veggie sticks and a piece of fruit or cheese.”

For more on Caitlin’s incredible weight-loss journey, pick up the May 2015 issue of Women’s Health, on newsstands now. In the meantime, check out more inspiring weight-loss success stories and healthy ways to lose weight.

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