How Meal Planning Helped Sarah Allen Shed Pounds

How Meal Planning Helped Sarah Allen Shed Pounds Weight-Loss Tricks That Really Work

Dress shopping brought Sarah face-to-face with her weight. Nine months before her wedding, in September 2014, Sarah stared at her reflection in a store mirror: "I didn't know who that person was." So, she found a registered dietitian. Eight and a half months later, she'd shed 51 pounds from her 5'5" frame. "They cut 10 inches out of my wedding dress!"

Pictured: Sarah Allen, 28, before and after her amazing weight loss transformation.

How She Did It

Meal planning and portion control. At her desk job in Atlanta, GA, Sarah used to snack on protein bars. Then after work she liked to order appetizers and drinks with friends. "It added up." Now, she eats three small meals and three snacks (mostly fruit) each day. On Sundays she plans her week's portioned meals, focusing on veggies, fruits and lean proteins. "It's time-consuming, but it's an investment in myself."

Navigating Challenges

All-or-nothing thinking. When Sarah first started portion control and meal planning, she felt like she couldn't go out with friends anymore for fear of slipping up. "I thought if I cheated, one cheat would lead to 25 cheats." She soon learned to adjust her expectations. "I don't want to feel like a prisoner to my eating schedule."

On Balance

"I ­always ask myself, 'Is it worth it?' Sometimes it is. If I have a night out I'll get dessert or a glass of wine. But I can't let that happen every night. It's not like you have to change everything about who you are-you just have to be more conscious about the decisions you're making. I think it's a type of self-respect, to take care of yourself."

Transform-Your-Life Advice

"Take it one meal at a time. When you look and feel great, it shows in everything you do. No cheesecake or doughnut can do that."

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January/February 2017