Deciding to lose a lot of weight can be difficult, but with dedication and patience, you can get the healthy results you want. Here's a list of nine simple changes that 9 women made to balance their lives and transform their bodies.

1. Revamp you favorite foods

Alicia West lost 81 pounds by exercising regularly and replacing her favorite foods with more healthy versions. Alicia says that eating fresh and healthy foods doesn't have to be expensive, and isn't boring. Along with eating better, she stopped using her children as an excuse to not exercise. Finding inspirational phrases, quotes and learning more healthy habits helped Alicia reach her goals.

She said that the greatest reward of losing weight is that "People don't even recognize me now!"

2. Ask your food diary two questions

Writing down what you eat every day helps control your weight. Brittany Hicks lost about 100 pounds while in college with the help of her food diary. She wouldn't just write down what she ate, but would also write down the reason why she was eating. "I realized I was using food to cope with stress" she said. This two question habit will help you track how you are using food, and eat to nourish your body instead of a way to cope with stress.

Brittany also made a habit of working out in ways she thought were fun, minimizing portion sizes and making the decision to change now. Brittany said that having more energy, appreciating herself both inside and out, and talking to children about being healthy have been the best parts of her experience.

3 Perfect your plates

If your diet is already well balanced, try decreasing the amount on your plate. Trick you mind into thinking you are eating more by serving your meals on smaller plates.

This trick helped swimmer Jeanenne Darden, a mother of two, lose about 45 pounds. "I ate normally," she says "but I ended up eating less of everything." To help others lose weight, Jeanenne also suggested to hydrate well, and use exercise to help you lose weight and gain muscle.

For Jeanenne, her greatest reward was wering her old jeans, and getting her self-esteem back.

4. Research your restaurant

Jen Tallman never thought about having a career in fashion because of her weight. However, researching her restaurants helped her lose over 100 pounds. Now, Jen works at Chanel. She said she now loves to run marathons and uses her spare time preparing healthy meals to eat throughout the week.

When eating out, be sure to check the menu beforehand to know what your healthy options are. Know how to identify what you are really eating-restaurants can sometimes disguise food as being healthy, even if it really isn't.

5. Go Greek

Krystal Sanders lost nearly 66 pounds through creating healthier versions of her favorite foods. Using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and mayonnaise is a great way to cut calories without missing out on flavor or texture. To help her lose weight, Krystal also made a goal to lift weights and to not let anything get in the way of her workout.

Her reward for losing weight is having more energy for running, cycling, and walking with her husband. Before, Krystal hated getting her picture taken, but now says that she loves how she looks.

6. Use this golden rule

Teacher Yasmine Farazian managed to lose 50 pounds thanks to the "A A A" rule. Rania Batayneh, author of the "The One One One Diet" describes this rule in her book. In each meal, Yasmine ate a carbohydrate, a protein and a fat. This provided a template for well balanced and healthy meals. In addition to changing her eating habits, Yasmine started an exercise regiment and found ways she loved to exercise.

Since reaching her weight loss goal, Jasmine loves being physically active.

7. Rethink dessert

Flight attendant Tracey Z. Dickson didn't have issues with her weight until a cancer diagnosis changed her lifestyle. Through her treatment, Tracey began to gain weight but once she was declared cancer free, she returned to the treadmill. By exercising and changing her diet, Tracy lost 41 pounds.

To help her lose weight, Tracey tried to find out exactly what she was ordering when dining out. She would ask how the food was prepared to know more about how healthy it was. Tracey also kept eating dessert, but with a twist. "Instead of dessert, I'll have a baked sweet potato sprinkled with cinnamon. It tastes like sweet potato pie, but without the calories."

Tracey said "I'm stronger than I imagined" after making these changes.

8. Keep a toothbrush with you

Tricia Minnick lost more than 100 pounds by cutting sodium and processed carbohydrates out of her diet. Tricia also would fill half her plate with vegetables at every meal, and always kept her toothbrush handy to help her with her goal. Tricia says that "fresh breath makes us less tempted to eat more."

Tricia's reward for her lifestyle change was crossing the finish line after her first marathon. She said, "I am healthier and happier than ever."

9. Stock your freezer

If you think cooking healthy has to be difficult and time consuming, think again. With a busy schedule as a nurse, Annie Allen let her freezer do half the work by keeping it full of frozen vegetables. By finding exercise she enjoyed and changing her eating habits, Annie lost more than 50 pounds.

Annie says that her reward is to have more energy to work out, being able to practice boxing twice a week, and running about 10 races a year. Annie says that "running gives me a sense of accomplishment".

These women demonstrate that there are many ways to make a healthy lifestyle and exercise routine work for you, so you can meet your goals.

This article is a translation of the original article,"9 mudanças que mulheres reais fizeram para perder mais de 25 quilos".

It has been translated and republished with permission.

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