Posted on: May 11, 2018 at 4:48 pm
Last updated: May 18, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Old habits die hard. If anyone knows the weight and truth of that saying, it’s Hannah Lester who used to be known as the “fat friend” among her peers. In college, Hannah worked at a fast food restaurant and its convenience quickly transformed her into a 5’6”, 285-pound woman. However, it was in 2012 when Hannah made the choice to start chipping away at her bad habits.

“I picked up fast food on the way to class. It really became my go-to,” the 29-year-old school librarian told TODAY. “I didn’t make very healthy choices. I was pretty lazy.”

At The Hearty Soul, we talk about how important it is to have an accountability partner when starting a weight loss journey. Thanks to a weight-loss challenge proposed by her co-workers, she accepted to join them – something Hannah felt she could not have done during college.

“It gave me reason to lose the weight. I kind of wanted to prove myself that I can do this.”

The thing about bad habits is they’re always so easy to get trapped in. Good habits, for whatever reason, always seem so much harder to commit to and maintain. Breaking years-in-the-making habits of no exercise and everyday fast food meals was going to be no easy feat, so what did she do and how did she start?

How Hannah Lester Successfully (and Realistically) Lost 100 Pounds


There were a few things Hannah did from the start to make the weight loss challenge manageable. This didn’t necessarily make things easier, but it allowed her to set herself up for success…[1]

  • Hannah set a moderate goal of losing 35 pounds between January and May of 2012
  • She completely cut out drinking soda
  • She stopped consuming fast food cold turkey (and started eating at home more)
  • Hannah increased the amount of water she drank
  • She also started walking more (starting at one mile and eventually moving up to four miles)

Can you guess what happened after making such simple changes? Well, within two months of starting her weight loss challenge, Hannah lost all 35 pounds.

“Something just clicked. I lost that first 10 pounds and realized I could do it. I kept doing it because I wanted to win… I really can do something if I honestly set my mind to it.”

The weight loss challenge with her co-workers may have ended a few months later, but Hannah’s personal drive led her to lose 100 total pounds within three years – a weight of ~185 that she has healthily maintained ever since.[2]

Hannah’s 3 Healthy Tips for Weight Loss

1) Set Reasonable Goals

Have you ever heard of SMART goals? They’re specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Although Hannah didn’t specifically mention this acronym, the goals she set fell in line with these principles. First she lost the initial 35 pounds, then 50, and so on.

“Don’t set a big huge goal that you may not reach right away. Set little goals. Make a goal just to walk for 30 minutes every day. Make a goal to cut back on something you eat a lot.”

2) Don’t Let the Scale Get You Down

Hannah described the scale as her enemy and we totally understand why. One of the worst feelings is looking down at this cold, metal and plastic, inanimate object and having it define you with a number. Although her weight loss goals were number-based, Hannah made sure to celebrate the non-scale victories. For example, instead of worrying about hitting a certain weight or clothing, she learned to measure success by how she felt or how her clothes felt.

3) Keep Your ‘Fat’ Clothes


You don’t have to keep your whole old wardrobe but keeping a few powerful clothing items has helped hold Hannah accountable. It’s amazing what a visual reminder can do. As she said:

“I went from a size 22 to a size 12 – a 2X to a medium. That is almost more important than saying ‘I lose all this weight.’ I can visually see [it by] looking at an old t-shirt.”

We hope Hannah Lester’s story inspired and filled you with hope! Whether you feel it’s time for a change or know someone who has been struggling on their own weight loss journey, her valuable tips can help make the weight loss challenge successful!

Ready to start your own weight loss journey?

Here is the quickest and healthiest way to lose over 50 pounds.



Meghan Holohan. (n.d.). ‘The scale was almost my enemy’: 3 steps this woman took to lose 100 pounds. Retrieved from

After Dropping 10 Dress Sizes, Woman Shares Her 3 Tips For Healthy Weight Loss. (2018, May 03). Retrieved from

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We believe in using natural ingredients to be as healthy as possible. We believe dieting will never work as well as a lifestyle of healthy habits will. We believe you can treat pain and disease without relying on addictive drugs. We believe being happy is a big part of a healthy life.

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