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Earlier this year, Prevention launched, a that’s designed to help you lose weight and feel fantastic. The idea: Exercise for just 15 minutes a day and follow a few rules for eating healthier. Three readers trimmed down with the program—and are here to share their weight loss success stories. We also asked for insights from the program’s creator, trainer (pictured above, third from left), as well as a top doctor. Read on to see how you can use their strategies to shed pounds too, and have fun doing it.
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How Antoinette Bethea, 38, lost 15 pounds in 8 weeks
I’ve tried a lot of different things to lose weight, but I haven’t had great success with them—they’ve either been too expensive or too complicated. With other programs, I didn’t really have the time to tackle major workouts, but Tone Up in 15 was easy to fit in!
I’m a ridiculously picky eater, and I don’t like many healthy foods. When I was faced with having only 1,200 calories a day, I didn’t know what I was going to eat, but Larysa says you can eat almost whatever you want as long as it stays within the. I couldn’t go eat a big old tub of ice cream, but after a while I got the hang of it and learned to expand my palate. For example, before the program, I hated yogurt, but then I found one I liked. I ate lots of grapes and string cheese and drank mostly water.
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When Larysa said each workout would be only 15 minutes, I thought, There’s no way that’s enough. I figured I’d have to stay at the gym for hours every day to make a difference, but 15 minutes actually worked! Some of thetired me out, and gosh, I was hurting the next day. I thought, I actually feel this. A good surprise!
I’m not eating as much junk as before—and I used to be the person who always had candy in her bag.
The exercise part of the program fit into my schedule well—I like working out early in the morning because it gets me going for the day, but later in the day ended up being better. After work, I would come home and start to wind down a bit and do the exercises after my 10-year-old son went to bed. I particularly liked the boxing part of it.
I didn’t think I’d be able to stick with the program, but it’s much easier than you think. It became part of my life without having to adjust much of my routine, which every other program interfered with.
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Even a calorie-torching fitness plan needs to go hand-in-hand with healthy eating, or you may not reach your goals. And if you thought that a heathy diet means bland, unappetizing diet foods, think again. The truth is you can eat a ton of tasty foods that nourish your body, speed up your metabolism, and help you steer clear of cravings so you can finally lose weight.
It also totally changed how I think about exercise and eating in general. I’m not eating as much junk as before—and I used to be the person who always had candy in her bag. I wasn’t doing any exercise at all, even though I have a free gym membership at my job, and now I’m working out three or four days a week, and it’s actually enjoyable! I have more energy. I don’t feel as heavy, and I don’t mean just weight-wise. I don’t feel as weighted down emotionally. I feel lighter and healthier overall.
Insights from Dr. Alexander:
“Having children affects your body in many ways,” says, MD, an obesity medicine specialist in the group. “Low sleep increases a hunger hormone that leads to increased caloric intake. Plus, pregnancy causes many metabolic, biochemical, and physiological changes that may make it more difficult to maintain your prepregnancy weight. Try your best to incorporate movement and a few into your day.”
- It’s not a race. There’s no need to master the workout in the first week. Just focus on learning it, and you can go above and beyond later. You’ll still see small changes in your body pretty quickly.
- Be flexible. While research shows that working out first thing in the morning reduces your chance of bailing on exercise, any time of day is fine when it’s most convenient for you—meaning, the time you’re actually going to get it done.
How Andrea Battista, 40, lost 9 pounds in 8 weeks
I used to be really into working out, and I even taught Spin classes, but that all came to a halt when I had two back surgeries, in 2017 and 2018. I’m much better now but still not 100%, so I knew exercise was going to be hard to start up again.
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"I haven't looked back."
I first tried Larysa’sprogram, and as I got familiar with her workouts, I felt like I was on my way back. Since I already loved her workout style, I tried the Tone Up in 15 program, and I liked the ease of scheduling it provided. I work as a teaching assistant until 3:30 p.m., and then I’m home with my kids (ages 9, 7, and 2), so it’s hard to get to a gym. This program let me put the baby down for a nap and do my workout as he slept.
I knew I was making progress right away because the workout moves made me sore.
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I knew I was making progress right away because the workout moves made me sore—and that soreness felt so good! I really liked her barre class because it’s gentle but super effective, and the ab portion at the end of it was strong. The variety of exercises was nice too. The dance pieces were a little challenging, probably because my back was still not strong. Other than that, though, I was able to do everything easily and get great exercise.
I’ve followed diet plans before, but the nutrition program Larysa suggests is the one I’ve felt most comfortable with. I useto track what I eat, and the only hard part is not going over the 400-calorie mark for each meal. When I do, I scale down the next day. The program’s pancakes with Greek yogurt are my favorite—they make a nice quick breakfast.
The workouts really are a lot of fun—my 2-year-old saw me jumping during one and decided to join in! You need exercise to feel good mentally, and working out for 15 minutes is easy. When I didn’t feel like exercising, I told myself, It’s only 15 minutes—I can do it! And then I feel great afterward, physically and mentally.
Insights from Dr. Alexander:
“Your 40s can be a time of competing interests,” says Dr. Alexander. “We are often raising kids, caring for parents, and managing more work responsibilities—all at the same time. That may lead to ultra-processed food choices, which can raise insulin levels, leading to, increased hunger, and weight gain. also bathes our bodies in cortisol, which has similar effects. It’s the decade to be mindful about food. and watch for added sugars, high sodium content, and ingredients you don’t know. Prepackaged healthy foods like grilled vegetables, boiled eggs, and shelled edamame can help save time.”
- Change it up when you need to. If you have any health issues, ease into exercise when your doc gives you the green light. Modify the workout to match what you can do medically and comfortably.
- Don’t be afraid. Simply beginning the program will increase your confidence as you see how easy it is to work it into your life. Do it for a week, and the physical difference you feel will make you want to keep going!
How Jill Ferrari, 57, lost 23 pounds in 12 weeks
In my 30s and 40s, I was very physically active. I exercised three to five times a week—lifting weights, doing ab exercises, and running on a treadmill. But when I entered my 50s, my work in real estate got busier and I lost the impetus to work out. As time went on, the weight came on and my clothes stopped fitting. I was losing energy too—I felt like I needed a nap all the time!
Then one day I ran into Larysa on the street—I had worked out with her previously. She could see I wasn’t in my best shape and said, “I’ve got a program for you!” Variety is what keeps Tone Up in 15 interesting—there’s cardio, weight lifting, everything.
I stayed patient, and those pounds did come off.
It also helps you be mindful of carbs, sugar, and caloric intake. You’re learning how to make smarter food choices. I’m now watching portion sizes, and I’ve discovered new healthy foods that I enjoy, like swordfish. And celery—I found that if I wrap a piece of turkey around celery, the protein fills me up and the salty crunch is so satisfying. I think when you stop eating a lot of processed food, fresh food tastes good. It opens up a whole new world of taste.
I’ve learned that an active decision-making process is key. You know, it’s not about gaining weight from one cookie or one slice of pizza—it’s about gaining weight if you eat a lot of cookies or a lot of pizza! If I’ve been making good decisions all day, I can have a treat and still lose weight.
At one point I hit a plateau and got frustrated, but Larysa encouraged me to power through it. I stayed patient, and those pounds did come off. In fact, I lost 18 pounds during the initial eight weeks, but enjoyed the program so much that I continued it for another month and lost five more pounds. To stay on track, I weigh myself at least twice a week and measure my steps. I feel better, I look better, and I don’t need naps anymore!
Insights from Dr. Alexander:
“In our 50s, women’s estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate during perimenopause and,” says Dr. Alexander, who is a of the . “This results in a decrease in lean body mass and an increase in abdominal fat, as well as sleep disturbances, which can be associated with hot flashes. Fortunately, you can slow the decline of lean body mass with regular daily movement, including .”
- Hang in there! A often happens simply because your body has decided it doesn’t want to change, but you can convince it to. Just keep working as you have and up the intensity—add a little more weight to your workout, for example.
- Be patient. When people go crazy and work too hard to get past a plateau, they can often get hurt or tired from overdoing it and want to quit—it’s a catch-22. Remind yourself that it’s a temporary problem.
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