Real life weight loss: "I lost 140lbs and went down 16 dress sizes in two years"

Carli Jay had a wake-up call two years go and transformed her life, starting by getting active for just 15 minutes a day

Brand New Me: Carli Jay lost 140lbs
(Image credit: Future)

Carli Jay from Sydney, Australia grew up severely overweight but was always told that it was hereditary and “big bones run in the family". When she was 24, Carli left Australia and travelled 25 countries in seven months ending up in the UK, where she has been for the last 10 years. 

It was in the UK that her weight rocketed to 280lbs and the dress sizes kept increasing up to a size 26. Working in a sedentary job, she began moving less and eating more: on a holiday to Dubai, she was told she was too heavy to skydive. 

This planted the seed of change, but it wasn't until she woke up one morning with a trapped nerve, feeling as though she was temporarily paralysed down her left side, that she really started to make a dramatic change to her lifestyle. 

What began as a need to get healthier soon became more and Carli vowed to lose half her body weight in two years. Carli now inspires and mentors people around the world to achieve their own personal goals combining a bespoke approach to transform their lives for the better. 

Watch Carli's inspiring weight loss story here:

Carli began by jumping on her elliptical machine – which had been collecting dust in her bedroom for the last two years – and doing 15 minutes a day. The best elliptical machines are a wonderful way to get active, especially if you're coming to fitness for the first time. They're low-impact, so they're easy on the joints, and the use of the handles along with added resistance allows you to build total-body muscle while doing a cardio workout.  

In one study, published in the journal Gait Posture, researchers sought to compare how elliptical machines activated your muscles when compared to exercise bikes and treadmills, to determine which cardio machines carried the most benefits. It was found elliptical machines demonstrated greater muscle activity in the quadriceps, hamstrings and other muscle groups.

Starting slow, with just 15 minutes a day, allows you to build up to longer workouts. Pretty soon, Carli was in the gym, and can be seen in the video performing lateral raises and kettlebell swings. Kettlebell swings in particular share those same aspects that ellipticals do – a tough cardio workout which also builds muscle – and are frequently included in HIIT workouts as well as our best exercises for weight loss

The last thing you need is some guidance on diet. We've got stacks of resources here on Fit&Well, from articles on portion control to the best protein powder for weight loss. After all, if you're toning up muscle with ellipticals and kettlebells, you need to make sure you're fuelling that muscle growth while cutting down on added sugars. 

Matt Evans
Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Channel Editor at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health and Red Bull, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. 

Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.