After trying countless diets, Haley Smith finally found the motivation to stick to a plan when her boyfriend proposed in July 2015. Smith got serious about weight loss and decided to slim down before their wedding.
“I really knew if I wanted to change, I needed to make realistic goals,” she tells PEOPLE’s Collector’s Edition Half Their Size: The Ultimate Get-Fit Guide
At the beginning, Smith — who married now-husband Matt in October 2016 — started logging her food and incrementally increased the difficulty of her exercise routine, from following the popular “Couch to 5K” running program to hitting the gym almost every day.
But the thing that kept her most accountable was posting her progress photos on Instagram. After 19 months she has lost 113 lbs. and now has more than 90,000 followers. Some days, knowing she has an audience rooting for her is the push she needs.
“If I want to sleep in, I remember something a follower might have said, and it gets me up,” says Smith, 24. “But on days that I do sleep in or struggle with a workout, I always try to be honest about it. I don’t post every time, but I don’t want to sugarcoat that my journey has been some magic, easy process. It’s not at all.”
“I really think my group of followers knows we are on this journey together and that positivity helps feed success way more than any negativity. I’m super thankful for that,” she says.
Aiming to take off another 15 to 20 lbs., Smith, who hopes to start a website to expand her online community, says, “I will keep posting for as long as I have the chance to encourage someone. My profile started as a way to help myself, but now I get to help others. I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.”
Half Their Size: The Ultimate Get-Fit Guide is available in stores now, and can be purchased here on Amazon.