Some people gain the freshman 15. I gained the college 50. Here's what happened: I grew up vegetarian, eating my mom's dinners built around fresh produce from her garden. Then I went to college, where the only meat-free options in the dining halls were oily pizza and fries. And with my mind focused on studying for my double major, I stopped paying attention to what I was eating. By the time I graduated in 2012, I was up to 183 pounds.
Good-bye, greasy grub Fast-forward nine months; I was living and working in Manhattan and finally had some disposable income. I decided to prioritize my health and sign up for Nutrisystem. I had never been good at meal planning, so the structure was perfect for me. Each day, I got four preportioned meals, including dessert. I supplemented them with fresh grocery items, like little packets of peanuts that kept me satiated between meals. By just nixing the fast food and hoofing it through the city, I knocked off 40 pounds.
RELATED: 9 Little Tweaks That Make Walking Workouts More Effective
Laura Barisonzi Making it on my own Still, I knew that walking alone wasn't enough, so in February 2014, I joined a gym and loaded up on classes. (Zumba was a fave!) Within a month, I shed those last 10 pounds. These days, I live in a New Jersey boardwalk town; being by the beachwhere I can swim, bike and runinspired me to work off 10 more pounds. I still get meals delivered, but only because it makes life easier. I'm once again the healthy eater my mom raised.
Drop It Like Danica Get all the tricks that helped Danica keep off the pounds, and find even more tips at health.com/weight-loss-stories.
Bring your gym anywhere I love the Cardio Sculpt and Black Fire videos on DailyBurn. They're amazing for tightening my abs!
RELATED: How to Stick to a Workout Plan
Pump the beats I'm a music writer, so I'm always adding to my workout playlists. Social Distortion's "Highway 101" is an old fave!
Get good grains My power pick: quinoa. It's versatile and filling. I add it to salads with sliced grapes.
Find a friend I've never been a big runner, so I grab a buddy if I need an extra push. Or, if we want a break from running, we'll do yoga on the beach.