BEFORE 247 LBS
AFTER 137 LBS
"I feel awesome!"
As a teenager, Brittany Hicks, now 22, loved going out with friends for pizza, tacos, or chicken and french fries. "I would get every dipping sauce—the barbecue, the ranch, you name it," says Brittany, now a student at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She played sports, but it wasn't enough to offset her junk food-heavy diet. "I just wasn't aware of healthy options," she says. By high school graduation, Brittany, who is 5'4", weighed nearly 250 pounds.
As a second-semester college freshman, Brittany ventured to the gym for the first time since high school—and crossed paths with a personal trainer. "She gave me her card and told me to call her when I was ready for a change," says Brittany. "I was curious. Could I really lose weight?" Months later, a few days after her 20th birthday, she decided it was time to find out, and she made the call.
Twice a week for an hour, Brittany lunged, ran stairs, and lifted dumbbells with her trainer. She started a food journal, paying attention to what she ate—and why. "I realized I'd been using food to cope with stress," she says. "Just noticing that helped me do it less." After a few weeks, she was down 10 pounds. She cleaned up her diet (Greek yogurt and granola for breakfast; protein and veggies for lunch and dinner) and shed another 35 pounds in four months. Brittany scoped out dining-center offerings on campus, like her now-favorite veggie wraps and sushi with brown rice, and started using what she'd learned from her trainer to work out on her own five or six days a week, adding in dance, yoga, and kickboxing classes.
As she approached the 100-pounds-lost mark, she wrote her goal, 147, on her wrist for inspiration—and reached it right before her 21st birthday. And she's dropped 10 more pounds since then!
"I'm less tired now, because my body isn't worn out just from moving around," says Brittany. "And I have a better appreciation of myself, inside and out." But the best part, by far? "I love inspiring kids, especially young girls," says Brittany, who visits schools to talk about getting healthy. "I've been in their shoes. I want to show them they can do it."
Go a little wild. "I wear colorful socks when I work out. You have to make it fun."
Downsize. "I bake tiny pies and cobblers. They're just as good."
Start now. "Any age is the right age to make a change. You have so much life left!"