BEFORE: 265 lbs
AFTER: 152 lbs
"I'M NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING NOW!"
As a kid, Larissa Reggetto could always be found on the softball field or basketball court, but that changed when her family moved from their close-knit New Jersey town to Effort, Pennsylvania, before she started high school. "I didn't want to be there, so I didn't try to make friends," says Larissa, now 22. She quit sports and filled her time with fast-food runs. As a senior, Larissa, 5'5", weighed 265 pounds.
The Change: During college, Larissa, who studied criminal justice and dreamed of becoming a police officer, visited the gym sporadically, dabbled in the occasional diet—and remained just as heavy. As she neared graduation, she checked the fitness requirements for the police academy, and her heart sank. "I realized I was nowhere near where I needed to be. I had to change, or else I wouldn't make it," she says.
The Lifestyle: Larissa replaced big, greasy binges—she never had set meal times, but ate whenever she wanted—with six to eight small meals a day. She shopped for chicken, broccoli, brown rice, and yogurt. In two weeks she lost 10 pounds, a confidence-boosting drop that got Larissa back in the gym. "At first I could run only a quarter of a mile," she says. "I cried because I was so exhausted." A trainer helped her add cycling, weight lifting, and circuit training into her routine five times a week, and in 10 months she'd reached 185 pounds. She plateaued there, but when Larissa took herworkouts onto new terrain outside, she clicked into another gear and hit 152 pounds by February 2013. That same month, she passed (OK, destroyed) the police-academy fitness exam.
The Reward: As a police cadet, Larissa learned to fight with knives and firearms—defensive tactics that she says would have been impossible at her old weight. She can run 10 miles and bust out 50 pushups on cue. "But the mental aspect is the biggest change," she says. "I used to be shy. As a police officer, you need confidence and courage. I finally have what it takes."
Think bigger. "Having fitness goals, rather than just a weight goal, drives me."
Sub in. "I make treats with egg whites instead of eggs, or with applesauce instead of butter."
Google it. "I look up restaurants' nutritional info online before I go out to eat so I can choose wisely."