How This Woman Lost an Incredible 112 Pounds After Gaining Weight in College

Her No. 1 tip? Perseverance is key.

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We've all heard the joke: You go to college, you grub on too much late-night pizza and all-you-can-eat dining hall fare, and suddenly the notorious Freshman 15 has claimed another victim. For Dena Shahani, however, college didn't just bring on 15 extra pounds. Her "sedentary lifestyle" and the bad snacking habits she developed during school caused her to reach her heaviest-ever weight of nearly 260 pounds.

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Looking back, Shahani said she developed an unhealthy relationship with food and body image early on. An only child, she was spoiled by her parents with unhealthy treats, and was bullied for being "larger" starting when she was 8 years old, the Daily Mail reports.

So, after finishing college, the 29-year-old San Diego native decided to take control of her health. Shahani was embarrassed to go to the gym and hardly ever focused on nutrition. She knew something had to change, though. She started monitoring her calorie intake and squeezed cardio in whenever she could. She even used a portable elliptical to exercise while she watched TV at home.

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Ultimately, her hard work paid off: Shahani is down an impressive 112 pounds (she's dropped from a size 20 to a size 4!) and has shifted her focus from weight loss to overall health and fitness.

"I've stopped obsessing over the calories burned on the treadmill and starting focussing on the weights on the squat bar," she told the Daily Mail. "The scale had always been my savior, yet it was also my tormentor — if it said I gained half a pound, it ruined my day. Now, the number on the scale doesn't define me, my progress, or my goals."

Shahani also wants people to know that her physical transformation hasn't changed who she is inside:

"When I see my before and after pictures, it's an out-of-body experience, as if I'm looking at someone else's journey," she said. "I'm still the same person, and I think people have a hard time understanding that because people who transform look so different, but my mind is still the same."

In the end, Shahani knows that her body is still a work in a progress and that her fitness journey was not a quick fix, but instead a new, healthier way of life. That's why she encourages other people struggling with their weight to persevere, no matter how many times they fall off track.

"Even while losing weight, I would have weeks and even months where I gave up and would gain weight back, but I would always re-group and start over," she explained. "Perseverance is more important than motivation. The most important thing is being able to hit the restart button, wake up the next day and give it another shot. You don't have to turn your life upside down every Monday and succumb to defeat every Tuesday. Start by making small changes and before you know it, it's a habit and lifestyle."

Consider us inspired.

[h/t Daily Mail]

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