12/13/2016 01:52 EST | Updated 02/08/2017 03:31 EST

Weight Lost: How This Ontario Woman Got Lean And Lost 40 Pounds

"I never counted my calories, dieted, or deprived myself of anything."

Who: Priscila C.

City: Oakville, Ont.

Age: 25

By The Numbers: 161 pounds at my heaviest, currently at 121 pounds, for a total weight loss of 40 pounds.

The Weight Gain: Growing up, I had a healthy weight and lifestyle. I was very active and played many sports, like volleyball and track and field.

My weight gain started in my early twenties, as being active at that time was no longer a priority. In addition, I was an unhealthy vegetarian and I consumed copious amounts of dairy and large unbalanced meals. I lived a sedentary lifestyle, especially in the winter, and I very much disliked going to the gym.

I always felt too exhausted, physically and mentally, and I began to struggle with anxiety and self-esteem issues.

"I have always disliked going to the gym, as I find it to be both uncomfortable and chaotic."

Final Straw: In 2015, I was newly married and very happy in my relationship; however, I wasn’t happy with my body and myself as a whole.

I was tired of feeling self-conscious, lethargic, and uncomfortable in my own skin. I wanted to be a better wife, friend, and overall human being.

After seeing a photo of myself in a bikini while on my honeymoon (as seen below), I felt disappointed that I had let myself go.

Story continues below.

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The Plan of Attack: I wanted my results to be long lasting and sustainable, so I knew I needed a lifestyle change and not a temporary fix or diet.

I decided to completely change my eating habits and incorporate a variety of foods, especially fruits and vegetables. I knew that I had to exercise on a daily basis and eat breakfast no matter what.

A fitness journey is a big undertaking so setting weekly goals was important, so that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed or discouraged. I am a goal-driven individual and I knew this approach would keep me motivated and on target. I also introduced running into my routine and ran at least four times a week.

The Exercise Factor: I have always disliked going to the gym, as I find it to be both uncomfortable and chaotic. So, I decided to purchase my own dumbbells, yoga mat, stability ball, and kettle bell. I dusted off the old treadmill and signed up for my first 10k run.

I did extensive research and took a couple of courses to broaden my knowledge of both nutrition and fitness. I decided to use the knowledge I attained to design my own workout routines and meal plans.

"Looking back, I am very proud of my unwavering commitment to make a long-lasting change."

The Food Element: I decided to become a "real" vegetarian and I began to eat rich and wholesome foods. I made sure to consume only healthy snacks and nutritious meals. I stopped shopping in the middle aisles of the grocery store and stayed primarily in the produce aisles.

I also significantly decreased my dairy intake because I felt I was developing an intolerance to it, which was later confirmed by my doctor.

I never counted my calories, dieted, or deprived myself of anything I wanted to eat because life is too short to live that way!

The Current Day-to-Day: I continue to eat rich and wholesome foods, along with a variety of fresh fruits and veggies!

I run four times a week and strength train at home three days a week. Looking back, I am very proud of my unwavering commitment to make a long lasting change.

I am also very proud of my husband for always encouraging me and loving me, regardless of my size and weight.

I do not regret embarking on this journey because I have been able to improve my life and overall well-being.

If I were to give anyone advice, it would be to take baby steps, allow your body and mind time to transition, and embrace change as well as setbacks. A lifestyle journey takes time and a lot of dedication, but once you make the change, you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

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Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.