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Lindsay Bonnett before and after her 34-pound weight loss.

Lindsay Bonnett

22, Toronto

Pounds dropped: 34

My turning point: For most of my undergraduate degree, I hadn't felt good about my health habits: I was made well aware of them by being a Health Studies major. I used snacking to ease my stress, and exercised only occasionally. My weight rose to 215 pounds on my six-foot frame. After graduation, I got a job at a very health-focused company, Lululemon Athletica. There was no excuse not to be the healthier. I had all of the right tools; what I needed was the right attitude.

This January, my boyfriend told me that I lacked positivity, and he found it difficult to be around me. I checked in with my friends and this opinion was widely confirmed: Unbeknownst to me, my feelings about myself and my weight were affecting my interactions with the very people I loved the most. I sat down that night and made the mental change: I wanted to be positive. I knew that with the right habits I could cultivate happiness for myself..

How I lost it: My nutrition philosophy has nothing to do with counting calories: it was about making sure that I consistently provided high-quality fuel to my body. I didn't care about the numbers on the scale or how many pounds I lost, and never bothered keeping track. (I didn't even know until I was asked by the Globe editors to weigh myself!) The change I focused on was how I felt waking up every morning, whether I felt like smiling at a stranger in a store, how much I laughed every day. I realized that anything that raised my insulin quickly would make me crash quickly, and that affected my attitude. So, I cut out dairy, wheat and refined carbohydrates and researched alternatives. This was without any feelings of starvation – I probably eat about 2,300 calories a day. I allow myself dark chocolate, popcorn, fruit, wine, and the occasional gluten-free cookie.

I am an all or nothing type of person, and I use that to my advantage. I changed from being addicted to sugar to being addicted to exercise. I started running/biking four to six days a week. I started going to hot yoga five days a week. My mobility increased, inches were falling off my body, and my skin started to glow. My sense of competence grew. Even my posture got straighter.

In the past three months, I've lost almost 35 pounds. People regularly tell me that I look and act like a different person. I've run outside for 40 minutes straight, and mastered all of three yoga poses. I've gotten a promotion at work, dropped four dress sizes and have never felt more grateful for all that's been given to me. It all started with a wake-up call from someone who cared about me.

My kryptonite: I still love to enjoy a great pint of beer from a microbrewery with some friends after a busy – and active – day.

This interview has been condensed and edited by Amberly McAteer.

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