Do you ever feel like you’re the fat friend? The one who keeps her arms covered, the one that doesn’t think she can pull off the newest trends, and just doesn’t feel happy?

I know what it’s like because, for many years, I was the “fat friend.” Throughout high school and into my early twenties I was 65 pounds overweight and felt anxious and depressed all the time. Even though no one ever called me the “fat friend,” that’s how I felt on the inside.

To me, being the fat friend meant sitting on the couch eating a bag of chips and a tub of cookie dough in one sitting. I was the one who faked a smile for pictures because deep down I was miserable. It meant I hated being in public and felt insecure even around my closest friends, who in reality, were my support group.

But, one day, at 23 years old, I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I knew I needed to make a drastic lifestyle change to boost my mental and physical health and leave the “fat friend” mentality behind me, for good.

Here are my top 4 tips to start living and loving your life:

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