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We hear about celebrity weight-loss journeys all the time, but they often involve drastic measures. (We’re not about to hop on a master cleanse or two-a-day workouts.) But Maria Menounos’ story seems to be the exception.

The TV journalist and host, who you probably recognize from the red carpet, her E! show Untold with Maria Menounos, or even her cameo appearances in the WWE, wasn’t always this fit. Menounos grew up in a health-obsessed household, but gained the freshman 15 (and then some), thanks to an unlimited meal card at college and a love of pizza. We recently sat down with her to learn about the simple changes she made to lose 40 pounds (and lead a healthier lifestyle), which she also talks about in her most recent book, The EveryGirl's Guide to Diet and Fitness. Here are her eight refreshingly honest takeaways:

1. Start with tiny changes.

“I ate pizza all the time in college, so I started by saying, ‘I’m just gonna eat one less slice of pizza.’ Little by little, one slice less got easy, so I went for two. I started off eating five or six slices of pizza in a sitting—I ate like a football player. And I eventually dropped the first 20 pounds by just making those tiny changes.”

2. Think about food differently.

“I went from viewing food less as pleasure and more as fuel. I remember listening to people who said they loved eating a salad with salmon. And I’m like, ‘Who does that?!’ Now I do, but it takes a long time to get there. You have to adjust your mentality and you have to adjust your tastebuds.”

3. Give yourself the best fuel possible.

“I now look at my body like I car. I want to put the best fuel in it, but I want to have some fun too. I look at my dad who has been type 1 diabetic for over 40 years. The disease hasn't affected him because he has only eaten pure fuel—fruits and vegetables, very few carbs, and very little meat.”

4. Never stop moving.

“It’s the simplest kind of approach: Be moving all the time, and move with a sense of urgency. If you’re moving and you get your steps in every day, you’ve got a good foundation to work from.”

5. Know it’s going to be hard—really hard.

“The first week is going to suck. The second week might still suck, but after that you’re going to feel so good because seeing even the littlest changes in your body and your energy and the vibrancy of your eyes is going to get you excited.”

6. Pick a prep day.

“Being prepared is such a big deal. I spend an hour or two on Sunday making a few dishes that are easy and healthy. I know they’re in the fridge if I’m starving and need a snack, and I can bring them for lunch all week.”

7. Skinny doesn’t always mean healthy.

“When I first got to L.A., my schedule was so crazy and busy, I didn’t know how to handle it. Fast food was the only way I could make it work. I was able to keep off the weight I lost in college while eating fast food because I was so busy and moving so much, but I wasn’t healthy, and I was getting sick all of the time.”

8. Find your go-to snacks.

“I keep almonds in my bag because when I’m stuck in traffic and it’s either almonds or McDonald’s, I'll reach for some almonds. I also try and keep an apple or banana in my purse. And on those nights when I get home late and haven’t had dinner yet, I’ll have some Greek yogurt with blueberries or mashed up almonds or honey. It ends up feeling like a dessert right before bed.”

This interview has been condensed for clarity.

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