Quitting college basketball sent Jasmine Pitts' weight soaring, but she bounced back with a kick-butt new hobby.

By As told to Julie Mazziotta
September 16, 2015
Jamine Pitts (before)/Harold Lee Miller (after)

Jamine Pitts (before)/Harold Lee Miller (after)Jasmine Pitts
26, 5'10"
Before: 185 lb.
Dress size: 12/14
After: 145 lb.

Dress size: 4
Total pounds lost: 40 lb.
Sizes lost: 5

At age 10, I had a 15-year plan: play basketball every day, join a college team and make the WNBA. But a year into undergrad, I was still just a walk-on, and I realized that my WNBA dreams were unrealistic (and my engineering degree would earn me more money). So I quit to focus on my studies. At the same time, I was doing what most college kids do—partying—and lost the motivation to work out. I graduated in December 2011 weighing 185 pounds.

Facebook wake-up call
Diploma in hand, I moved to Indianapolis. Lonely in my new apartment and flipping through my tagged Facebook photos, I suddenly saw how big I'd become. I was confused: Why didn't anyone tell me? I needed to make a change. I got the Insanity DVDs and followed the program every night after work for 90 days. Then I'd cook a dinner that was much healthier than the dining hall food of the previous four years. Eating clean and another cycle of Insanity got me to 135 pounds by September 2012.

A new lift
I had already hit my weight goal, but I wanted to get stronger. I started lifting and quickly developed some definition. But it was my aunt—who went from being overweight to a world-champion bodybuilder—who inspired me to take it seriously. In June 2014, I entered my first bodybuilding competition, and I placed in the top five! I've since competed three more times. While I'm still an engineer by day, I've discovered a way to live out my dreams of going pro—as a bodybuilder.

Jasmine's Journey to Fit
Jasmine relied on a winning combo of exercise and better eating. Steal her tricks, and get even more at health.com/weight-loss-stories.

Just add color
I buy workout clothes in crazy colors—they give me energy.

Switch up your push-ups
Create a diamond shape with your forefingers and thumbs to really target your triceps.

Find instant motivation
I started listening to motivational speeches on YouTube during workouts. My favorite: "I Am a Champion" by Coach Flowers.

DIY protein bars
I make my own protein bars by mixing oats with nuts or dried fruit—whatever sounds good—then adding a bit of heated unsweetened almond milk to bind the dough before pressing it into a sheet pan (no baking needed).