Miss America Nina Davuluri is in great shape now, but wasn't always so fitness-minded. Just two years ago, the 5-foot-7 Davuluri tipped the scales at 170 pounds and had struggled with bulimia for years.
The brunette beauty is constantly worried she might regain the weight, adding that her weight problems have made her more sympathetic to others with similar body issues.
“People who’ve been overweight, especially women, feel like at a moment’s notice we can go back to where we were,” Davuluri told ABC News Sept. 16. “It makes you more sympathetic, more empathetic. You don’t judge. I’ve been there, and if I can pull myself out of where I’ve been, anyone can.”
Ironically, Davuluri was at the center of controversy even before she was crowned Miss America, when reports surfaced that she had called 2012 Miss America Mallory Hagan "fat as f**k." Davuluri denied making the comments, and pageant officials found no wrongdoing after investigating the allegations over the summer.
Davuluri, 24, says her own weight-loss journey began in 2011, when she realized that she had to get in better shape if she was serious about winning Miss America. Davuluri overhauled her diet and now eats mostly chicken, egg whites, Greek yogurt and lots of vegetables. She eats very little processed or junk foods.
She shed fat and added lean muscle by circuit-training and lifting weights, resistance bands and kettle bells. Now fitter and healthier than ever, Davuluri hopes to inspire other young women to embrace a healthy lifestyle and follow their dreams.
Davuluri, who has been the target of vicious racist attacks on the Internet after becoming the first Indian-American to be crowned Miss America, is moving forward toward her goal of becoming a physician. "I have to rise above [racism]," she said. "I'm thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America."