In a new excerpt from her book "The EveryGirl's Guide to Diet and Fitness: How I lost 40 lbs and Kept It Off—and How You Can Too!", actress and entertainment news host Maria Menounos reveals that while she's proud of her fit and healthy body, developing the habits to get her there wasn't easy

The 35-year-old describes how, despite having parents who raised her on a healthy mix of fruits and vegetables, she fell off the wagon once leaving home and exposed to a world overflowing with processed foods and sugar. 

"In my freshman year of high school I was a size 3, and I grew a size every year," she writes. "Things got worse in college: I didn't gain the Freshman 15—I gained the Freshman 40. Off my parents' proverbial leash, I could keep candy and chips in my room and eat all the late-night pizza I could afford. I grew to a size 14 and kept growing. I felt sick and lethargic. I wanted to nap all the time."

Menounos says she created her own plan to lose the weight, dropping 40 pounds in one year. While she was thin, however, she was still not eating properly while attempting to managing a growing career and a hectic schedule. 

 "I was in and out of the hospital multiple times for exhaustion, malnutrition, and dehydration," she admits.

Once she became a reporter for shows like "Extra" and "TODAY," Menounos said she was given access to interview some of the best experts on weight loss, exercise, and nutrition - leading her to once again overhaul her habits and discover a healthy balance. She details these tips in 10 steps - with advice like "avoid the scale" and "cut back slowly." 

"Trying to rush or do crazy crash diets does not give you sustainable results," she says. "And I never focused on losing a specific number of pounds. I just knew by the end of a year I wanted to look and feel great, whatever my weight was."

For more info on Maria's new healthy living book, jump here.

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Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Maria Menounos on avoiding crash diets for sustainable results
Entertainment news host describes her weight loss history - and the daily tips she follows to stay healthy and fit.