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Dropping Pounds: Samia Akram, 18, Huntington Station

Samia Akram, 18, lost more than 80 pounds

Samia Akram, 18, lost more than 80 pounds in eight months of her sophomore high school year through exercise and healthy eating. A 2012 photo, left, shows Akram weighing about 215 pounds, and a photo taken on Aug. 19, 2015, right, shows her after her weight loss. Photo Credit: Courtesy Samia Akram; Bill Perlman

Samia Akram

Age 18

Home Huntington Station

Occupation Will be attending Suffolk County Community College in September

Height 5-foot-6

Before weight 215 lbs. October 2012

After weight 130 lbs. August 2015

Her story

"I was overweight my whole life, and I didn't like it," says the recent high school graduate, who had made a few halfhearted attempts at dieting. Wanting to look more like her trimmer peers, Akram started doing research on her own and also asked the closest experts she could find, one being her gym teacher, on how to achieve her goal. She learned about the importance of portion size, healthy carbs, protein, not drinking soda and an exercise routine. The lifelong fruit and vegetable hater was soon eating broccoli, zucchini, strawberries and blueberries, among other fruits and vegetables, and walking on a treadmill. Early on she would stop after five minutes on the treadmill, but she would get back on and keep going. Within nearly a full school year, October to June, Samia lost 85 pounds. "It came off fast because I'm young," Akram said. She said her doctor agreed that it was her youth and not unhealthy dieting that helped her achieve her goal so rapidly.

Her diet

Breakfast can be Cheerios with a banana and low-fat milk or a two-egg omelet with vegetables. Lunch is either grilled chicken or tuna salad on whole wheat bread with an apple on the side. For dinner, Akram enjoys brown rice with black beans and broccoli on the side or grilled chicken with brown rice and lentils. She snacks on almonds and says she loves Chobani Greek yogurt, either mango or coconut varieties.

Her exercise In addition to running on a treadmill, Akram works with weights, on alternate days, focusing on her arms, legs and abdomen. Her daily routine takes about an hour and she has one weekly rest day.

Her advice 1. It's not physical, it's mental. 2. It's more about healthy eating than exercise. 3. Never, ever starve yourself. 4. Start healthy eating and exercising when you're young.

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