'The Biggest Loser' Runner-up Ashley Johnston Reveals What Helped Her Lose the Weight

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(Photo: Facebook/Official Ashley Johnston Fan Site)

While losing 183 pounds and over 48% of her bodyweight nearly put Ashley Johnston in first place on The Biggest Loser, the motivational speaker is now focused on her overall health, rather than the number on the scale. 

“I did a lot of mental work,” Johnston told The Huffington Post. “That’s the hardest work to do. It’s harder than counting calories or running on a treadmill.”

In fact, it was a change of thinking that helped her kick off the weight loss journey during season 9 of the show, even when the competition was tough or her past insecurities caught up with her again.

"I’ll show you. I guarantee you won’t see me like this again," she recalled thinking at the beginning of the competition. 

She now emphasizes learning self-compassion as an important step for weight loss. She is familiar with the temptation to find "the next quick fix," but cautions against that approach.  

The reality star revealed that she had tried multiple diets, diet pills and weight loss programs before going on the show, even admitting she had considered trying a pill that would increase her heart rate and pose physical risks. 

She said, “I knew they were dangerous, but I was just that desperate to change.”

After the show, she has a new perspective on her fitness and health. 

"If you fix the inside, I guarantee the outside will follow," she shared.

Now that she has figured out how to cater to her emotional well being, she continues to exercise and eat well, using the Whole30 program to stay on track. She also utilizes meal prep to make sure she always has those healthy and filling foods on hand and portioned out correctly.

Stocked for my September @whole30 !! Can't get enough @lacroixwater!! 4 days down and loving it!

A photo posted by Ashley Johnston Palu (@ashjlife) on

Her FitBit helps keep track of early morning exercise sessions and day-to-day movement. But she is careful to caution that no amount of dieting and exercise can overcome a negative mindset. 

“I have to love myself the way I am right now, the weight I am right now,” Johnston said of her commitment to maintain a healthy weight and even continue to lose more. 

She explained in an Instagram post, "We are beautiful, we are strong, and we CAN! Stay positive! Our bodies listen to our minds so if we keep saying we can't our bodies will start to believe it! #loveyourself #believeyoucan #onedayatatime." 

In addition to doing a lot of personal hard work, Johnston also knows how important it is to have a support system to help throughout the challenging process. 

Her coach on the show, Jillian Michaels, was an integral influence in her weight loss and now her husband, fellow contestant, Koli Palu, is helping her stay focused on what's important.

“The beautiful thing about Koli is that he never judged me. From day one, he always made me comfortable because of how much he cared about me," she revealed. "Going through this process together, we love each other so much!”

It's all about love for Johnston– loving herself, her body and her life– so that she can be her happiest and healthiest. 

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