(Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
The 24-year-old beauty opened up about her past battle with bulimia, an eating disorder that affects millions of Americans each year. Struggling with her weight since childhood, the Syracuse, New York, native relied on rich foods to soothe her when she was lonely or worried, according to a profile of Davuluri published by The Post-Standard of Syracuse. By the time she entered her final semesters at the University of Michigan, she had gained 60 pounds.
After studying a picture of herself one day, the beauty queen decided to take action. "This is not who I want to be, and it is not the way I want to portray myself to the world," Davuluri says of her revelation. Having experienced success on the teen pageant circuit, she set her sights on winning what she has called “The Super Bowl” of competitions, Miss America.
In 2011, she started working out with trainer Tia Falcone and cut out processed foods, instead opting for a healthy diet of mostly chicken and fresh vegetables. Two years later, Davuluri has slimmed down from her heaviest at 170 pounds to 117 pounds, according to Falcone.
"[T]he most important thing we can do for ourselves is to take care of our health and well-being," says Davuluri, who plans to attend medical school with her $50,000 Miss America scholarship. For now, she remains focused on carrying out her pageant platform, "celebrating diversity through cultural competency."
“I'm so happy this organization has embraced diversity," says Davuluri, who is the first Indian-American to hold the title of Miss America. "I'm thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America."
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