Julie Mazziotta
May 26, 2017 11:56 AM

Trisha Cunningham dropped over 170 lbs. in 2000, and now, 17 years later, she still keeps it off.

Cunningham, who appeared in PEOPLE’s 2007 Half Their Size issue, credits her ability to stay at 140 lbs. to her daily meal system, which she documents in her weight loss book, The Reverse Diet. Instead of making dinner the largest meal of the day, Cunningham flips the script and starts with a big breakfast, a medium-sized lunch, and a small dinner with snacks in between.

“It’s all about changing you inside,” she says in the PEOPLE Now Half Their Size special. “Changing how you eat, what you eat, when you eat it, and how much you do.”

The Doctor‘s Dr. Travis Stork applauds Cunningham’s system.

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“By having a big breakfast, you’re doing two things — you’re less likely to eat later in the day or overeat, and you’re giving yourself energy. We [undervalue] that,” he says in the special. “What is food? The purpose is to provide us with energy, and you want energy to accomplish all the work you have to do during the day, not to sleep at night.”

And Cunningham, who was featured in the PEOPLE Half Their Size special issue, on newsstands now, says weight loss is possible with a good mindset.

“Weight loss is 90 percent from the neck up,” she says. “Get in the mind frame, and don’t set unrealistic expectations. Make sure this is something for life, not a quick fix.”

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