March 30, 2009 12:00 PM

THEN A SIZE 20

NOW A SIZE 8!

Growing up, “I was the kid on the beach who wore a shirt into the water,” admits Guiding Light star Caitlin VanZandt. But one year after having lap-band surgery (which shrinks the stomach to the size of a golf ball) she has lost 90 lbs.—and all her inhibitions. “This is the first time I felt good enough to say, ‘Here I am, world! And I’m in a swimsuit!'” she says. “I feel slimmer through my arms. I’m definitely showing more leg. I’m showing more of everything!” To keep her body toned, VanZandt, 23, eats a diet rich in fish, yogurt and almonds, and also attends belly-dancing and tap classes. But her goal is to lose only another 10 lbs. “I don’t know if I want to reach Hollywood’s standard of skinny,” she says. “It shouldn’t be embarrassing if you have hips and a chest!”

See how Caitlin got ready for this photo at people.com/vanzandt

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