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January 08, 2018 10:19 AM

 

Robin Janes doesn’t remember ever feeling small.

“Not even in a baby picture,” she tells PEOPLE in the 2018 Half Their Size issue. “I was always overweight, and it continued through adulthood.”

At one point, she admits she was chasing the feeling of being full. “I’d go to multiple drive-throughs to get my fix,” she says. “I’d have large fries and 10 nuggets, and then I’d go and get a sub sandwich.”

Activity was limited for the 28-year-old, who couldn’t partake in standard social gatherings without feeling anxious. “Even if it were going out to dinner with friends, I would have to check out the size of the chairs and the tables to make sure I could fit,” she says.

Courtesy Robin James

Janes realized she was at her highest point when she couldn’t buy a scale that went up “high enough” for her. “I went to my friend’s family business where they weigh huge industrial tubs,” she recalls. “That’s how I found out I was 450 lbs.”

Her real breaking point, though, arrived after having to put her education on hold. “I could no longer fit into the desks at school,” she says. “I knew I had to undergo a huge lifestyle change.”

Without any knowledge of a balanced diet or how to prepare food for herself, Janes was truly starting from scratch. But after discovering Isagenix meal replacement shakes, the pressure she felt was significantly lifted.

Perry Hagopian

Without any gimmicks — just through healthy eating and exercise — our 2018 Half Their Size stars shed hundreds of pounds. For more on their stories and weight loss tips, pick up a copy of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

“I didn’t have to think about how to cook a healthy meal while I was first starting out,” she says. “I would have a shake and know that I was getting balanced nutrition. From there, I would learn how to cook healthy over time.”

She incorporated activity slowly, going on short walks and swimming. Now, after losing 280 lbs., she plays volleyball, goes to the gym and — most importantly — has been able to continue working toward her education degree.

“I’m back in school. I can work anywhere. I’m not limited,” she says. “I feel like before all the doors were closed for me. Now they’re all open.”

Have you lost half your size? Send us your story at halftheirsize@people.com.

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