Alumnus’ journey of weight loss to notoriety

A recent graduate of the University of Rhode Island class was featured on the Today Show for losing over 150 pounds.

Brianna Blank, a graduate of the 2014 class, began to change her eating habits towards the end of her time at URI after realizing that she had reached over 300 pounds.

“One day, my sophomore year, I decided to step on a scale out of nowhere… and I saw a number I never, ever wanted to see, I weighed 306 pounds,” Blank said. “At that moment, I knew that I had to do something for myself, for my health…”

From then on Blank researched into better meal options and began counting her calories. She found healthier alternatives to her usually choices in the dining halls and learned how to cook healthier foods.

“I lost 50 pounds just by eating healthier foods,” Blank said. “I started to teach myself how to cook, then when I moved off campus my junior year… I worked out starting that summer, and after a little under two years, I have successfully lost 150 pounds.”

After changing her eating and exercising habits proved to be successful, Blank started a YouTube channel while still living in Rhode Island. On the channel, she posted videos that had advice about eating and exercising.

“I started making YouTube videos with different tips and some recipes… my dream is to have my own talk show.” Blank said.

She then started her own website called BRI Healthy, which developed into articles with tips and advice about losing weight, sharing healthy and easy recipes, more videos pertaining to her weight loss and even merchandise for her growing brand.

“I wanted to help inspire other people,” Blank said. “I just really wanted to show other people that it is possible, and to use my journey as motivation for others.”

After being featured in the “Half Their Size” issue of People Magazine last year, Blank received an offer from the Today Show to appear on an episode.

“Before the show I recorded a minute-long run down on my weight loss journey, and I sent them a bunch of my pictures, and they had me walk out,” Blank said. “[The segment] was talking about the comparison of the types of food I ate… after that I stuck around and did one extra little segment of demonstrating squats with a celebrity trainer.”

Blank was also featured on the Cosmopolitan website after entering a contest to share her weight loss story. From there, People Magazine found her through her Instagram. She used what she learned as a journalism major to describe and publish her weight-loss journey.

“Being a journalism student taught me how to interview people, how to present myself on camera, and how to write a great article, and how to be professional.” Blank said.

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Theresa Brown
I believe that journalism is one of the most important fields in the world. It is incredible to have the responsibility of informing the public, and while I didn't know I wanted to pursue this interest at first I am so incredibly excited to take on this role. News, whether it be big or small impacts so many and I think that giving the students of URI a look into everything that is going on around them is extremely necessary to the overall functionality of the University. On another more personal note, I'm doing this because I have a passion for writing and because I care so much about the reporters and editors involved with the paper already and can't wait to work with them and lead them going forward.