In Makeover Diaries, women tell the stories of their real-life beauty transformations. When Jael Gardiner, a college student from Michigan, started losing weight and taking the time to look her best, it not only changed her appearance -- it changed her life.

Author Before After

The author, before and after.

Being the fat girl is never fun. In fact, it's humiliating. Try being an 18-year-old college student who can only shop at Lane Bryant. I was the girl who wore sweatpants from Target, neglected my hair and never bothered with makeup. At 210 pounds, mirrors made me cringe.

I decided to make myself over the day I realized my size 18 pants were too snug and my mother's size 20 sweats were just right. I was horrified. I forced myself to look at the acne covering my face, my listless hair, and the rolls that hung in the most unflattering places.

How did I do it? I limited my calories and took up jogging. It took me eight months to lose 60 pounds. I can shop wherever I want now. Once I hit my goal of 150, I saved up some money and went wild. I bought jeans from Wet Seal -- skinny jeans, in fact. I bought a cute pair of suede boots, a V-neck top and a sparkly necklace. For the first time in my life I was a size 9.

Once I had the outfit, I moved on to my hair. I bought some nice shampoo, conditioner and a straightener. Before, my hair was randomly curly, with bumps that always made me look like I just woke up. The new straightener and some vitamin E serum made it pretty and shiny. I got some jeweled bobby pins and arranged them in my hair. I didn't just feel pretty -- I felt like a princess!

Time to tackle my skin. With an Acne Free kit, my skin dramatically improved improved in a little over a week. Now I was ready to give makeup a try. I bought Maybelline mousse foundation and I love it. It hides all of the little imperfections on my face and goes on smooth without making the acne worse. It was very breathable and looked great even on my vampire-pale skin. I picked out some cheap dollar eyeliner and volumizing mascara from Revlon. Just that made my eyes pop and it was very simple and pretty. To finish it off I bought some Revlon pink blush and it brought some color to my pale face.

At the end, I looked great. Some of my professors at school no longer even recognized me. My friends' mouths gaped open at my new look. I've had people almost start crying when they saw me. It was a long, hard journey, but now I'm not just beautiful, I'm healthy. I will always be proud of everything I have accomplished and promise to never neglect myself again.

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