E.J. Johnson Loses 50 Lbs. Since Undergoing Gastric Sleeve Surgery
10/01/2014 AT 07:20 AM EDT
The weight loss "is really exciting," the #RichKids of Beverly Hills star, 22, tells PEOPLE exclusively. "[Weight] is something that I've been struggling with for pretty much all of my life."
After several popular diets failed to provide any permanent change, Magic Johnson's son says he began considering gastric sleeve surgery – which makes the stomach smaller – two years ago.
"Nothing was working, and I wanted to make a more permanent decision to get back on track," he says. "[But] I wanted to wait until I was a little bit older to know how to handle myself afterwards."
With a goal of reaching his ideal weight in a year ("I'll just know when I look like what I want," he says about not setting a specific number), Johnson has been carefully monitoring his meals and taking dance cardio and Pilates classes four to five days a week.
To maintain a steady weight loss, the 6'2" fashion blogger eats a bowl of cereal for breakfast, followed by yogurt or string cheese for a snack; for lunch, he eats a tuna or chicken salad with a protein shake or yogurt as a snack; and for dinner, he eats lean protein such as fish or chicken with a side of vegetables.
Cutting out alcohol, bread, fried foods and foods with high sugar content – which has been a bit easier because his family already eats "pretty healthy" – Johnson, who is currently living at home with his parents in Beverly Hills, admits he's "a lot more diligent right now."
Says the star: "Being able to take control of my life again, take control of what I'm eating and my fitness is enlightening and empowering."