Lauren Cohan, best known for her role as Maggie Greene on AMC’s The Walking Dead, wows on the January cover of Shape magazine. The actress showed off her toned physique and  explained how she battled her own body issues. “I was very skinny as a kid, but when I was swimming… and just having fun, I never worried about how I looked,” Cohan said. “In my teens, though, I started to be more aware of my body, and I didn’t like being skinny. People made fun of me for it.”

As the actress got older and went to college, she began eating more to gain weight. “I loved it because I didn’t stand out as a bony girl anymore! Eating became a way of not getting attention for looking too skinny, but it was also about self-sabotage.”

Cohen goes on to say that she needs a good workout before her day starts to help let the endorphins flow. “When I don’t exercise in the morning, it’s a completely different day than when I do,” says the 33-year-old actress. “Working out gives me endorphins and makes me happy. I need it!”

During the busy season of portraying Maggie Greene, the actress has to get more creative. “Working out is harder when we’re on set,” she admits. “We film in Georgia, and I can’t go to classes. So I do exercise DVDs that have a lot of leg lifts, kicks, arm lifts—things that don’t need equipment. And I move all the time. I take the stairs, I do press-ups between scenes, and I do sit-ups before I eat lunch.”

The zombie fighter believes in variety when it comes to her work outs. “I am the queen of exercise variety. This week I was in L.A. and I took a Pure Barre class, went to Burn 60 twice, ran the track at UCLA, made it to the gym, and took a yoga class. I also really love to dance. I dance through workouts that aren’t even about dancing! At home, all my furniture is pushed to the edges of my living room so that I can dance around the room. Working out is harder when we’re on set. We film in Georgia, and I can’t go to classes. So I do exercise DVDs that have a lot of leg lifts, kicks, arm lifts—things that don’t need equipment. And I move all the time. I take the stairs, I do press-ups between scenes, and I do sit-ups before I eat lunch.”

Cohen also meal preps every Sunday with lots of fruits and veggies. She also likes to spurge on Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.

The January/February issue of Shape is available now.

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