Be an inspiration: If you’ve made positive changes in your diet and/or fitness routine and are happy with the results, please share your success with us. Include your email address, a daytime phone number and before and after photos (by mail or JPEG). Write: Success Stories, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or e-mail Michelle C. Brooks, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Angie Spann Arnold, 53: From 279 pounds to 175 pounds
Former weight: 279 pounds
Current weight: 175 pounds
Pounds lost: 104 pounds
Height: 5 feet, 6 inches
Age: 53 years
How long she’s kept it off: “I started my lifestyle change in January 2014,” said Arnold, who reached her current weight in November.
Personal life: “Mother of two and Gram to three amazing grandchildren. I work for a local school system as the special needs dispatcher and I love life.” She lives in Marietta.
Turning point: “I was one that never wanted my picture taken and seeing some pictures that were made of me really caused me to think. … After many years of yo-yo dieting, I knew I had to make a change that would last; it could not be a diet, it had to be a way of life. I did a lot of praying (and realized) my unhappiness caused me to eat. When I was happy, I would lose weight, and when I was not, I gained. I knew that, until I got my happiness under control, the rest would never change. … I did try a prescribed appetite suppressant at first, but found that it really didn’t control my appetite and I knew that I couldn’t stay on those the rest of my life.”
Diet plan: “Low-carb, very strict at first, not to go over 20 net carbs a day. After some weight loss, I started adding fruits. … I know that this is a way of life now and that carbs cause me to gain weight. I don’t deny myself anything, but I think really long and hard before I choose to eat anything that is not what I need.”
Exercise routine: “I did very little exercise. … I have joined a local gym to work out with weights and have just started learning to run — something I never thought I would do.”
Biggest challenge: “My biggest challenges are cakes and breads. … I don’t order bread with my meals — once, they brought me bread anyway, and to keep from eating it, I intentionally rubbed it on the table so that it was not fit to eat.”
How life has changed: “I’m much happier and love life a whole lot more. I fell in love with an amazing man. The old me would have never had the courage to meet him … and we are getting married in June. … I tried for many years to diet, and it worked a day or so and then it failed. The reason it failed is because my mind was not in the right place — it took a lot of self-reflection, and changing things other than my eating and weight, before my mind finally clicked. … You can fall off the wagon, but don’t let it keep running over you.”