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, c/o The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or e-mail Michelle C. Brooks, email@example.com.
Gino Marotta, 40: From 315 pounds to 197 pounds
Former weight: 315 pounds
Current weight: 197 pounds
Pounds lost: 118 pounds
Height: 5 feet 8 inches
Age: 40 years
How long he’s kept it off: “I started … to lose weight on Jan. 31, 2015, the day after my 39th birthday. My goal was to drop 115 pounds by my 40th birthday. … I woke up the morning of Feb. 12, 2016, and weighed in at 200.5 pounds. Frustrated … I went to Stone Mountain Park and did an 8-mile run. When I came back, I weighed 197 pounds and had finally hit my goal.”
Personal life: “I’m a software engineer. … I’m married and have a young son.” He lives in Lawrenceville.
Turning point: “I have been over 300 pounds for most of my adult life — at least 20 years. … My best friend had lost over 100 pounds. … That served as inspiration to start my own efforts and he coached and motivated me. … I tried applying for life insurance and was given an exorbitant quote. When I asked what the quote would be if I were 100 pounds less, they gave me one at a fraction of the price. … They were gambling that I would die before the term of the life insurance was up.”
Diet plan: He created “breakfast mush,” a casserole with eggs, ground turkey and hash browns. Lunches are a frozen meal and dinner varies.
Exercise routine: “For the first 60 pounds of weight loss, I did no exercise. … My current routine consists of 30 minutes of intense cardio in a gym two or three times a week.” On weekends, he does an 8-mile hike/run at Stone Mountain Park.
Biggest challenge: “The biggest challenge was finding the discipline to get started. I spent 20 years trying to lose weight and failing with each attempt.” He doesn’t know what worked this time, but tracking helped.
How life has changed: “The normal cliche ‘I have so much energy’ is totally true. I noticed it the first time I was at my niece’s birthday party. The kids started chasing me, and for the first time, I was able to run with them. … For 20 years, I was ashamed to purchase clothing. Once I hit my goal, I invited my sister-in-law to come visit and we went (shopping) at Lenox Square. … I’m one of the people who read (this column) for many years, hoping that one day, I would muster the discipline to lose weight and be featured myself.”