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 Patty Murphy, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or e-mail Michelle C. Brooks, email@example.com.
SUCCESS STORY / Lavoris L. Swain, 54: From 203 pounds to 183 pounds
Former weight: 203 pounds
Current weight: 183 pounds
Pounds lost: 20 pounds
Height: 5 feet, 10 inches
Age: 54 years
How long she’s kept it off: She started in July 2014. “I have maintained weight loss between 15 to 20 pounds consistently … My ultimate goal is between 175 to 180 pounds,” says Swain.
Personal life: “I am enjoying a new and wonderful life; I just purchased a new home to start my new-found single life. My daughter [and I], are in a new neighborhood after leaving our previous one of 17 years. She loves her school and we are settling in quite well. Life is good. I am an insurance agent/owner with American Family Insurance. My business is located in Riverdale, Ga.” She also has two grown children and lives in Hampton, Ga.
Turning point: “I got on the scale and when I saw 200 pounds, that did it for me. I want to be healthy and strong as I age and I know weight gain is not the way.”
Diet plan: “Typically, I eat four to five small meals a day, two to three hours apart, along with at least 64 ounces of water a day.” Breakfast is oatmeal, grits or cereal. Lunch is fish, chicken or a black bean patty. Snacks include sweet potatoes or sherbet. Dinner includes leafy green vegetables and meat.
Exercise routine: “I do Casi’s Straight Military Style Bootcamp (www.casisbootcamp.com); along with four-mile power walks. I make sure to do at least 200 crunches at least three to four times a week. I enjoy dancing which helps. I am always on the go, also. I believe that if we stay active, we have less tendency to gain weight … I have thoroughly enjoyed doing Casi’s boot-camp there were women [and men] of all shapes and sizes.”
Biggest challenge: “Time — I own and operate a business. Insurance is very demanding. I work very hard aiming for success. I work nights trying to make up for leaving my office by 6 p.m. so that I am not late for camp. I don’t mind because I am doing something for my well-being.”
How life has changed: “Well, I’m recently happily divorced. I didn’t expect it but I embraced it as I do with everything in my life … You only fail if you didn’t learn — it’s a life-learned lesson.” She adds: “Everybody can be successful at weight loss. Your mind has to be in the right place … Proverbs 31:25 says ‘she is clothed with strength and splendor and she looks to the future with confidence’ I like that; it really stuck with me.”