SUCCESS STORY / Margaret deNeergaard, 63: From 175 pounds to 134 pounds
Former weight: 175 pounds
Current weight: 134 pounds
Pounds lost: 41 pounds
Height: 5 feet 3 inches
Age: 63 years
How long she’s kept it off: She started in January 2016. “I reached my maintenance weight at the Aug. 8, 2016, weigh-in,” deNeergaard said. “I’ve kept the weight off for a year now.”
Personal life: “My husband, John, and I live in Marietta with our pup, a yellow Labrador, Gabby,” she said. “I am currently working as a web designer.”
Turning point: “I have been overweight for many years. I finally realized I was destroying myself with the way I was eating,” deNeergaard said. “I had a dream in which I told myself I was poisoning myself with sugar. It was such a strong dream it woke me up.” In January of 2016, she and her husband signed up for classes taught by wellness coach Jacynta Hab with Sparkle A New You.
Diet plan: “I am learning that a Mediterranean-style diet is the healthiest way for me to fuel my body and the food I most enjoy,” she said. Breakfast is a veggie omelet and coffee. She snacks on fruit. Lunch is chicken and vegetables or a salad. Dinner is chicken or fish and vegetables.
Exercise routine: “I really enjoy walking my dog. We walk about a mile and a half around the neighborhood each day,” deNeergaard said. “… Over time, I started adding back things I enjoyed as a younger person to my exercise routine. For instance, on Tuesdays I go to a Scottish dance class in Marietta. … On Wednesdays and Fridays, I swim about half a mile at the public pool in west Cobb.”
Biggest challenge: “There are a lot of challenges in a weight-loss journey; for me, the hardest part is mental. I was a stress eater,” deNeergaard said. “Of course, eating doesn’t really relieve the stress; it just distracts you for a moment. Planning is what makes the difference for me. If I know what I’m going to eat and have planned to have it available, then I don’t sabotage myself. I am really fortunate that my husband grills delicious chicken and vegetables on Sundays — enough for the whole week.”
How life has changed: “I am a different person — I am definitely more healthy and happy. I have different priorities, and I have gained a new confidence in myself. Life and health are precious. When I’m focused on being a healthy person and making good choices for myself, I’m successful. I’m not perfect, but I take it one day and one meal at a time. … Success builds more success. One saying that has meaning for me is: ‘Just show up.’ You don’t have to solve all your problems overnight. All you have to do is step up and give it a try. … I know now that I can do other things in my life that I never thought were possible — all I have to do is begin.”
Share Your Success: Have you lost weight successfully with a healthy lifestyle change? If you would like to share your story with our readers, please include your email address, a daytime phone number, and before and after photos (by mail or JPEG), and contact us at: Success Stories, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or email Michelle C. Brooks, firstname.lastname@example.org.