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Updated: 4:40 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012 | Posted: 11:14 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012

Chad Deal, 41, of Lawrenceville, lost 138 pounds



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Chad Deal, 41, of Lawrenceville, lost 138 pounds photo
HANDOUT
Chad Deal AFTER: Weight in photo: 189 pounds; age in photo: 41 years; when photo was taken: April 2012.
Chad Deal, 41, of Lawrenceville, lost 138 pounds photo
HANDOUT
Chad Deal BEFORE: Weight in photo: 315 pounds; age in photo: 39 years; when photo was taken: October 2010.

By Michelle C. Brooks

For the AJC

SUCCESS STORY / Chad Deal, 41: From 315 pounds to 177 pounds

Former weight: 315 pounds

Current weight: 177 pounds

Pounds lost: 138 pounds

Height: 5 feet 10 inches

Age: 41 years

How long he's kept it off: He joined Weight Watchers in June of 2011 and met his goal in June 2012.

Personal life: "I am a high school band director in Gwinnett County. I live with my wife of nine years, Amy, and our two children, ages 6 and 4," he says. Deal and his family live in Lawrenceville.

Turning point: "I entered college at 175 pounds in 1991. By the time I graduated, I was 225 plus," he says. "Some people brag about how much they can drink. I actually bragged about how much food I could eat. Never realizing that I had an addiction problem as bad as any alcoholic, I should have seen the warning signs. I overcame a teenage drug and alcohol addiction back in 1987. I have been clean and sober for over 25 years. I quit cold turkey and never looked back. Food was harder to deal with. I couldn't just stop eating. ... I sustained a serious knee injury in March of 2011 which forced me to celebrate my 40th birthday on a cane. ... I decided that I needed to lose weight in order to help the pain go away...[and] so I could keep up with my children, who were becoming increasingly difficult to catch."

Diet plan: A typical breakfast is eggs with turkey bacon and whole-grain bread with spreadable cheese and fruit. Lunch is a turkey sandwich and fruit. Dinner is chicken or fish with steamed veggies and a sweet potato.

Exercise routine: "Until recently, I have done very little exercise, but in late May I joined [a gym] and since then I have worked with free weights two to three times per week and I do some sort of cardio, mostly bike riding or walking everyday."

Biggest challenge: "The biggest challenge was deciding to start. I had to make up my mind that I was going to fundamentally change the way I ate."

How life has changed: "I am far more active than at any other time in my adult life. I wake up pain-free, including the injured knee," he says. "My students and my own children have watched the journey and transformation over the past year on a daily basis. They didn't really take much notice until some old pictures cropped up...my 5-year-old [who is now 6] would look at the pictures, point and say, 'that's when daddy ate junk.' That made me realize that I was making a difference in his life, too. ... Being on the plan with my wife was the biggest help. We support one another in so many ways. I could not have done this without her."

Editor's note: Next week Amy Deal, Chad's wife, will share her weight-loss journey in Success Stories.

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 Holly Steel, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or email Michelle C. Brooks, ajcsuccessstories@gmail.com.

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