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Posted: 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tory Merritt, 38, of Zebulon, lost 50 pounds


Tory Merritt lost 50 pounds photo
Tory Merritt, 38, of Zebulon, lost 50 pounds.
Tory Merritt, 38, at 160 pounds photo
Tory Merritt, 38, at 160 pounds.
Tory Merritt at 210 pounds photo
Tory Merritt at 210 pounds in 2012.

By Michelle C. Brooks

For the AJC

SUCCESS STORY / Tory Merritt, 38: From 210 pounds to 160 pounds

Former weight: 210 pounds

Current weight: 160 pounds

Pounds lost: 50

Height: 5 feet 9 inches

Age: 38

How long she’s kept it off: She started January 2012 and reached 169 pounds, in October. “I decided to keep losing a little more just for healthier living and have continued to lose,” says Merritt.

Personal life: “I am now working with Weight Watchers to help others,” she says. “I am a single mother with two beautiful girls, Baylynn, 17 and Jerilynn, 12,” she says. “I work for the Georgia Department of Corrections as their Personnel Data Specialist.” She and her family live in Zebulon.

Turning point: “Three days before my 17th birthday, a tornado picked my house up and tossed me and my mom over 200 yards, dropping the house on top of us. My mom was killed and I was left paralyzed from the waist down with no feeling or movement. Twenty years later, and having had two kids, weight was an issue,” she says. “Christmas 2012, I went to Louisiana and Texas to visit family. Of course at the holidays, people have cameras out and [are]snapping photos … I knew I had gotten big, but had no clue I was that big until I saw the pictures. My co-worker had been doing Weight Watchers and I could see she was having great success with it.” She went to a meeting that night.

Diet plan: “I ate and continue to eat whatever I want, I just track my points,” she says. She starts with an egg-white omelet with lots of veggies and light cheese with a glass of milk. Lunch is a tuna sandwich and chips, and dinner is grilled chicken with a side salad and vegetables.

Exercise routine: “I was going to the gym, but didn’t really like it … I’d rather go to the local track,” she says. “I started off slow, sometimes maybe three miles a week. I slowly increased it … finally I am doing 15 to 20 miles a week.”

Biggest challenge: “My biggest challenge was in the beginning,” she says. “My friends and co-workers would have lunch and dinner that I wanted but I knew would take most if not all of my points allowed during the day. I had to learn that I really didn’t need to eat everything they were eating.”

How life has changed: “For so many years, and I didn’t even realize it, my weight kept me back,” she says. “I bought my first bathing suit in over 10 years and went water skiing and tubing …. I don’t cry in the fitting rooms anymore … I’m dating and look forward to what the weekends could offer.” She now avoids drive-through temptation: “If I know I am going to be out and about for long periods, I stick raw veggies in Ziploc bags and a bottle of water in my bag.” Her new healthy lifestyle “has become a way of living for me and my girls.”

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, ajcsuccessstories@gmail.com.

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