SUCCESS STORY / Camila Garwacki, 35, of Smyrna

In the photo on the left, taken in September 2020, Camila Garwacki is shown with her husband, James Garwacki. They also appear in the photo on the right, taken in March, after they began a program with Nancy Masoud, a metabolic specialist. (Photos contributed by Camila Garwacki).

caption arrowCaption
In the photo on the left, taken in September 2020, Camila Garwacki is shown with her husband, James Garwacki. They also appear in the photo on the right, taken in March, after they began a program with Nancy Masoud, a metabolic specialist. (Photos contributed by Camila Garwacki).

‘This journey has truly helped me understand my body much better.’

When she started: She started in January 2021 and reached her goal in November.

Age: 35

Personal life: “I’m originally from Colombia,” Camila Garwacki said, “but I grew up all over the world due to my father’s job. Though I have remained in Atlanta the longest and consider it my home base, I enjoy traveling with my husband and group of friends. We live in Smyrna with our mini-zoo of a pet family and focus much of our energy into our many, many, many endeavors. I work for an awesome corporate restructuring firm.” Garwacki helps her husband with business administration for his occupational therapy practice (https://www.sawdustot.com), and they own rental property, “Our current crown jewel is The Toasted Marshmallow (https://www.instagram.com/thetoastedmarshmallowga), a cabin in Blue Ridge,” she said.

The lifestyle change: “Our neighbor started her LockedIN Wellness (https://www.lockedinwellness.com/) journey at the start of quarantine in 2020,” Garwacki said. “At first, we rolled our eyes when she told us about it, thinking it was just some fad diet.” But because they saw her daily, Garwacki said, “we knew her remarkable results were genuine.”

“Stress can wreak all sorts of havoc on your body, and our lives are nothing short of chaotic,” Garwacki said. “I realized that my body was all sorts of out of whack and that my body no longer felt like my own anymore.” At the end of 2020, she and her husband decided to give the program a try and met with Nancy Masoud, a metabolic specialist.

Change in eating habits: She was tested for food intolerances. “Some of my food sensitivities made absolute sense, whereas others came as a bit of a surprise,” Garwacki said. “Getting in the habit of constantly eating measured proportions wasn’t easy, but I was lucky to be working from home. I’m the type of person that gets engrossed in work and forgets to eat lunch, so having to pause in order to grab a snack or eat my lunch was surprisingly therapeutic.”

Camila’s steps to change:

  • Make new habits: “I made a habit of going on daily walks around my neighborhood while listening to podcasts or audiobooks, and it’s one of my favorite things to do.”
  • Finding the fit: “It took a while, but we eventually tried all the different dairy and gluten alternatives in order to find which dupes we liked best — food should never feel like a chore.”

Exercise routine: “At first, I worked out four to five days a week with my husband, since I was working from home,” Garwacki said. “Apparently, my body’s not a fan of overly doing it at the gym, and I was actually gaining fat in the process because my body thought I was starving or something like that.” When she focused instead on walking, “I thought it was a little ridiculous, but like magic, the pounds started melting away.”

Biggest challenge: “In May of last year, my husband and I were flipping/remodeling a home, and I injured my foot while working on tile. I just thought I had bruised or stretched something in my foot, but the pain remained,” Garwacki said. “Eventually, I found out that I had a hairline fracture on the ball of my foot, so my exercise/walking routine had to come to a halt. This also prolonged my journey, but I eventually reached my goal weight.”

Camila’s strategies & tips:

1. Pre-prepping proteins in vacuum-sealed bags.

2. Find alternatives that you enjoy when removing foods such as gluten or dairy.

3. It’s OK to slip or treat yourself once in a while. “Especially when you have a long journey to your goal. Food should never be considered bad or taboo,” Garwacki said. “Just be conscious with your cheats — make sure they are worth it.” She suggests savoring cheat treats, such as a gourmet candied bacon-topped, maple-glazed doughnut instead of prepackaged powdered ones.

How has her life changed: “Knowing which foods to steer clear of has helped me completely eliminate the seemingly permanent heartburn I used to experience on a daily basis,” Garwacki said. “Aside from the obvious 30-pound loss, this journey has truly helped me understand my body much better.”


Seeking readers’ stories of lifestyle changes: We’re looking for stories about changing health habits. While The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not endorse any specific programs, we include names and links for the benefit of readers who want further information. If you would like to share your story of a lifestyle change, please contact reporter Michelle C. Brooks and include your email address, phone number, and before and after photos (by mail or JPEG). You can email her directly at: ajcsuccessstories@gmail.com.