SUCCESS STORY / Crystal DeBerry, 40, of Mableton

‘This is a lifestyle, it doesn’t quit, it doesn’t have an end date, it is literally determined by how you live your life day to day.’

When you started: “I am still working toward my goal,” Crystal DeBerry said. “It started with my before photo in 2017.”

Age: 40

Personal life: “I am an auditor for a wholesale company. I also own a business, Natural Wonder Inc.(www.naturalwonderincatl.com),” DeBerry said. “I am a certified sound healing meditation practitioner. I also design copper and crystal jewelry. I live in Mableton.”

The lifestyle change: “I had gained a lot of weight from life. ... That was the initial kickoff,” DeBerry said. “I was the most uncomfortable I had ever been, and I knew something had to change. I wanted to live a longer and healthier life after losing my mother to cancer and going through diabetes with my dad. I decided I needed to get my health in check. I started with the mental work first. I lost 40 pounds and kept that off, but I knew to have long-term sustainable weight loss I needed to think differently. I started working on my mental health, nurturing my relationships and working on my emotions. I had been in therapy for about 10 years — the same approach I had taken to my life I needed to take to my weight loss.”

Change in eating habits: “Last year, I went full vegan,” DeBerry said.

Crystal’s how-tos:

1. “The first step was definitely mental. Understanding that I had to change my thinking in order for me to make the changes I needed to lose weight. We put so much emphasis on losing weight we don’t talk about what it takes to sustain the loss.”

2. “The next step was evaluating my eating. I did notice that I had some eating behaviors that were not so ideal.”

3. “Just moving, period. Whether it’s pacing while you’re on the phone all the way up to having a personal trainer. One of the biggest things that helped me was a rebounding trampoline; I keep it right by the couch, right by the TV.”

Exercise routine: “I currently work out with a personal trainer twice a week. On the days I don’t train with him, I do a lot of the same style of training he puts me through, I just do it at home,” DeBerry said. “I incorporate 30 minutes of cardio, and I do a lot of YouTube videos. YouTube is a wealth of information for exercise.”

Biggest challenge: “The biggest thing is my eating behaviors,” DeBerry said. “... Before, I tended to be an overeater. At times I had some binge eating — that has been the biggest challenge in all of this.”

Crystal’s top tips:

1. Work on your mental health: “Definitely work on your mental health. I’m a true believer that weight is a physical manifestation of mental health. ... I had to look at that and heal that before I could even get to the weight loss.”

2. “Define what clean eating is for you because it looks different for everyone.”

3. “All movement is good movement. I think people tend to beat themselves up because they can’t do as much physically, but all movement counts. We tend to want to start running automatically, but you have to build up to that. We have to crawl before we walk.”

How has your life changed: “I have lost 140 pounds. It has made life physically easier,” DeBerry said. “My life has changed by being able to inspire other people. Weight loss has caused me to see more possibilities in life, and it has given me more faith in myself. Anyone can have the same results I have had, as long as they are willing to put in the work to heal themselves. I think the biggest thing is you have to realize that this is a lifestyle, it doesn’t quit, it doesn’t have an end date, it is literally determined by how you live your life day to day.”


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.