SUCCESS STORY / Jaci Wright, 36, of McDonough

‘I am really proud of Big Jaci — she was strong enough to start this journey.’

When she started: Jaci Wright started March 28, 2019, and reached her current goal earlier this year.

Age: 36

Personal life: “I have a little boy that they told me I would never have,” Wright said. “I am a stay-at-home mom right now. We live with my partner, his daddy, Collin.” She and her family live in McDonough. She is on Instagram at @agirlsnightmare and GoFundMe at https://gofund.me/10db7dc7.

The lifestyle change: “On March 28, 2019, I walked out of an emergency endocrinologist appointment. I was extremely diabetic. My A1C was 11.3 — after 6.5 you’re considered diabetic. I was pretty much double what you consider diabetic. With insulin in my hand and a change in my heart, I bought a Fitbit a few days later,” Wright said. “Diabetes saved my life, which is really weird to say, but it motivated me when nothing else did. By my one-year celebration, I was down 150 pounds.” Her A1C dropped to 5.3, so she no longer needed insulin and had reversed her diabetes.

Change in eating habits: “When I was diagnosed diabetic, I eliminated junk, cake, candy, but I still ate carbs. I didn’t completely cut sugar out of my diet,” Wright said. “What I learned is that sugar attaches to your blood cells, so you have to starve them and burn them. My goal was to cut out the junk and use my feet.”

Jaci’s how-tos:

1. Go walking: “I think that walking is completely underrated. I didn’t believe that just walking would do anything for me — I have completely walked nearly 300 pounds off my body.”

2. Don’t give up: “The biggest thing for me is I never gave up. It didn’t matter if I plateaued or if the scale told me something I didn’t want to see, I started and I didn’t stop.”

3. Compare and despair: “Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s journey. With social media, you look at people and then feel how badly you want to be where they are but you are your own competition.”

Exercise routine: “To start, I would do 10-minute walks,” Wright said, “and if that meant that I walked six times to hit 4,000 steps in a day, I did it.” As she could do more, she increased in increments of 500 steps and now walks twice daily for a total of 10,000 steps.

Biggest challenge: “Pregnancy — I didn’t have faith that I would get back to where I was,” Wright said. The same efforts that helped her lose it the first time worked again.

Jaci’s top tips:

1. Metabolic rate: “Learn about your metabolic rate. Google the TDEE calculator (https://tdeecalculator.net/) to find a basic starting point for your personal caloric intake.”

2. The scale: “Learn that the scale is only one point of data.”

3. Track your food: “I use the Fitbit app, but there are lots out there, including MyFitnessPal and Lose It!

How her life has changed: “I look back and it’s crazy to think I carried over 400 pounds and barely lived life. Especially when it comes to getting on a plane ... being able to ride rides or even walk,” Wright said. “... I was wearing size 32 jeans, and I’m currently wearing size 12. My rheumatoid arthritis isn’t as awful. ... My A1C was 5.3 the last time. ... No matter how much my mom or friends told me they were worried, it didn’t matter — the decision to change had to come from me.” In October, she has her first round of skin removal surgery scheduled. “It’s really hard to see the hard work I’ve put in, my body is covered with large amounts of excess skin,” Wright said. She has set up a GoFundMe account (https://gofund.me/10db7dc7). “I am really proud of Big Jaci — she was strong enough to start this journey,” she said.


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.