SUCCESS STORY: Where are they now? / Lauren Bradley, 36, of Marietta

Lauren Bradley's previous "before" photo (left) was taken in June 2017 with her 1-week-old son, Jacob. Her previous "after" photo (center) was taken in March 2018, also with Jacob. The photo on the right was taken this June of Bradley, 36. (Courtesy of VI Photography, victoriainman.com, and Lauren Bradley)

Combined ShapeCaption
Lauren Bradley's previous "before" photo (left) was taken in June 2017 with her 1-week-old son, Jacob. Her previous "after" photo (center) was taken in March 2018, also with Jacob. The photo on the right was taken this June of Bradley, 36. (Courtesy of VI Photography, victoriainman.com, and Lauren Bradley)

‘I was making tiny changes and I didn’t even realize how much my mind was changing most of all.’

Editor’s note: Lauren Bradley was originally featured in Success Story in May 2018, and we recently followed up with her.

When she started: “I started in August 2017. I got pregnant and reached my goal in June of 2019, got pregnant again and reached my goal again in September of 2020,” said Bradley.

Age: 36 years

Personal life: “I have been married to my husband, Tom, for 12 years and we have two boys and two girls aged 2 through 7. I am a stay-at-home mom, but I also teach high school math two days a week at a university-modeled private school.” She lives in Marietta.

The lifestyle change: “I have had two more children since I was featured and lost 20 more pounds. I have been in Sparkle Wellness (sparkleanewyou.com) since 2017. I never stopped when I got pregnant. Once I had a vision in my mind of the kind of person, wife and mom I wanted to be, it propelled my discipline. ... I wanted to be a fun mom and wife that wasn’t scared to get in the pool with her kids, go on adventures to national parks and keep up. ... I have learned so much about food, mindset, exercise, and more. ... I didn’t overhaul my life, I took in a little information a week and made small changes.”

Change in eating habits: “Now I focus on eating whole foods, one-ingredient foods like vegetables and protein. ... I rarely go down the aisles in the grocery store anymore. I’m always in the perimeter where the real food is.”

Lauren’s how-tos:

1. “I joined Sparkle Wellness.”

2. “Track my food so I could be aware of what I was putting in my body, no matter how ugly.”

3. “Consistently working out.”

Exercise routine: “I work out five days a week — I strength train. That has been a game-changer for me. I had lost a lot of weight, but the strength training really changed my body composition, so I weighed close to the same, but more muscle always looks better.”

Biggest challenge: “It has been challenging to stay in maintenance. I am no longer in weight loss mode, so I need to keep different kinds of goals, and make sure I have a good balance and having joy and keeping disciplined. Another challenge is not getting overwhelmed and just stopping — I had to get rid of the all-or-nothing mentality.”

Lauren’s top tips:

1. Do it with others. “Have a success team around you. I have my family, my husband especially, who is completely on board and encouraging. I also have my Sparkle group, who is the most encouraging group of women ever, and a great coach. These people have been through life with me; it’s not just about food.”

2. It’s mental. “Once you can conquer what’s going on in your mind, the rest will flow. I alone cannot control my negative thoughts or attitude, but I pray to God and he overcomes them. I also read the Bible everyday.”

3. Don’t make it overwhelming. “Do the next right thing that you need to do. If there was ever something that seemed overwhelming, I’d try to step back and figure out how to make it manageable.”

How has her life changed: “Life has changed tremendously. I am confident, I feel good, and I know I can do hard things. When I get nervous, I get excited because I know I can conquer whatever it is … even if I don’t do it the first time. I know it’s OK to fail. ... Through my journey, I was making tiny changes and I didn’t even realize how much my mind was changing most of all. My husband has always been so supportive, never complaining about what we’re eating, helping me find ways to work out, and telling me to go. ... It’s so much better together. We’re thankful to be able to lean on each other and show our kids how to fuel their bodies.”


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.