SUCCESS STORY / Jacqueline Poe-Ferguson, 56: From 240 pounds to 198 pounds

In the photo on the left, taken in April 2019, Jacqueline Poe-Ferguson weighed 232 pounds. In the photo on the right, taken in July, she weighed 198 pounds. (Photos contributed by Jacqueline Poe-Ferguson)
In the photo on the left, taken in April 2019, Jacqueline Poe-Ferguson weighed 232 pounds. In the photo on the right, taken in July, she weighed 198 pounds. (Photos contributed by Jacqueline Poe-Ferguson)

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Jacqueline Poe-Ferguson, 56, of Clarkston lost 42 pounds

Former weight: 240 pounds

Current weight: 198 pounds

Pounds lost: 42 pounds

Height: 5 feet 5 inches

Age: 56 years

How long she’s kept it off: She started Sept. 20, 2019, and reached her current weight in April.

Personal life: “I work for the DeKalb County School District and for a domestic violence safe house,” said Poe-Ferguson, who lives in Clarkston. “My supervisor at the safe house always shares the Success Story column with me and encouraged me to submit my story.”

Turning point: “It started off as a joke to win a biggest loser contest. This is when all my school bus driver friends decided that we were going to participate in this contest along with teachers and staff at the school that we drive our buses for. The contest had first and second place,” Poe-Ferguson said. “... We decided that we were going to exercise daily, and a different person (would) take time daily cooking lunch for each other and encouraging each other. ... I remember my first week I didn’t lose or gain, but my co-workers had lost. Then I remembered years ago (that) a nutritionist told me that the only way to lose weight is to eat all day long about every four hours. ... About the third week, I lost 2 pounds and won the big banana that was given weekly to the person who lost the biggest percentage of body fat for the week. That was so exciting to me. I started getting encouragement from the bus drivers, staff and teachers. Then my percentage started to grow. I got back in the gym working out. I ended up winning the challenge.”

Diet plan: She starts with fruit and then eggs and toast with bacon. Lunch is chicken and broccoli, and dinner is chicken and beans.

Exercise routine: “I exercise five days a week.” Before the pandemic she worked out at her local Planet Fitness. Now she works out at home following the Guru of Abs program.

Biggest challenge: “The biggest challenge is to get up every morning and walk two to three miles,” Poe-Ferguson said. “I don’t consider that exercise, I consider that routine.”

How life has changed: “This pandemic allowed me to clean out my closet. I took out eight bags of clothes. I’ve had to start all over buying clothes. I went from a size 24 to a size 16,” Poe-Ferguson said. “... Even though you’re on a journey of changing, reward yourself always, give yourself a reward. A setback is not always a setback — you can always come back. I did have a couple of setbacks, but I still kept pushing forward.”

Share Your Success: Each week, Success Stories focuses on an individual’s unique weight-loss journey. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not endorse any specific weight-loss program but includes names and links for the benefit of readers who want further information. Have you lost weight successfully with a healthy lifestyle change? If you would like to share your story with our readers, please include your email address, phone number, and before and after photos (by mail or JPEG), and contact us at: Success Stories, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or email reporter Michelle C. Brooks at ajcsuccessstories@gmail.com.

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