SUCCESS STORY / Michael Hearn, 57: From 440 pounds to 235 pounds

In the photo on the left, taken in April 2019, Michael Hearn weighed 440 pounds (Photo contributed by Michael Hearn). In the photo on the right, taken this past May, he weighed 235 pounds. (Photo by Tim Nettleton from TrueSpeedPhoto.com)

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In the photo on the left, taken in April 2019, Michael Hearn weighed 440 pounds (Photo contributed by Michael Hearn). In the photo on the right, taken this past May, he weighed 235 pounds. (Photo by Tim Nettleton from TrueSpeedPhoto.com)

Michael Hearn, 57, of Sandy Springs lost 205 pounds

Former weight: 440 pounds

Current weight: 235 pounds

Pounds lost: 205 pounds

Height: 5 feet 11 inches

Age: 57 years

How long he’s kept it off: He started in April 2019 and reached his goal in November.

Personal life: “I’m an Atlanta native, married for 28 years with two grown kids (Notre Dame and Georgia Tech grads), and one beagle. I graduated from Georgia Tech and completed my MBA at the University of Chicago, where I met my wife,” Hearn said. “I am an IT executive for a global payments and processing company.” He lives in Sandy Springs.

Turning point: “After my 55th birthday in November 2018, I realized that I was running out of time to make a meaningful change in my life,” Hearn said. “For years I had tried a variety of programs but couldn’t achieve long-term success, the statistics on weight-loss success are terrible. After significant research and medical consultation ... I had bariatric surgery (a sleeve gastrectomy) in April 2019.”

Diet plan: He focuses on protein and avoids non-nutritious foods.

Exercise routine: “My obesity made regular exercise almost impossible,” Hearn said. After surgery he was inspired by a documentary on ultramarathons and now walks 5 miles daily. “I’ve never been a runner,” he said, “but I wanted to find some way to add this to my life. ... My eventual goal is to complete a road race in all 50 states.”

Biggest challenge: “I will never reach a day where I can stop doing the right things,” Hearn said. “Bariatric surgery is a temporary strategy to buy you time, but it will not overcome everything.”

How life has changed: “To say it has transformed my life is an understatement,” Hearn said. “I’ve been fortunate to find a path that worked for me, and I also recognize that every day I have to stay engaged in order to preserve this renewed lease on life I’ve been given. ... Like many, I struggled with weight issues for years, never finding the right combination to make it come off and stay off. My body simply resisted every conventional attempt until the bariatric surgery permanently changed the playing field. ... It is awful and lonely to be a morbidly obese person in today’s society. We are constantly being judged by others ... and often frustrated in our efforts to make a meaningful change. ... Find a way to love yourself for who you are, believe that you can change your life and then let nothing get in your way.”


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.