Chelley Young, 41, of Oconee Co. lost 72 pounds

Current weight: 158 pounds

Pounds lost: 72 pounds

Height: 5 feet 7 inches

Age: 41

How long she’s kept it off: “I joined Weight Watchers on January 7, 2011 and reached lifetime status on December 23, 2011 and have been on maintenance ever since,” says Young.

Personal life: “I have been married for twenty years this November, and have two teenage children," she says. She works as an account executive for Apparel Manufacturing, and she and her family live in Oconee County, Ga.

Turning point: “In December of 2010, I thought I had experienced a heart attack. After numerous tests on every organ in my body … the only thing wrong with me was I was obese,” she says. “I had tried other methods of weight loss, but was against trying the Weight Watchers plan because I simply couldn’t get my head around the fact that you had to account for every bite you took. With the encouragement of my husband, and a Jennifer Hudson commercial, I joined in January 2011.”

Diet plan: Her day starts with a fruit smoothie or Greek yogurt. Lunch is a sub sandwich, and dinner is grilled chicken or fish and vegetables.

Exercise routine: “I try to exercise at least three to four times a week,” she says. “Once I hit my goal weight, I had to set a new goal, which was to run a 5K. So I began training on my treadmill with a mix of jogging, inclines and fast walking." She's about to start training for her fourth Susan G. Komen 3-day.

Biggest challenge: “The week I joined Weight Watchers, there was a huge snow and ice storm that hit Georgia that kept most of us in our house for a full week. That was the best thing that could have happened to me. I spent that week learning the points value of the foods in my house, researching recipes ... It helped me focus and get on task."

How life has changed: “I feel better than I have in years. I have more energy than I have had in 20 years,” she says. “I can walk into most any store and buy clothes off the rack. Bathing suit shopping was fun this year … most importantly, I feel healthier now than ever and know that I have added years to my life.”

Be an inspiration: If you've made positive changes in your diet and/or fitness routine and are happy with the results, please share your success with us. Include your email address, a daytime phone number and before and after photos (by mail or JPEG). Write: Success Stories, c/o Holly Steel, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or e-mail ajcsuccessstories@gmail.com.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.