Dee Zichowic of Canton loses 85 pounds

Current weight: 163 pounds

Pounds lost: 85

Height: 5 feet 9 inches

Age: 57

How long she’s kept it off: She started on Jan. 1, 2010, and is still working toward her goal. “I figure when I get there, I’ll know it’s where I should be,” says Zichowic. “I’d like to get in the 150s, but I think my body is saying this is where I belong, in the 160s.”

Personal life: “I retired from the city of Palo Alto, Calif., ... and am now working as a Clinique consultant, which I love,” she said. She and her husband live in Canton.

Turning point: “On a visit to the doctor, I was told I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and was pre-diabetic. It scared me. I decided on the doc’s table that I was going to change my life right then,” she said. "Naturally, I decided my husband would join me in my quest for a healthier body ... we went to Golden Corral for our last meal and ate everything we could hold."

Diet plan: “We started with South Beach and stayed faithful to the program for the first month. Then we started a Christian diet class at Antioch Christian Church. After that first month, we started using God and South Beach.”

A typical day starts with a bowl of bran cereal with fresh blueberries, a midmorning snack of a few almonds or Skinny Cow cheese with celery. Lunch is usually leftovers or a sandwich. Midafternoon, she reaches for hummus with chips. Dinner is veggies, lean meat, salad, with a baked sweet potato or sweet potato fries followed by angel food cake and berries.

Exercise routine: She walks at work and occasionally joins her husband to walk their dog.

Biggest challenge: “So far, the biggest challenge is not buying too many clothes that will fit each size we’ve been,” she said.

How life has changed: “I am now a Clinique consultant, which I’m sure would never have happened before I Iost all the excess weight,” she said. “Larry and I both have experienced less pain from arthritis and now have much greater stamina -- we have learned how to make healthier choices.”

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 e-mail 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.

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