Former weight: 313 pounds
Current weight: 193 pounds
Total pounds lost: 120
Height: 5 feet 7 inches
Former weight: 370 pounds
Current weight: 215 pounds
Total pounds lost: 155
Height: 5 feet 11 inches
How long they’ve kept it off: They both started in May 2009 and continue to work toward goal.
Personal life: Mike is a senior software engineer for the Atlanta-based nonprofit Open Hand. Lesley is a library associate with the Coweta Public Library System. They live in Sharpsburg with their cat, Jack.
Turning point: “Several of my friends had begun the effort to lose weight and exercise,” said Lesley, “something I had known I needed to do.”
“I had reached the point in my life where I needed to do something to get healthy,” said Mike. “I did not want weight-loss surgery.”
When a friend had success with Weight Watchers, the couple decided to join.
Diet plan: Breakfast is typically whole-grain cereal, berries and Greek yogurt. A salad, sandwich or frozen meal for lunch, and chicken or seafood with lots of veggies for dinner.
Exercise routine: “I completed my first half marathon, two triathlons and the Peachtree Road Race this year," said Lesley. "I bike, run and swim each a couple of times a week and strength train as well.”
“I try to exercise as much as I can,” said Mike. He runs, bikes or does weight training six days per week.
Biggest challenge: “I used to look to food as an emotional outlet,” said Lesley, “so retraining my mind to look to other things to fill those needs was a big challenge.”
Mike said, “Realizing that this was a journey and a lifestyle change and it wasn’t something I was going to do overnight.”
How life has changed: “I’m doing more physical activities than I’ve ever done before,” said Mike. ”My weight is no longer holding me back from anything.”
“For most of my life,” said Lesley, “I’ve had this one identity: the fat girl, the uncoordinated one who was never good at sports and was always picked last for any teams ... I have achieved what I never thought I could do -- I am an athlete.”
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 email@example.com.
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