Success story: Michael Andrew Reynolds, 29: From 380 pounds to 180

How long he’s kept it off: Eight months. “I started my weight loss journey on August 7, 2010, and reached my goal on July 29, 2011,” says Reynolds.

Personal life: “I am married to Darien Reynolds. We have a daughter Amaya Reynolds," says Reynolds, who lives in Fairburn. “I am a special education teacher that works at Therrell High School with Atlanta Public Schools.” He is also working on a Ph.D. in educational leadership and administrative policy.

Turning point: “I went to a good friend’s wedding and looked at pictures the next day and could not recognize myself,” he says of his before photo. “I was disappointed with myself for allowing this to happen. ... I drove to the nearest track and started walking. ... I set a goal to lose 200 pounds in one year.”

Diet plan: “I was very impressed with Jared Fogel’s weight loss story by only eating Subway. ... I decided that I would eat Wendy’s 15 work days out of the month; the other five work days, I would only eat raw fruits, veggies and water,” he says. Breakfast is yogurt, lunch is a Wendy’s chicken sandwich with no condiments and water. Dinner is a plate full of veggies and lean meat every other night.

Exercise routine: “I made an effort and a vow to go to the closest track near my home everyday,” he says. He started just walking and gradually increased his intensity. Now he’s able to jog 16 laps (four miles).

Biggest challenge: "My biggest challenge was changing my eating habits. I love to eat and cutting most things out of my diet was hard but necessary," he says.

How life has changed: “Life is different. I can buy nicer clothes. ... My relationship has changed as well. ... If a huge guy like me can accomplish such a daunting challenge, anything can be done with hard work and determination,” he says. On Monday, Reynolds appeared on the Joy Fit Club segment of the Today show:

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

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