Amy Thomas, 40, of Dacula, lost 134 pounds

Amy Thomas, 40, of Dacula, lost 134 pounds

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 Patty Murphy, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or e-mail Michelle C. Brooks, ajcsuccessstories@gmail.com.

SUCCESS STORY / Amy Thomas, 40: From 301 pounds to 167 pounds

Former weight: 301 pounds

Current weight: 167 pounds

Pounds lost: 134

Height: 5 feet 8 inches

Age: 40

How long she’s kept it off: She started in 2008 and met her goal in 2010.

Personal life: “I am married to my husband, Joe, we’ve been married for 22 years now,” says Thomas. “[We have] a dog named Davey, and a dog named Max, one grown daughter and a granddaughter.” She is an RN in the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite and a CHOA Strong4Life volunteer (www.strong4life.com).

Turning point: “I’ve basically been overweight my entire life: overweight child and an overweight teen,” she says. “My mother passed away when I was 15 and I turned to food to suppress my emotions. It continued into my 20’s. In December of 2008, my husband, daughter and I decided to go on a family trip to St. John’s. When I got on the plane, the seat belt didn’t fit.” Thinking it was medical, she went to her doctor, who found hypothyroidism; but that wasn’t the primary issue. “I soon realized that was not my issue as I was an emotional eater.” She decided to try Quick Weight Loss Centers.

Diet plan: Breakfast is fresh fruit, toast, high-protein yogurt or a hard-boiled egg. Lunch is cottage cheese and raw veggies. She snacks on fruit. Dinner is chicken or fish with vegetables and low-calorie bread.

Exercise routine: “I never was an active child, I was never athletic,” she says. When she reached 200 pounds, she joined a gym and now works out five to six days per week. She especially enjoys the classes. “I had to force myself to commit to it, I didn’t like it.” Now she loves going.

Biggest challenge: “Initially, I found I didn’t understand how I could get up to 300 pounds in what felt like a matter of days but it wouldn’t come off as fast. The [Quick Weight Loss] counselors helped keep me accountable and keep a food diary. It is a daily struggle — this is not a quick fix, it is a lifestyle change.”

How life has changed: “I’m a more outdoorsy person — I’m always on the go where before I was more of a couch potato,” she says. Thomas is now a volunteer with Camp Strong4Life as a camp nurse and a wellness ambassador for the employee Strong4Life program. In February, she was healthy employee of the month. “I have felt very fulfilled in giving back to Strong4Life (www.strong4life.com). With the kids, having been in their shoes I know what they are going through.” Her advice is “setting small goals and not trying to do everything at once … I had tons of people tell me for years you just need to lose a couple of pounds, but you can’t do it for them, you have to do it for you.”

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