In the photo on the left, taken in December 2018, Dana Lee Peterson weighed 200 pounds. In the photo on the right, taken in March, she weighed 153 pounds. (Photos contributed by Dana Lee Peterson)

Dana Lee Peterson, 61, of Marietta lost 47 pounds

SUCCESS STORY / Dana Lee Peterson, 61: From 200 pounds to 153 pounds

Former weight: 200 pounds

Current weight: 153 pounds

Pounds lost: 47 pounds

Height: 5 feet 4 inches

Age: 61 years

How long she’s kept it off: She started in January 2019 and reached her current weight in March.

Personal life: “I have lived with my husband and our youngest son in Marietta since 1997,” Peterson said. “We have three grown children and four grandchildren, and we have been foster parents for almost 10 years. We have fostered, done respite and provided temporary placement for emergency intake for over 130-plus children ranging from newborns to age 18. I am currently the secretary of the Cobb County Foster Adoptive Parent Association board. I am an employee benefits account manager for GIS Benefits.”

Turning point: “I was an emotional eater who developed Type II diabetes after years of going up and down on the scales … and never being able to keep it off,” Peterson said. “… I found out in late January 2019 my A1C had rocketed up to 10.1 and my weight was 200 pounds, and I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, this can’t be, I have to do something!’ We had just finalized our adoption for our 7-year-old in October 2019, so when I went to that doctor’s appointment in January, and I heard that news about how poor my health was, I realized I needed to pull myself up and get it together. I wanted to be here to see my grandchildren and son grow up. I owed it to all of them, but most of all — to me — to be all in with a healthy me. I joined a Sparkle a New You wellness class. To have a community … has been huge for me.”

Diet plan: Breakfast is a protein shake or hard-boiled eggs, a muffin and fruit. Lunch is a salad. Dinner is lean meat and vegetables.

Exercise routine: “I walk at least once a day,” she said. “I have not yet incorporated strength training into my routine, but that will be next.”

Biggest challenge: “It’s very hard to decide you want to do this when your family is not excited about healthy eating. … But I was pretty determined that this was a now-or-never decision,” Peterson said.

How life has changed: “I feel so much better. As of Valentine’s Day, I no longer take any insulin — no more jabbing myself five times a day,” Peterson said. “I still test once a day just to be sure I am on the right track and probably always will. I was thrilled when my doctor told me I would be able to stop. … My last A1C was under six, and that was so exciting for me. Every week, I look forward to my Sparkle a New You class. Now (with COVID-19), we are on Facebook Live or Zoom, so we can continue to support each other so the stress level is not something that causes us emotionally to get out of control.”

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