In the photo on the left, taken in 2015, Gina Gross weighed 340 pounds. In the photo on the right, taken in February, she weighed 260 pounds. (All photos contributed by Gina Gross)

Gina Gross, 58, of Newnan lost 81 pounds

SUCCESS STORY / Gina Gross, 58: From 340 pounds to 259 pounds

Former weight: 340 pounds

Current weight: 259 pounds

Pounds lost: 81 pounds

Height: 5 feet 10 inches

Age: 58 years

How long she’s kept it off: She started in March 2017 and reached her current weight in February. “I am still on the weight-loss journey,” Gross said.

Personal life: “My husband, Rick, is my best friend. He is a husband who never ever made me feel fat, but the minute that I knew I had to do this, he has been my biggest supporter,” said Gross, who is retired. “We have a dog Maggie Grace, a yellow Labrador. We live in Newnan.”

Turning point: “I was an emergency room nurse for 29 years,” Gross said. “You are working late, getting off late. … A lot of times you go 12 hours without a break. You don’t eat right. At the end of your shift, you are physically and mentally tired — you are drained and you don’t feel like going to the gym. … I had really bad feet and knees. On my days off, I was hurting so bad I didn’t want to work out. … You are dealing with life and death every day, but I loved my job — that is why I did it for so long.” When she could hardly walk, it was time to retire. “It’s that ah ha moment,” Gross said. She and her husband joined Summit Family YMCA in Newnan, where she signed up for the Coach Approach and Weight Loss for Life, a class offering support for long-term lifestyle changes and, she said, “it teaches weight-loss regulation skills.”

Diet plan: “When I was beginning to learn how to eat better, that was very hard for me,” Gross said. For two months, she ordered Good Measure Meals (www.goodmeasuremeals.com) for dinner. “It taught me healthier eating and taught me how to do vegetable sides,” Gross said. “… Now, I watch my portions. … If I have a high-calorie day, the next day I exercise harder.”

Exercise routine: She exercises seven days per week. “I walk every day one mile with my dog. In addition to that, Monday through Thursday I am at the gym. We go in the mornings, and I usually do 30 minutes on the elliptical. … I do weights every other day. Every day I do water aerobics; on Thursdays I do two hours of water aerobics. Then this summer,” she said, “I took up golf.”

Biggest challenge: “Mine is dealing with the pain in the knees and feet … that would be my biggest, my knees and my feet are not the best,” Gross said.

How life has changed: “I feel better about myself. I can do things with my husband that I never used to be able to do. My husband always wanted to go to the North Georgia mountains. This spring we went to Amicalola Falls and we hiked. … He never chastised me that I couldn’t, but I can see he is happy that now I can,” she said. “… Success is that moment I made up my mind — it is life and death for me.”

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