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Julie Markwood, 67, of Stone Mountain lost 70 pounds

SUCCESS STORY / Julie Markwood, 67: From 215 pounds to 145 pounds

Former weight: 215 pounds

Current weight: 145 pounds

Pounds lost: 70 pounds

Height: 5 feet 5 inches

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Age: 67

How long she’s kept it off: “I reached this within the last six months,” Markwood said. “I have been maintaining and losing small amounts for seven years.”

Personal life: “I am married; my husband is a retired schoolteacher. We have two grown kids and two grandchildren,” Markwood said. “I am still working; I am a software developer.”

Turning point: “I have struggled with my weight my entire life,” Markwood said. “In elementary and high school, I truly was one who was teased about weight.” She tried many diets through the years, “but I never went the extra mile needed to maintain the weight loss. This journey started in December 2010, when I was diagnosed with diverticulitis and spent two weeklong stays in the hospital with no food or drink each week. I quickly dropped around 20 pounds the early part of 2011. I then had colon surgery in 2011 and decided that is when I wanted to continue the downward trend. After my surgery, my daughter and I decided to run a half-marathon. I was 60 that year.” From triathlons to 15Ks, 10Ks and 5Ks, she ran until her knees couldn’t. “I no longer can run. I had knee replacement surgery,” Markwood said. “Now I am an avid walker.”

Diet plan: Breakfast is 12-grain bread with peanut butter. Then three servings of fruit and yogurt all day. Dinner is protein and vegetables. “I have loosely followed Weight Watchers, not attending meetings, but counting points and being smart about what I eat,” Markwood said. “… I have learned over the last eight years what I can eat and how much exercise to maintain. I think doing it on my own made be more aware of what I needed.”

Exercise routine: “Walking three to five miles daily, or as often as I can,” Markwood said. “Or I bike, swim or take a spin on my spin bike.”

Biggest challenge: “I have learned what I call swapping is a good way for me to eat,” Markwood said. “If I want ice cream, I will eat that but give up something else that day. … When I want something sweet, I get an inexpensive ice cream cone and fill it with whipped cream. It satisfies my sweet craving and gives me crunch.”

How life has changed: “I know people always say this is a marathon and not a sprint, but that is true,” Markwood said. “I did not gain weight overnight, and I did not lose my weight overnight. I had to lose the weight for myself and no one else. While I am healthier, and certainly feel better, when I was heavy, I never saw heavy in the mirror. Now that I am thinner, I see the exact same image as I saw 70 pounds ago. The way I can really tell is to look at before and after pictures to see the real transformation.”

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