Kim Ryan, 54, of Marietta lost 17 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, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or e-mail Michelle C. Brooks,

Success story

Kim Ryan, 54: From 152 pounds to 135 pounds

Former weight: 152 pounds

Current weight: 135 pounds

Pounds lost: 17 pounds

Height: 5 feet, 6 inches

Age: 54

How long she's kept it off: Started in January 2015 and reached her current weight in December 2015.

Personal life: "I live in Marietta with my husband of 29 years, two teenage daughters and a Scottish terrier," Ryan said. "I'm currently a stay-at-home mom, formerly an interior designer."

Turning point: "I read a blog at the beginning of 2015 by an author named Jen Lancaster. She talked about her own weight-loss struggles. The words, 'If not now, then when?' stayed with me. I knew wellness coach Jacynta Harb ( was starting a Sparkle class and decided it was time."

Diet plan: "I eat regular food. At the beginning, I was solely focused on calories and weight loss. Over time, and with Jacynta's coaching, I have learned how important it is to eat healthy. I limit white flour, sugar and alcohol. I try to eat two fruits and three vegetables a day and, of course, drink lots of water." Breakfast is usually oatmeal with fruit or a green smoothie. Lunch is a Larabar fruit and nut bar or a sweet potato. Dinner is protein with a vegetable and a salad. "I brush my teeth after dinner to limit evening snacking."

Exercise routine: "I walk almost every day. If it is raining, or too cold, I head to an indoor track. I have a Fit-bit and average 12,000 steps a day. I did my first 10K in June."

Biggest challenge: "My biggest challenge is staying motivated when I hit a plateau that lasts for months," she said. "My word of the year for 2015 was perseverance. I tell myself this is a forever lifestyle change."

How life has changed: "I have more confidence. I wake up and think, 'When can I exercise today?' My daughter says my taste in clothes has changed for the better. My family has also changed their eating habits and I am very proud to be setting a good example for them. I wanted to lose weight; I got the bonus of changing my lifestyle. I still want to lose a few more pounds, and then the hard work of maintaining starts. I will continue to attend Sparkle classes for support with maintenance." Her tips for others include: "Join a health and wellness class. Don't go it alone. Challenge yourself — you'll be surprised at what you can do."