Lauren Bradley, 32, of Marietta lost 37 pounds

In the photo on the left, taken in June 2017, Lauren Bradley is shown with her son Jacob, then 1 week old. She weighed 200 pounds at the time. In the photo on the right, taken in March, she’s again holding Jacob, when he was 7 months old. Her weight was 163 pounds. (Photos contributed by VI Photography, https://victoriainman.com/ and Lauren Bradley).
Caption
In the photo on the left, taken in June 2017, Lauren Bradley is shown with her son Jacob, then 1 week old. She weighed 200 pounds at the time. In the photo on the right, taken in March, she’s again holding Jacob, when he was 7 months old. Her weight was 163 pounds. (Photos contributed by VI Photography, https://victoriainman.com/ and Lauren Bradley).

SUCCESS STORY / Lauren Bradley, 32: From 200 pounds to 163 pounds

Former weight: 200 pounds

Current weight: 163 pounds

Pounds lost: 37 pounds

Height: 5 feet 4 inches

Age: 32 years

How long she's kept it off: "I started in August of 2017 with Sparkle a New You and wellness coach Jacynta Harb, and reached my current weight on March 1," Bradley said.

Personal life: "I live in Marietta with my husband and two boys. I've been married for eight years to Tom, and we have a 2-year-old, Daniel, a 9-month-old, Jacob, and one on the way, due in October," Bradley said. "I am a high school math teacher at Johnson Ferry Christian Academy."

Turning point: "I have been pregnant for a long time," Bradley said. "I got pregnant in 2014 with my first and gained 80 pounds. I had him in 2015, and I hadn't lost all the weight before I got pregnant again in 2016. I had him in 2017, and I had gained 60 pounds. I have counted calories before and lost weight, but I have had a hard time sticking to just counting calories. I enjoyed running before having kids, but it has been a challenge to find time for exercise and good meals since having them. Being pregnant made me feel hopeless to lose weight and exercise. … I am a math teacher, so counting calories was logical. … You can count calories and eat fries every day as long as you stay under 1,200 — right? This is obviously not healthy. Jacynta talks more about the mind-set behind it all."

Diet plan: Breakfast is yogurt or overnight oats. Lunch is a salad or wrap; dinner is chicken with veggies.

Exercise routine: "I did not exercise much after having kids," Bradley said. "We joined the gym, so now I take them with me and I go three times a week. I do strength training and cardio."

Biggest challenge: "My biggest challenge is trying to cut out more and more processed foods," Bradley said. "I am learning a new way of cooking and trying to eat out less. It takes a lot of time, but it is worth it. I still have to give myself grace and not let a meal or a day make me give up altogether. The nights are also a challenge for me. I try to go to sleep earlier to avoid late-night snacking."

How life has changed: "I don't eat pancakes and doughnuts on Saturday mornings anymore. … My family is on board, and we are all trying new things and eating at home around the table more often — it is a fun time together," she said. "I also have about a million times more confidence than I had before. I finally feel beautiful. … Your mind-set is the most important part of this. Once you know you are in control of your actions and your attitude and you stop making excuses, mine being having kids and being too busy, you can make the decisions to get you to the vision you want in your head."


Share Your Success: Have you lost weight successfully with a healthy lifestyle change? If you would like to share your story with our readers, please include your email address, a daytime phone number, and before and after photos (by mail or JPEG), and contact us at: Success Stories, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or email Michelle C. Brooks, ajcsuccessstories@gmail.com.