Linda Messing Williams, 55, of Marietta lost 68 pounds

SUCCESS STORY / Linda Messing Williams, 55: From 190 pounds to 122 pounds

Former weight: 190 pounds

Current weight: 122 pounds

Pounds lost: 68 pounds

Height: 5 feet 7 inches

Age: 55

How long she's kept it off: "I have kept it off just over a year now," Williams said.

Personal life: "I work a desk job and have a husband who is a very good cook," said Williams, who lives in Marietta.

Turning point: "I was suffering from achy joints, inflammation and digestive issues. I was also quite sedentary and had no energy. We had professional head shots taken at work, and I had to squeeze into a size 16 jacket," Williams said. "When the pictures came back, I couldn't believe how fat and bloated I looked."

Diet plan: "I first eliminated all gluten from my diet, and the inflammation improved greatly. I then decided to follow the keto way of eating, and the rest of the weight continued to fall off," Williams said. "Breakfast is a post-workout protein waffle or shake. Lunch is typically eggs with protein, and dinner is a big salad with green veggies and protein. I drink a lot of water and I do not snack. I intermittent fast when I can, usually on the weekends."

Exercise routine: "I joined East Cobb Village Fitness almost a year ago," Williams said. "I go every day that I go to work, so typically Monday through Friday. I keep my alarm clock and workout clothes in the bathroom — making it easier to get dressed and leave than hitting snooze — so that when the alarm goes off at 5:15 a.m., I jump into my clothes, brush my teeth and head out. I pack my gym bag the night before, and I shower and get ready for work at the gym. I miss a lot of rush-hour traffic that way, since the gym is halfway between my house and work. I lift weights for about an hour, doing a four-day split and 30 minutes of cardio except on leg days." She says her secret to success is the following motto: "I am glad I slept in and skipped the gym, said no one ever."

Biggest challenge: "Once ketosis kicked in, all cravings for sugar went away. I do still crave salty snacks on occasion, but knowing that those almost always contain gluten is enough to keep me away," Williams said. "I'll have an herbal tea, and that usually quells my cravings."

How life has changed: "I have so much more energy, I feel younger and I can wear all the cute clothes I used to envy on smaller people when I was at my heaviest," Williams said. "Walking out of the gym each day charges me up for whatever challenges will get thrown at me and is such a great stress reliever." Her future plans include continuing her lifestyle change and living, "a long, active and healthy life. … People tell me I motivate them now, and that still amazes me. After all, if I can do it, anyone can."

Share Your Success: Each week, Success Stories focuses on an individual’s unique weight loss journey. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not endorse any specific weight loss program but includes names and links for the benefit of readers who want further information. 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, 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,