Mandy Volpe, 26, of Suwanee, lost 83 pounds

SUCCESS STORY / Mandy Volpe, 26: From 231 pounds to 148 pounds

Former weight: 231 pounds

Current weight: 148 pounds

Pounds lost: 83 pounds

Height: 5 feet 6 inches

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Age: 26 years

How long she’s kept it off: She started June 2013 and reached her current weight last month.

Personal life: “I work for Unique Venues,” says Volpe, a marketing manager. “I am married to my wonderful husband, and biggest cheerleader, Conner Volpe. We will celebrate three years of marriage in August with our furry baby, Brinkley, a beagle-basset mix.”

Turning point: “Well, honestly, it was disgust — I was fed up with how I felt and looked,” she says. “Maybe it was a mixture of books I had been reading, a steering from God that I knew was brewing, or hatred for what I had allowed my body to become.” Two days later, Conner joined her. “I will tell you that 365 days of commitment wouldn’t have lasted this long without his support, encouragement and our commitment to each other.”

Diet plan: “I track everything I eat in My Fitness Pal. This means nothing is off limits, however every food ‘costs’ something,” she says. “So sure, I can have a cupcake, but it may mean I have only a salad for lunch.” Breakfast is egg whites, fruit or oatmeal with fruit. She snacks on Luna bars. Lunch is leftovers or a chicken sandwich. Dinner is something savory such as turkey chili or chicken tacos. “Incorporating more fruits and vegetables was the biggest change.”

Exercise routine: “We began by working out every day for at least 20 minutes. I wanted to make it a routine and something I enjoyed,” she says. “While I still work out seven days a week, some days are active rest days. I currently get between 35 to 50 minutes of exercise a day, but on rest days it may just be a 20-minute walk with my dog.”

Biggest challenge: “There were times when I plateaued and would get down on myself that I wasn’t losing weight as quickly as my husband,” she says, “but I had to be reminded time and again that small changes over time add up and that guys lose weight differently than women. One of the biggest plateaus made me realize … I needed to add in some weights to really lose more pounds.”

How life has changed: “Our date nights are no longer going out for pizza… we now enjoy doing activities such as a swimming or hiking,” she says. “When getting started, I had rewards in place. The goal was to work out three times a week, but if I worked out five, then I got a prize … (which) included a pedicure, new book, new fitness class, or a new shirt … Knowing that my body is a temple, 1 Corinthians 6:19, really drove in the fact that this wasn’t going to be a quick fix — it was truly going to be a lifestyle change.”

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