Mary Ellen Wilson, 79, of Marietta lost 35 pounds

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Mary Ellen Wilson, 79, of Marietta lost 35 pounds

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Contributed by Mary Ellen Wilson
Mary Ellen Wilson after photo.  Weight in photo: 143 pounds; age in photo: 78 years; when photo was taken: January 2017.

Success Story

Mary Ellen Wilson, 79: From 180 pounds to 145 pounds

Former weight: 180 pounds

Current weight: 145 pounds

Pounds lost: 35 pounds

Height: 5 feet 6 inches

Age: 79 years

How long she’s kept it off: Started June 2016 and reached her current weight in October 2016.

Personal life: “I am a retired school teacher,” says Wilson. “I do a lot of volunteer work at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. I live in Marietta. I have two grandchildren in the area.”

Turning point: “I knew I needed to do something because I tried to do diet and lose weight myself, and it wasn’t working. I just loved food, and I always want to eat. … I ate whatever I wanted, when I wanted. I knew I couldn’t do that. … I wanted to learn how to eat right. I wanted to lose weight so my clothes would fit better, so I would look better and be healthier — I couldn’t do it on my own.” She took classes from wellness coach, Jacynta Harb. “A lot of people ask me, ‘How did you do this ?’ and I tell them Jacynta’s program … Very motivational.”

Mary Ellen Wilson before photo. Weight in photo: 180 pounds; age in photo: 77 years; when photo was taken: September 2015. Contributed by Mary Ellen Wilson

Diet plan:MyFitnessPal app — that was what did it for me. Well, I happen to be a person who thought it was fun to put my calories in there.” For Wilson, breakfast is either cereal, oatmeal, half an English muffin or yogurt. Lunch is a sandwich round with chicken. Dinner is chicken again and vegetables. “My grocery bill went down a lot because now I mostly eat vegetables. That was another positive.”

Exercise routine: “I used to be a PE teacher, you’d think I’d be doing all this stuff. I went from not doing anything and sitting on the couch (I hated walking) to … two exercise classes at church,” she said. “I am still doing the exercise class for seniors, stretching, balance and cardio. After I started doing that, some of the aches and pains I’ve had disappeared. My big motto — you don’t use, it you lose it. I didn’t want to shuffle along like an old person and be all hunched over like an old person … I want to travel and do things.”

Biggest challenge: “Planning and having the right things to eat. The planning is hard; I don’t do too well at that … You have to keep your goals in mind.”

How life has changed: “I am finding that I kind of like walking now. My body doesn’t ache like it used to. Now, it’s like I want to go do it. Habits can change. I feel like I am more outgoing… I feel physically better; emotionally I feel better. I just feel good…I feel like life is fun… I had to get rid of all of my clothes. That killed me — I went down two sizes in the pants and one size in the tops … You can do it if you have the desire.”

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,

Weight loss tips from our 'Weightloss Success Stories' through the year. ELISSA BENZIE/ EEUBANKS@AJC.COM

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