Michelle Cox, 56, of Fairburn lost 26 pounds

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SUCCESS STORY / Michelle Cox, 56: From 165 pounds to 139 pounds

Former weight: 165 pounds

Current weight: 139 pounds

Pounds lost: 26 pounds

Height: 5 feet 5 inches

Age: 56 years

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

Personal life: "I have an in-home business. I work from home," Cox says. She's married and lives in Fairburn.

Turning point: "I tried a lot of other eating plans, South Beach, Atkins, Weight Watchers, the cabbage soup diet. Then my hormones (were) out of whack because I'm going through menopause. When you are going through menopause, you can do all the right things and your weight won't move … I was always watching my calorie intake, but it was like I was stuck — the weight wouldn't come off. … I was looking for someone that utilizes weight-loss and hormone replacement therapy in a natural way. I wanted to do the bioidentical hormones and that is what led me to (metabolic specialist and weight-loss counselor) Nancy Masoud (www.realhealthmedical.com)."

Diet plan: "My diet plan is high-protein, low-carb and no sugar … I also did homeopathic drops … that is what Nancy, my weight-loss coach, put me on, plus I was on the hormone replacement therapy." Breakfast is egg whites and fruit. Lunch is a salad with protein, and dinner is fish with vegetables. For sugar cravings, she adds stevia and vanilla to plain yogurt.

Exercise routine: "I do like walking. The park I go to, they have resistance machines there. I would work out on the resistance machines for the upper body and the lower body after I walk — that helped me a whole lot."

Biggest challenge: "I had no problem getting started because I was motivated and really wanted to do this. When I did get started, I got discouraged because the weight didn't come off quick enough … I would call Nancy and vent. … If it were not for Nancy, I would have eaten cake." Her faith helped, too. "I am just a praying person — when I get up in the morning, I start praying."

How life has changed: "I feel better. I just feel like now I can do so much more, I can reach so many more goals that I have." She says there's power in belief. "Never give up. You can do whatever you put your mind to do. If you said this is something you want to do for 2016, you can do it. There's going to be some challenges, it won't be easy, my journey wasn't easy. … Whatever you think you are, if you think you can do it, you can do it — there is power in words."