Mike Spencer lost 45 pounds

Success story

Mike Spencer, 57: From 225 pounds to 180 pounds

Former weight: 225 pounds

Current weight: 180 pounds

Pounds lost: 45 pounds

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Height: 6 feet 1 inch

Age: 57 years

How long he’s kept it off: He began in January 2007 and reached his current weight in fall 2016.

Personal life: “Live in Cumming, Ga. Born and raised in Atlanta. Active with the Atlanta Track Club.… Married with a son and daughter who are active in sports, and a dog who has to join me on my runs. I am a software consultant for BMC Software.”

Mike Spencer weighed 220 pounds when this photo was taken in October 2005. CONTRIBUTED BY MIKE SPENCER (For the AJC)

Turning point: “The turning point was a heart attack in January of 2007. I had a 100 percent blocked artery, which required a stent. My cardiologist said I needed to get more exercise and change my diet. Definitely a wake-up call. … Before you can leave the hospital, you have to meet with a dietitian. She explained portion control and the types of foods to stay away from — I’ve taken those words of wisdom to heart.”

Diet plan: “I’ve been very fortunate to have a great group of friends and family who have supported me … I don’t really worry about going to get-togethers.” Breakfast is a whole-grain muffin, fruit and juice. Lunch is a turkey sandwich. Dinner is chicken, fish, or pasta with veggies.

Exercise routine: “After my cardiologist explained cholesterol, and the heart muscle along with weight and how exercise plays a large part in the overall health of those three things, I thought to myself, ‘I used to be a pretty good runner.’” A friend who works at Nike sent him a pair of Nike shoes and “encouraging words to get back into running. I was running six to seven days a week, averaging 50 to 60 miles per week. I tore up my knee in February of 2016 and had surgery. … I looked at it as another challenge on the journey to wellness. My wife belonged to Onelife Fitness, so I joined the gym, signing up for personal training.” He was able to rehabilitate his knee with personal training; he now runs four to five days a week.

Biggest challenge: “The biggest challenge is staying with the program while traveling and working long hours because of my job.”

How life has changed: “When I checked out of the hospital, I looked at the upcoming changes as a journey, one that should be embraced. I wanted to be there to see my kids grow up and have the opportunity to one day be a grandfather. My dad passed away when my children were young, so they really never had the opportunity to know what a great guy my father was. Enjoy the journey. Yes, you have to work at it, and there are days when you are challenged to stay on the path. As long as you continue to put one foot in front of the other, you’ll make it.”

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