Paul Cronan, Sr., 43, of Conyers, Ga. lost 123 pounds


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, c/o Patty Murphy, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or e-mail Michelle C. Brooks, ajcsuccessstories@gmail.com.

SUCCESS STORY / Paul Cronan, Sr., 43: From 306 pounds to 183 pounds

Former weight: 306 pounds

Current weight: 183 pounds

Pounds lost: 123 pounds

Height: 5 feet 10 inches

Age: 43 years

How long he's kept it off: In June 2012, Cronan was down to 159 pounds for a total loss of 147 pounds. "I have since gained twenty-four pounds but have maintained my current weight for six months," says Cronan. "I am more comfortable at my current weight."

Personal life: "I have been married to my wife, Julie, for almost ten years. We have four children: Bryan, 22, David, 17, Kaela, 7, and Matthew, 6." he says. "I am the engineering manager for AFL Network Services, a contractor for AT&T." He and his family live in Conyers, Ga.

Turning point: "In January 2011, I weighed 300 pounds and did not really think much about my weight or my health," he says. "In late March 2011, my vision diminished significantly over a two-week period. I went from 20/20 vision to not being able to see clearly more than four feet in front of my face. To say that this scared me is an understatement. I went to the doctor and realized that I had the classic symptoms of Type II Diabetes: increased thirst, frequent urination, sudden weight loss, blurred vision. In August 2011, my church started a program called Be A Loser. This program was intended to help us lose the things in our lives that prevent us from doing what God wants us to do [such as] weight and health…"

Diet plan: I downloaded 'Lose It!' a free app on my phone, to help me count calories. The app said that I needed to eat 2,600 calories per day to lose one pound per week," he says. "I realized that I was still eating like a fat guy and that I needed to start eating better so that I would not be hungry. I used the app to help me make better choices…"

Exercise routine: "It was not until after I lost the weight that I started any type of exercise. I now go the gym three days per week and walk on the treadmill for 45 minutes each time."

Biggest challenge: "I have had two challenges with weight loss: The first was making up my mind to try to lose the weight. The second is since I have lost the weight not falling into the bad eating habits that I had before."

How life has changed: "I no longer have to take medication for diabetes or high blood pressure. I had been on blood pressure medication for over 20 years," he says. "I have learned that I do not need to cook with butter and everything does not have to be fried … People around me started to take notice of the weight loss and wanted to know what I was doing - they were watching what I was eating and trying to follow my lead. This was both pressure and encouragement for me to stay on track."