In the photo on the left, taken in September 2015 with his wife, LaTisha Barnes, Ronnie Bell weighed 200 pounds. In the photo on the right, taken in April, Bell weighed 172 pounds. (The photo on the left was contributed by Ronnie Bell. The photo on the right was contributed by Daniel Lee of Photography by Daniel Lee, www.photographybydaniellee.com.)

Ronnie Bell, 52, of Stockbridge lost 28 pounds

SUCCESS STORY / Ronnie Bell, 52: From 200 pounds to 172 pounds

Former weight: 200 pounds

Current weight: 172 pounds

Pounds lost: 28 pounds

Height: 5 feet 8 inches

Age: 52

How long he’s kept it off: “We started in January 2016 with our boxing and fitness trainer at Granite City Boxing in Ellenwood,” said Bell, who reached his current weight in April.

Personal life: “I’m a retired Army officer with 22 years of military service,” Bell said. He and his wife, LaTisha Barnes, have a blended family. “Four of the children have or are currently serving in the military. The last one starts college in the fall. We also have four grandchildren,” he said. “… I’m a branch chief employed by the Department of Homeland Security/Transportation Security Administration.” They live in Stockbridge.

Turning point: “In December 2015, LaTisha and I decided we needed to get our physical lives in order through healthier eating and exercise. We were at the heaviest weight in our life,” he said. “… I had also become pre-diabetic, which was the major turning point to changing our daily routine. Since I had a family history of diabetes, we knew it was very important that a dietary change was required to mitigate the effects of diabetes. Since that diagnosis, I have been able to keep my A1C in check.”

Diet plan: He focused on eating fish, chicken and vegetables and drinking 80 to 100 ounces of water daily.

Exercise routine: Two years into training, “we realized we needed a change to increase our strength and core and began workouts with Rico Body Training (mr_lafitness on Instagram). … We typically exercise with Rico three to four times a week.” Bell’s gym-mates include his wife and Michelle Menifee, who was featured June 20th in Success Stories.

Biggest challenge: “When we started,” Bell said, “the initial biggest challenge was waking up at 4:45 a.m. to be at the boxing gym at 5:30 a.m. … It was also getting through that soreness period — we were in pain for the first two months. Now it is the challenge of working out with Rico’s clientele who are much younger. … It is a dual motivator and not necessarily a challenge. … They see the benefits of exercise at an older age and how it keeps you sharp mentally and physically.”

How life has changed: “The one thing that we share and which we have heard comments from others is that we work out as a couple,” Bell said. “We went into this fitness and healthy eating together and continue to travel down that path as a couple. … We love the camaraderie of our workout buddies. … I don’t need the beach body but one that says he works out. But for me internally, it is to hold off all of the family health issues and be able to dance, not just walk, in my daughter’s wedding in 20 years.”

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