In the photo on the left, taken in 2016, Sharon Wilkes weighed 254 pounds. In the photo on the right, taken this month, she weighed 187 pounds. (All photos contributed by Sharon Wilkes)

Sharon Wilkes, 55, of Ellenwood lost 67 pounds

SUCCESS STORY / Sharon Wilkes, 55: From 254 pounds to 187 pounds

Former weight: 254 pounds

Current weight: 187 pounds

Pounds lost: 67 pounds

Height: 5 feet 9 inches

Age: 55 years

How long she’s kept it off: She started in September 2016. She reached her current weight last month.

Personal life: “I work for Comcast Disney. I have been an ordained minister for 36 years. I am an assistant pastor at Rocky Mount Bethel Baptist, Luthersville, Ga., and St. Peter Baptist Church in Newnan,” Wilkes said. “I have two grown children, two grandchildren and a grandchild who passed. I live in Ellenwood.”

Turning point: “I got hired at Comcast Disney in June 2016, and one of Casi’s Straight Military Style Bootcamp trainers works in HR — she was at orientation. She talked about her boot camp. So she introduced me to it, and in September 2016 I joined. I said, ‘I think I can do this.’ I have been consistent with Casi ever since,” Wilkes said. “I didn’t attend it for one session due to my granddaughter’s death. She was killed in a drive-by shooting. It was a tragedy that took me out, she was only 19 years old. After losing my granddaughter, I went back because I need to do this — that’s my focus, staying healthy and being consistent.”

Diet plan: She eats five mini-meals starting at 8 a.m. with oatmeal, half a sweet potato, grapefruit, collards or lima beans, and more veggies or a sweet potato. “Throughout the whole day you have a whole meal,” Wilkes said. She does not eat after 6 p.m.

Exercise routine: She works out five days per week doing boot camp. “I am now running 5Ks, 10Ks and half-marathons,” Wilkes said.

Biggest challenge: “My biggest challenge has been the one day of the week you are going to eat only raw green vegetables. It’s just one day out of the week. … To be able to maintain that when you go out with others is hard,” Wilkes said. “I have always focused on my goals to maintain that weight loss and not gain it back. You take your own food, you remember your commitment to yourself.”

How life has changed: “It has changed a lot,” Wilkes said. “It’s not easy, but you’ve got to have the right mindset for it. … I trusted my trainer, I trusted the program. … I lost most of my pounds that first go-round, 37 pounds in the first six weeks. I ran and I won the biggest loser award. Sleeping habits have changed, because when I exercise, now I can rest well. … It is not a hassle to walk somewhere. I am comfortable saying I can walk there. You’ve always got a challenge for yourself, always got to have a daily challenge for yourself. When I lost my granddaughter I went to what has kept me, which was my faith and exercise. I have a local group I run with. I feel like when I don’t exercise, I don’t have energy — that is what gives me energy.”

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