Susan McCauley, 63, of Marietta, Ga. lost 34 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 / Susan McCauley, 63: From 184 pounds to 150 pounds

Former weight: 184 pounds

Current weight: 150 pounds

Pounds lost: 34 pounds

Height: 5 feet 6 inches

Age: 63 years

How long she's kept it off: She started in September 2014 and reached her current weight in August.

Personal life: "I am a portfolio administrator for an investment counseling firm; I've been there 30 years," said McCauley. "I am single. I am involved in church work and volunteer work." She lives in Marietta.

Turning point: "I had a physical and I was diagnosed as a diabetic, my doctor said I needed to lose weight — I took her seriously," she said. "Stopped and started over the years and tried for years. I got serious in September 2014 because number one, I saw that before photo … I tried on my own, but by the end of the October, realized I needed some outside help. I became a client of Jacynta Harb with Sparkle A New You wellness coaching (www.sparkleanewyou.com)."

Diet plan: Breakfast is a smoothie or oatmeal. "I go out for lunch every day; I will have a salad or sandwich on the healthy side." Dinner is something healthy out at a restaurant or salmon and vegetables.

Exercise routine: "I got a Fitbit (www.fitbit.com). I do try to be aware of my steps and add steps when I can," she said. "I don't do additional exercise, I do try to walk as much as possible … The target that everyone says is 10,000 steps per day. It's hard for me to reach 6,000 steps per day … I make it more of an effort between 5,000 and 6,000 steps per day."

Biggest challenge: "My biggest challenge has been making healthy eating fit into my lifestyle … I'm learning new ways to fit healthy eating into my lifestyle. Eating out is sometimes the only time I can see my friends. For years, I thought I wasn't going to give that up so I wouldn't try. Having someone supporting me saying, 'yes you can do this,' has made a huge difference."

How life has changed: "I can fit into clothes I had outgrown. I have Susan's back-of-the-closet boutique — I have clothes I haven't worn in 10 years, now I can," she said. "I had been on cholesterol meds and high blood pressure meds and I'm off those now. It has been remarkable and I'm grateful." Her advice includes: "Don't give up. Take it one meal at a time, one hour at a time … I'm a huge believer in tracking — it's a very powerful tool if you commit to it and don't lie to yourself, own it. If you are going to eat candy, write it down."