Tony Ferrante, 50, of Winder, lost 135 pounds

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SUCCESS STORY / Tony Ferrante, 50: From 300 pounds to 165 pounds

Former weight: 300 pounds

Current weight: 165 pounds

Pounds lost: 135

Height: 5 feet 8 inches

Age: 50

How long he's kept it off: He started in September 2011 and reached his goal in March 2013.

Personal life: "I have three young-adult children and my first granddaughter was just born," he says. "I have a clown ministry where Tone-deaf the Musical Hobo clown performs and entertains at nursing homes, hospitals, and hospice centers. I am director of marketing and business development for SoCo Roofing Services, a commercial roofing company in Auburn, Ga." He lives in Winder.

Turning point: "A friend died three days before his 50th birthday. As I was getting dressed for the funeral, I was horrified to find that I had no clothes that fit," he says. "I knew that at 300 pounds if I didn't lose weight there was a good chance that I'd be the next person to die. I had noticed that there aren't many fat men at nursing homes because fat men generally don't live long enough to make it to nursing homes."

Diet plan: Breakfast is a hard-boiled egg on a tortilla and an apple. Mid-morning he has a protein bar. Lunch is a grilled chicken breast, fresh vegetables, half a tortilla, and an apple. He has an apple in the afternoon, and dinner is grilled chicken and vegetables. Three hours after dinner he has a whey protein shake. "Water is hugely essential to this — half my weight in fluid ounces at a minimum."

Exercise routine: He works out twice a day, six days a week. "My morning exercise is whatever fitness program I'm doing at the time. Right now it's P90X. My evening exercise is whatever I feel like doing as long as it's intense and fun: yoga, running, cross training and elliptical. I'm doing obstacle course racing now to validate to myself that I am, in fact, in the best shape of my life. [Doing] crazy stuff like training for monkey bars and rope climbing helps break the monotony."

Biggest challenge: "The biggest challenge is that proper nutrition requires constant dedication and discipline. I weighed 300 pounds because I love to eat."

How life has changed: "This is not a diet — it's how I plan to live the next 50 years," he says. "My life is different now because I don't feel like an old man at 50," he says. "I don't look 50 and I sure don't act 50. The positive feedback I receive on my weight loss, the natural endorphin rush from exercising, and the chance to help others achieve their own fitness goals is such a rush that it's impossible to be down for very long no matter what life throws at me. I have decided to make the next 50 years more fun than the first 50, and so far, so good."