Victoria Shcherbakov lost 25 pounds

Victoria Shcherbakov now weighs 130 pounds. (Victoria Shcherbakov)

Victoria Shcherbakov now weighs 130 pounds. (Victoria Shcherbakov)

Success story

Victoria Shcherbakov, 62: From 155 pounds to 130 pounds

Former weight: 155 pounds

Current weight: 130 pounds

Pounds lost: 25 pounds

Height: 5 feet, 1 inch

Age: 62 years

How long she's kept it off: "I joined Sparkle A New You (, wellness coaching with Jacynta Harb) in August and reached my current weight on Dec. 26, 2016," Shcherbakov said.

Personal life: She lives in Acworth, has been married for 38 years, and has two daughters, ages 37 and 32, and three granddaughters. "My dog is a lovely 14-year old cocker spaniel. … I am a lead teacher at East Cobb Prep."

Turning point: "I wanted to stay healthy as long as possible to enjoy an active lifestyle: hiking, traveling and be part of my kids' and grandkids' life. I love cooking and baking for my family. Since we moved to Acworth from New Orleans in 2013, family Sunday dinners with kids and grandkids became a tradition. My daughter, Anna Beck, joined Sparkle in 2015 and became an Atlanta Journal-Constitution Success Story ( I felt that I needed to learn more about the program so that I could support her efforts of eating healthy and staying fit. I went to one class with her as a guest, and it was love at first sight."

Diet plan: Breakfast is a whole grain English muffin, cottage cheese and coffee. Lunch is a salad with 2 ounces of turkey or chicken and an apple. Dinner is soup and roasted veggies with chicken or fish. "I followed South Beach in the past," she said.

Exercise routine: She takes a brisk walk of 10,000 to 13,000 steps daily and does a 5K walk each month.

Biggest challenge: "I love dessert. I had to become creative and figured how out to make my homemade desserts lighter, and still satisfy my sweet tooth." She started topping fruit salads with Greek yogurt, nuts and honey. She makes crustless fruit pies, and she sometimes indulges in real cake or gelato, but just a few small bites.

How life has changed: "I went from a person who never exercised to walking daily. I've walked a 5K each month since August, tried body-jumping class, went on hikes with my husband, and my mood and sleep is better." Her tips include: "Positive thinking, celebrating any progress — no matter how small it might be — and be a part of the group that supports your healthy lifestyle." She learned to make herself a priority: "I have been taking care of my loved ones as long as I can remember and I enjoyed every minute of it. As the time went on, I realized that it is important to take care of the caretaker to keep going full force."

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 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or e-mail Michelle C. Brooks,