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Joyce Bell, 47, of Lawrenceville, Ga., lost 26 pounds

SUCCESS STORY / Joyce Bell, 47: From 158 pounds to 132 pounds

Former weight: 158 pounds

Current weight: 132 pounds

Pounds lost: 26 pounds

Height: 5 feet 5 inches

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Age: 47 years

How long she’s kept it off: “I started in March 2014,” said Bell, who reached her current weight in June 2016.

Joyce Bell weighed 158 pounds when this photo was taken in 2014. (For the AJC)

Personal life: “I have one son and I’m the proud grandmother of one grandson. I’m a full-time nurse with JenCare located in East Point, Ga. I attend Berean Christian Church. … I also host a free Inspired Body community workout every Saturday … followed by a health and wellness seminar. I am currently a cardiac nurse, fitness model and military veteran who served in both Desert Shield and Desert Storm.” She lives in Lawrenceville, is the owner of InspiredBodybyBell and is a national finalist for the 2017 IsaBody Challenge. Her website is www.inspiredbodybybell.com. 

Joyce Bell weighed 132 pounds when this photo was taken in September. (For the AJC)

Turning point: “The major turning point in my fitness journey began when I as a cardiac nurse learned that I had been diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation. By 40 years old, I needed a heart valve replacement or I was facing death. During a conversation with my brother on my decision to not have the surgery, he said that I was being selfish for refusing; however, I decided to take matters into my own hands and change my lifestyle for the better. I haven’t looked back since.”

Diet plan: “I follow a healthy meal plan system by eating food high in nutritional value such as chicken, fish, fruits and vegetables. I do meal prep at the beginning of every week with these types of ingredients.”

Exercise routine: “I exercise regularly and often, alternating between two days of strength training and five days of cardio.”

Biggest challenge: “One of the biggest challenges is not eating junk food or drinking flavored margaritas like I did often before I started.”

How life has changed: “Since I made the decision to take control of my health and fitness, my life has changed phenomenally. I’ve overcome the inability to do high-impact exercise due to my heart condition, and now I’m helping others work out. I’ve become a fitness model, featured in several magazines, news and media publications. I won a master figure pro title in body building, started a successful business and I’ve been enabled to travel across the world to different countries to help others and share my journey with them. One mantra I use is that ‘Everything is figureouttable.’ … You deserve to have a life and body you love. … My aim is to use the platform this fitness journey has created to make a positive impact in the lives of others by helping them and showing them they can also overcome health challenges they have.”

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