Lisa D. Anderson, 56, of Tucker, Ga. lost 61 pounds

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SUCCESS STORY / Lisa D. Anderson, 56: From 212 pounds to 151 pounds

Former weight: 212 pounds

Current weight: 151 pounds

Pounds lost: 61 pounds

Height: 5 feet 5 inches

Age: 56 years

How long she's kept it off: Her journey began in 2006. By 2007 she lost 75 pounds and has maintained her weight with a fluctuation of 15 pounds ever since.

Personal life: "I have been married to my husband Lee for 30 years now," says Anderson. "I am so blessed to have four fabulous children as well: Melanie, 27, Travis, 24, Clay, 20 and Paige, 17. I currently teach classes at LA Fitness three days a week. I am also a personal trainer and have started my own business three years ago, Living Healthy Lisa, LLC," She lives in Tucker.

Turning point: "I finally took a long hard look in the mirror and did not like the reflection looking back at me. I gave myself one year, my 50th birthday, to reach my goal," she says. "I knew it was going to take a while. I didn't hurry the process."

Diet plan: "My secret was keeping a large pot of vegetable soup on hand in my refrigerator," she says. Breakfast is steel-cut oatmeal with berries or an egg. Mid-morning she has apples and almonds. Lunch is a lettuce-wrapped sandwich or salad with chicken. Dinner is lean protein, veggies and brown rice or sweet potato. She drinks half her body weight in ounces of water, daily.

Exercise routine: Her first time at the gym, they put her on the treadmill. "I was … holding on for dear life. I wondered if I would ever be able to let go," As she improved, she took fitness classes, progressed to P90x and started running races including the Peachtree Road Race and a marathon. "Now, I am working out about three days a week with weight-training."

Biggest challenge: "My biggest challenge came after I completed my marathon [in 2012]," she says. "You spend so much time being focused and driven to such a huge goal that takes a lot of time and then suddenly it's completed and you feel like, now what?"

How life has changed: "Prior to my journey, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. Suddenly, I am moving toward dreams and goals that at one time were just dreams," she says. "I knew there was another person inside of me screaming to come out. I wanted to find her … I have found my passion and my mission in life." She suggests, "Start where you are and stay with it. Remember, this is a lifestyle change we are after, not a quick-fix."