Mary Jane Wagner, 49, of Suwanee, Ga. lost 215 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,

Former weight: 400 pounds

Current weight: 185 pounds

Pounds lost: 215 pounds

Height: 5 feet 8 inches

Age: 49 years

How long she's kept it off: "I began July 22, 2011 and have just recently, in February 2013, reached my goal," says Wagner.

Personal life: Wagner is a claims adjuster for Liberty Mutual Insurance. She's been married for 23 years with three children, ages fifteen, seventeen and twenty-two. She and her family live in Suwanee, Ga.

Turning point: "I know I was having issues with high blood pressure, and my heart began racing and skipping beats," she says. "I went to a cardiologist who ran tests and confirmed my heart was healthy but would not stay that way with the extra weight I was carrying."

Diet plan: "I have used about everything to make this happen," she says. "I began following the South Beach Diet and lost approximately the first 150 pounds myself … went to Quick Weight Loss Centers of Atlanta for the last 65 pounds and maintenance program. I am also a lifetime member of Weight Watchers and going to their meetings for support." A typical breakfast is two egg whites with skim milk, an orange and light bread and light butter. She snacks on protein bars and fruit. Lunch is grilled fish or chicken with vegetables, and dinner is lean protein, vegetables and fruit.

Exercise routine: "I began slowly just by walking and increasing my endurance," she says. "I then began a water aerobics class that I would do twice a week. I also rode a stationary bike. I would try to do something every day. I now go to the gym approximately five times per week. I walk, play tennis. I have begun taking spin classes, aerobic classes, zumba. I try to keep it interesting to keep me interested."

Biggest challenge: "My biggest challenge is staying focused on why I am doing this," she says. "Now that I am looking and feeling better, it is harder to remember how difficult daily activity was for me before. I want to always remember I am doing this for better health and a more active lifestyle to enjoy with my family."

How life has changed: "My health has turned around completely," she says. "I am off all blood pressure medication and have been given a clean bill of health … My family and friends have always been there for me, that hasn't changed, but I can enjoy more with them now. I used to avoid certain activities and functions due to my size … (Now I can) sit in an airplane seat without fear of crowding the person next to me. Everyday life is just easier such as walking up stairs, getting in and out of the car - things you just don't think about unless you have that issue. Life is good."