Note : Because the new year is when many people resolve to lose weight, The McDuffie Mirror is bringing a series of articles on the subject. Last week, we asked advice from experts. This week, we have a success story.
Donna Branch thought she had always struggled with her weight. Then she turned 35.
"I've never been skinny, but after that, I seemed to put on a lot of weight," Ms. Branch said. "It started finding new places to pile on."
Not only was she getting older, when it's easier to gain weight, but also her lifestyle changed.
These days, she splits her time between being news director for WTHO radio and working as a designer/caterer/planner of large-scale parties and weddings for Design Solutions. But in her younger years, she was an avid tennis player.
She developed problems with her knees. By the time she reached 40, the pain became too much and she had three arthroscopic surgeries.
"My limitation is my knees," she said with a laugh, adding that she no longer can play tennis. "I can't do the fun stuff, I just have to get on the boring treadmill."
She made losing weight a priority and has lost 64 pounds since June 2008. But it wasn't her first try.
"I've tried every diet there is," she said. "I think I've read every book there is on the subject, so I knew what to do, it was just a matter of doing it."
She went on a strict regimen that consisted of daily workouts on the treadmill and eliminating carbohydrates from her diet. She said workouts are the most difficult, because she doesn't enjoy the treadmill.
"I have to do it first thing in the morning. If I let it slip, then I won't do it," she said.
Ms. Branch also worked with a personal trainer at the Family Y. The weight started falling off quickly and she lost 30 pounds in a few months.
"I had to buy a lot of new clothes because I had absolutely nothing to wear," she said.
Although she put carbohydrates back into her diet, she continued to lose weight. Then she quit going to the gym. In the past three months, Ms. Branch said, she has gained five pounds. But she refuses to look back. Her goal is to lose 30 pounds more.
"I'd like to -- no I'm going to get it off by my 48th birthday next May," she said.
Not only is she returning to the gym, but Ms. Branch started going to a naturalist in Augusta who is focusing on removing toxins from her body through herbal supplements. The doctor has prescribed a high-protein diet that includes organic foods and eliminates preservatives.
"Eating clean, I guess is how you'd describe it," Ms. Branch said. "The hardest thing was giving up coffee."
Losing weight has given Ms. Branch a new wardrobe and a new attitude. She feels better, has more energy, cares about her appearance and has started taking voice lessons and singing again. "And I'm looking forward to getting the rest of my weight off," she said.