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Wellness

After Barely Recognizing Herself In A Family Photo, Delores Curtis Lost 181 Pounds

Name: Delores Curtis
Age: 59
Height: 5'5"
Before Weight: 350 pounds

How I Gained It: Eating what I wanted and as much as I wanted and having no desire to exercise. I was missing out on​ family vacations and life's precious events. ​My overall health wasn't good either: I was diagnosed with acid reflux, diabetes and high blood pressure. I knew I needed to make a change but did I? No.

I experimented with programs such as Weight Watchers and Medifast, the cabbage soup diet and Atkins. Within six months to a year of starting my diet, my weight would creep back up to my heaviest.

Shopping for clothes was pure hell for me. I ate myself up to a size 5XL and 30-32 blouses, 28-32 pants and 50 bra. I didn't have a lap; I couldn't hold my beautiful grandkids.

Breaking Point: Three things: In July 2013, my husband took me with him on a business trip to Dallas and the seat belt barely fit around me. I was so embarrassed and wanted to cry. We decided to stay an extra day to tour the new Dallas stadium, and I couldn't walk the tour with my husband.

I was so sick and tired of all the blood pressure, diabetes and acid reflux medicine. I had had enough.

I went to dinner to celebrate July birthdays in my family. We all gathered to take pictures. Later that evening as I sat on the couch looking at the picture, I noticed that my husband could barely put his arm around me. I looked at that woman in the picture and asked, "Who are you?" I didn't know the woman looking back at me.

How I Lost It: The initial start was to remove sugar from my diet, stop late-night eating and start using the gym membership that I had been paying for for two years. I knew I had to do something different this time. I had to find a way to make it work longterm. I knew ​giving up too much and feeling deprived wasn't going to work this time.

I looked at every diet plan I'd ever been on and came up with a lifestyle plan that would that fit my daily routine and give me long-term results. Because at the end of every diet, you've got to get back to real life.

For the first 30 days, I didn't eat any potatoes, pasta, white rice, flour, soda or sugar, and I drank no less than a gallon of water a day. I've learned to read labels. My meals consisted of baked chicken, fish and vegetables. As much as I try to stay away from processed foods, in some cases, it's hard to avoid, so moderation is the key.

I make my own snacks, like roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds, almonds, pistachios, cashews and roasted chickpeas. I lost 20 pounds in 30 days and started going to the gym. I was sore for ​three months straight, but I kept going every day. Even after losing 20 pounds, I could only walk on the treadmill at the lowest speed, but I kept going. I would be on it for an hour, take a break and get right back on. I stuck with the treadmill for the first nine months.

Now, I love going to the gym, and my energy level is off the charts. Everybody who knows me is cheering me on. I want to do everything: Spinning, dancing, running, horseback riding, traveling the world. Now, I can walk on the treadmill on its highest level for 45 to 50 minutes. For someone who could barely walk up a flight of stairs without being winded, I feel like I got my life back!

I'm no longer on any of the medications. One year later, my husband said, "I bet you can run that Dallas stadium now!"

After Weight: 169 pounds
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The Huffington Post publishes photographs as they are submitted to us by our readers. As told to Sarah Klein.

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