Every Friday, we feature a real-life person who has embraced a healthy lifestyle from a former sedentary, unhealthy life. We hope their story inspires you to start living and breathing a healthy life!

Today's feature is Lisa who lives in Florida with her two kids. Way to go Lisa, we are so proud of you!

Sarah: How did your healthy journey begin? Lisa: I was and average size kid, added weight in high school and beyond (stopped being active!) - ballooning to 226 lbs and was never active in any way, cooked horrible, fatty southern meals (could have given Paula Deen a run for her money).

Sarah: What changed? Lisa: Well, I finally got fed up. Just disgusted with myself. Went through one of those "doctor approved" weight loss centers and dropped 80 lbs. FAST. It worked but was the worst way ever to lose weight. Didn't learn single thing about proper nutrition and the science behind true health & wellness. Didn't even exercise one bit during those 7-8 months it took me to lose it.

Sarah: Ah, the popular weight loss weight without making a lifestyle change. Then what happened? Lisa: Needless to say, I went back to the old way of eating and the old way of looking. Gained back over 60 of the lbs. Once again got fed up but this time joined Weight Watchers and slowly began to educate myself about proper nutrition and exercise. After I got my weight down to around 160, began to run and weight train. Quit Weight Watchers but continued with some of their principles combined with what I'd learned about lean proteins, healthy carbs, good fats, etc.  Focus now on getting largest amount of food in me with most protein, lowest calories, low added sugar, low sodium, low/good carbs. I eat 5-6 small meals a day.

Sarah: What is life like for you today? Lisa: I continued running, ran my first 1/2 marathon in October of 2011 (will run my fourth this weekend - Feb. 19, 2012) and over the past year have really incorporated strength training in my fitness plan. Love to encourage others with their own health goals and share ideas whenever possible.


Sarah: What gets your blood boiling? Lisa: I get on a soapbox sometimes whenever anyone tells me I'm getting too skinny or need to stop losing weight. When I was 226 lbs., no one ever would tell me I was getting too fat or needed to start losing weight. It boggles my mind they have no problems about it now that I'm actually thin and healthy. Where was their care and concern before?

Sarah: What does daily life like for you now? Lisa: I'm a single mom, have two kids, an awesome boyfriend (he's a competitive bodybuilder and great supporter in active lifestyle), career woman, just turned 40, and active in church (love choir!)