Kendra Boone displays a pair of pants she used to wear before losing 87 pounds.
While many people may be just beginning a program of weight loss to start off the new year, Conyers resident Kendra Boone is celebrating her one-year anniversary of losing 87 pounds -- and keeping it off.
Boone lost the weight by adhering strictly to the Weight Watchers program and committing herself to regular exercise.
"With all the different things I've accomplished in my life, the weight seemed insurmountable," said the 46-year-old Boone, who works as an administrator for Springfield Baptist Church in Conyers. "Impossible is not a word for me anymore. It may be hard, but with God all things are possible."
Boone struggled with being overweight her entire adult life, she said. Food equaled comfort, and eating served as an outlet for stress.
"I'm definitely an emotional eater," she said.
The mother of two young boys finally realized she had to reduce her weight of 243 pounds when in winter 2011 she fell on ice, hit her head and sustained a concussion. Her doctor warned her that if she didn't lose the pounds and lessen her stress level, she wouldn't live to see her children graduate from high school.
"That was an alarming experience for me. This was a medical professional who was brutally honest with me and cared enough to be honest with me," Boone said.
She and her husband Robert, college sweethearts, enrolled in Weight Watchers together in February 2011. They attended weekly meetings where they learned about how to eat healthier.
"We talk about different topics like portion control, increasing fruits and vegetables, different routines and habits that encourage weight loss," Boone said.
Boone now eats no red meat or fried foods, and broils, steams and grills her food. To reduce overeating, she learned to serve a meal in one room and eat in another, as well as to take small sips of water between bites.
Boone said all food is allowed on the Weight Watchers program -- chocolate and bread are two of her favorites -- but you just have to be mindful of portions.
"As my (Weight Watchers class) leader says, 'You indulge with control.' That was something so distinctly different for me," Boone said.
Boone also found camaraderie among fellow Weight Watchers group members, especially when it came to exercises. When she learned that a fellow group member competed in footraces, she decided to give it a try.
"I'm very goal-oriented and task-oriented and I now felt empowered to put that same attention into my personal health," said Boone, who holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In her first race, she participated in the 1-mile fun run in Covington's Cheerio Challenge.
"I got bitten by the bug for running and then did the Peachtree Road Race for the first time in 2011," said Boone.
She competed in her first triathlon in July 2012, the Rock Hill, S.C., Ramblin' Rose, and she's training for an upcoming triathlon in Madison.
Boone's exercise regimen includes weight training three times a week at home and cardiovascular work in the form of swimming, running and biking at Johnson Park in Conyers, as well as group activities such as Zumba.
Weight Watchers has even tapped Boone for a commercial promoting the program due to her great success in losing weight and getting into shape.
Boone said she still goes to her weekly Weight Watchers meetings.
"It's a lifestyle, not a diet," she said.