How long he's kept it off: "I started January 2017 with the Gold's Gym 12-week challenge, which ended April 13, 2017, and I weighed in at 189.6 pounds," Jean-Marie said. Since April, he has put on 19.6 pounds of muscle.
Personal life: "I've been living in Lawrenceville, Ga., for four years. I was born Elizabeth, N.J., and raised in Rahway, N.J." He is an operation coordinator for MarketSource.
Turning point: "I wanted to get in shape for my 30th birthday — it was November 2015 when I made the decision to get in shape. On Dec. 7, 2015, I ruptured my right patellar tendon while jogging. That put me in a depression, as I had to be in bed rest for six weeks. I gained weight and lost confidence in myself. I thought I would never play sports again, let alone walk. But my mom encouraged me every day, took me to physical therapy, and eventually we would work out together at Gold's Gym. … On Dec. 20, 2016, my mother, and biggest supporter, passed away from a heart attack in my arms. As I tried to resuscitate her on my own, I failed to bring her back. I was then even in deeper depression than I was when I ruptured my patellar tendon. I ate for comfort, and I had hit rock bottom emotionally and physically. There were obligations I had to cancel on behalf of my mother, and one of them was her Gold's Gym membership. And that's when I saw the 12-week challenge. Something told me to do this in honor of her. I was afraid of failing and dishonoring her, but that was my turning point to push through."
Diet plan: Breakfast is an egg and oatmeal. He snacks on yogurt and fruit. Lunch and dinner are salmon, brown rice and spinach.
Exercise routine: "I work out at 5 a.m. I would do the same workout at 6 p.m. I did this for six days a week for 10 weeks — I would work out twice a day for six days a week."
Biggest challenge: "Not trying to overeat and controlling my emotions, due to the loss of my mother, to not emotionally eat. I didn't tell my friends or much of my family (about the challenge), so the supply of food kept coming. Trying to have that self-control was tough with major sporting events — Super Bowl, NBA All-Star Weekend — or holidays such as Easter.
How life has changed: "What changed is that I'm grieving in a healthy way, instead of drinking, overeating and lying in bed all day. I'm taking care of me as I am still grieving. … If I had to live the rest of my life without my mom and dad, I can go 12 weeks without the food I'm craving."
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, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or email Michelle C. Brooks, email@example.com.