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How this 61-year-old woman lost 117 pounds in 16 months

When Greta Ross was prescribed medication for her heartburn, she decided that it was time to change her lifestyle by getting healthy.
/ Source: TODAY

About six years ago, Greta Ross' health was rapidly declining. Her acid reflux had gotten so bad she couldn't sleep. That's when her doctor prescribed her heartburn medication — and she realized that wasn't the only health issue she was dealing with. At 5 feet, 2 inches tall, she weighed 237 pounds.

The now 61-year-old from Irving, Texas, decided it was time to make some serious changes.

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Greta Ross before
This is Greta at her starting weight, 237 pounds.Courtesy Greta Ross

"My cholesterol levels were extremely high and I was at risk for a heart attack or a stroke," Ross told TODAY. "My doctor wanted to give me all kinds of medication and I knew it was from the weight."

Ross notes that she never started taking her medication, and instead she got active. Ross started small: She began by taking daily walks with her husband.

"We would average about 10 miles a day," said Ross. "The weight just started coming off."

Greta Ross after
Ross at her final weight of 120 pounds.Courtesy Greta Ross

While Ross worked to change her diet and exercise, she said her inactivity was the biggest issue. She also made sure that she was actually eating instead of skipping meals.

"My metabolism was just extremely low because I wasn’t eating," said Ross. "I had to change that by eating at least six times a day."

Ross eats a variety of fruits and vegetables, and tries to steer clear of red meat. For snacks throughout the day, she eats smoothies or nuts.

Eventually, she was losing so much weight that she noticed she had loose skin.

Greta Ross before
It took Ross around 16 months to lose 117 pounds.Courtesy Greta Ross

"I walked until I got to a certain point and then I started lifting weights," said Ross. "Because you have this loose skin, where you either have to hit the gym or get surgery."

So Ross hit the gym and about 16 months after her journey began, she was down to 120 pounds. Over four years later, Ross has kept the weight off.

"I go to the gym six days a week — Saturday is my day off," said Ross. "I just follow my body — I observe it and I listen to it and that’s pretty much how I function."

Through her weight-loss journey, Ross realized that one of the biggest causes of her weight gain had been the stress she was experiencing at her job as a consultant.

Greta Ross after
After walking, Ross turned to weight training.Courtesy Greta Ross

"I had to get to the source of my problem, which was stress," said Ross. "When I was able to identify that, then I could work on that and then I could work on my weight."

Leaving her job as a consultant helped Ross eliminate the unnecessary stress in her life. Now, she helps other people get healthy by encouraging them to go to the gym and to consider what is going on internally that could be holding them back.

"My life’s goal is for people to understand that you can be well," said Ross. "It’s about living a healthy, long life."

For more weight-loss inspiration, check out our My Weight-Loss Journey page. Interested in changing your habits? Sign up for our Start TODAY newsletter for extra support.