How the 38-year-old transformed her body

Our January issue is devoted to living well, with tons of helpful tips on being fit, happy and healthy. So we're featuring stories from real women-women who've gotten healthy and made themselves over in a magnificent way. Here is Steph Greegor's story.

Name: Steph Greegor

Age: 38

Residence: German Village

Gig:Digital marketing chick at Nationwide Insurance and moonlight as a screenwriter (two screenplays currently in contests in L.A.). I'm also an ACE (American Council on Exercise) certified personal trainer working at Core Fitness Studios in Upper Arlington.

Family:One daughter, 10, and a cat, Carolina

Weight lost:Start weight: 318 pounds. Current weight: 168 pounds

Inches lost:76

Motivation:I started losing in 2003 after my daughter was born. I looked at her and knew immediately I had to be a role model she could emulate. And that role model had to be someone who was healthy, confident and not afraid to be herself. Since then, I've hit and broken through five plateaus (255, 226, 205, 183, 176). I've maintained a steady weight between 168 and 178 for three years. I am now an ACE certified personal trainer helping other women achieve their healthiest selves.

Workout regime:I do physical activity at least five days a week. I'm a runner, so I run at least two to three times, with three weight-lifting days-girls should lift heavy weights! It won't make you bulky, but it will make you sexy. And it helps build bone density, which is so important for women, especially as we age. I always take one to two rest days-they're so important. Your body needs time to heal.

In the beginning, I strived to just get in two walks a week, upping the workout every week. I started with just walking a quarter of a mile-because that's all I could walk. I then used Leslie Sansone's "Walk Away the Pounds" program-I swear by it! I then moved into weight lifting and running according to my trainers Matt Hickey and Russ Midlam. Soon after, I started weight training myself. I've now completed two half marathons and am striving to lean out to 18 percent body fat (I'm at 23 percent right now!). It's important to note that throughout the process, every plateau demanded a new workout regime and healthy eating adjustment to keep seeing results. The body adapts so quickly, and you can stop seeing results if you don't switch it up.

Favorite one-hour workout: H.I.I.T. workout-talk about sweat!

Diet:I don't believe in cheat days. I think you are far more successful if you find ways to incorporate your favorite foods into your daily routine. It all boils down to calories-burn more than you eat. If you can eat in moderation then you're going to be happier and more successful during your weight loss efforts.

Favorite healthy snack: Greek yogurt-so high in protein! It fills you up and gives you the protein and calcium your body needs. Be careful though-read the labels. Some Greek yogurts are filled with sugar. I like Yoplait 100 calorie Vanilla or Lime. Those two are relatively lower in sugar compared to other flavored ones.

Greatest challenge: Emotional eating. I eat when I'm happy, bored, mad, anxious-yikes! I've really had to train myself on identifying my emotions and why I'm eating and learn to choose better behaviors to handle stressful emotions. Also, the bit of extra skin from extreme weight loss. I'll need a plastic surgeon to help me reach my final goal: wearing a bikini!

Most exciting success: Taking my life story and using it to inspire other women to achieve their dreams.

Best advice: Don't watch "The Biggest Loser." That's not real life.

How your life has changed: I feel free. I'm not afraid to be who I am anymore.