Courtesy Karla Kelton(2)
January 04, 2018 02:15 PM

Overweight and living a “very sedentary” lifestyle, Karla Kelton knew she had to curb her unhealthy habits.

“At the time, I was going through a divorce so that was kind of a catalyst that made me realize, I need to make some changes in my life,” the CPA tells PEOPLE.  “I was size 16, and I refused to go into plus-size [clothing]. Once I hit 222 lbs., it was just a life-changing moment.”

She knew she needed to get active, but had struggled to do so in the past. “I absolutely hated working out,” Kelton, 35, says. “I could not find an exercise program that I enjoyed enough to stick with for the long run.”

That all changed when the Grapevine, Texas resident rediscovered Jazzercise in 2015. “I remembered doing it as a kid with my mom and having so much fun,” she says of the mix of dance cardio and strength training. “I fell in love with it after my first class. I didn’t even realize how much I’d sweat. The hour flew by and I was back the next night.”

Without any gimmicks — just through healthy eating and exercise — our 2018 Half Their Size stars shed hundreds of pounds. For more on their stories and weight loss tips, pick up a copy of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

Watch People Features: Half Their Size, available now, on PeopleTV. Go to PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite mobile or connected TV device.

RELATED VIDEO: One Change Wonders! These 5 People Share the One Thing They Did to Jump-Start Their Weight Loss

Kelton quickly worked her way up to six-day-a-week classes – in each she burned 550 calories – and shed 77 lbs. “For the first time in my adult life, I enjoyed working out and I found myself looking forward to my evening class.” Along the way, Kelton, a self-described “sugar addict” also decided to limit her sweets.

Now at 145 lbs., Kelton calls the hour she spends at Jazzercise her “favorite part of the day.”  She also became a certified Jazzercise instructor, and enjoys helping other women like herself.

“Looking back on it, walking into my first Jazzercise class two years ago was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and my life has forever changed for the better,” she says. “I’ve achieved things I never dreamed I could, such as gaining a newfound strength and confidence in myself.”

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