Here's what these Atlantans wish they'd known before starting their weight loss journeys

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Here's what these Atlantans wish they'd known before starting their weight loss journeys

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Kylee Fulton, age 36, lost 210 pounds in just over one year.

Interviews from the AJC's Atlanta Loses Weight series. 

Whether you just have a few pounds to lose, or a few dress sizes, starting a weight loss journey sometimes feels overwhelming. As you begin a new lifestyle on your path toward health and wellness, arm yourself with a few insights from these five Atlantans who succeeded in their weight loss goals.

It will feel like a mental battle at first.

Kylee Fulton, a mother of three from Suwannee who lost 210 pounds in a little over a year throughout her weight loss journey, said that nagging thought about food entered her mind often in the beginning. However, the more she focused on sticking with her plan and taking it day by day, the easier it was to control her thoughts. "After two months ... something just clicked," Fulton said. "It was like my mind and body rewarded me for my focus and it just became easier." When you first start trying to lose weight, keep Fulton's advice in mind and know that the mental battle you feel in the beginning can and will get better over time.

Prepare to be accountable.

Sometimes going it alone can result in self-defeat. Stay accountable throughout your path to weight loss by surrounding yourself with friends, family members and professionals who can offer support, encouragement and honesty. Vickie Crabtree, who lost 142 pounds, understands the importance of accountability in her weight loss success. Even though the Snellville-native has already reached her goal weight, she still attends regular Weight Watchers meetings to make sure she doesn't slip backward. "My biggest challenge now is to not fall back into the old habits that got me so overweight," Crabtree said.

The first step is the hardest.

Many people who want to lose weight often have a hard time getting started. It's easy to think that you'll always feel a lack of motivation throughout your weight loss journey, but in reality you'll feel more motivated as time goes by. Gino Marotta of Lawrenceville lost 118 pounds and shared his words of wisdom for people struggling to find motivation."The biggest challenge was finding the discipline to get started," Marotta said. However, after he began losing weight, his energy also increased. "The normal cliche 'I have so much energy' is totally true."

Losing weight happens one pound at a time.

Kassie Bohanon of Acworth shed an astounding 156 pounds, but she lets everyone know that it didn't happen all at once. "The biggest challenge I faced in getting started was the fact that I had so much weight to lose," Bohanon said. "I decided from day one that, no matter what, no matter how long the journey took, I absolutely would not allow myself the option of throwing up my hands and giving up." Not giving up is key. Don't look at how much weight you still have to drop. Instead, focus on understanding that every small success matters and that lasting weight loss happens one pound at a time.

Tell yourself that you're worth it.

Let's face it -- many people struggling with obesity have low self-esteem and have trouble feeling like they're worth the effort it takes to lose the weight. Tell yourself that you're worth it and that you can do it, because you are and you can. Lauren Sallarulo, who lost 56 pounds, discovered that she had been feeling this lack of self-worth, which was getting in the way of her weight loss goals. "The biggest challenge was to convince my mind that I really wanted to lose weight and that I was worthy of losing weight," the Chamblee-resident said. Once she started telling herself that she was worth fighting for, the weight started to come off. "I got my life back. Now I can do so many things I never thought I would have been able to do."

Need a little help knowing what to eat in the morning when you're on a diet? Check out these 7 breakfast foods that help you lose weight.

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