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, c/o Patty Murphy, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or e-mail Michelle C. Brooks, email@example.com.
SUCCESS STORY / H. Lamar Willis, 41: From 328 pounds to 223 pounds
Former weight: 328 pounds
Current weight: 223 pounds
Pounds lost: 105 pounds
Height: 5 feet 9 ½ inches
How long he’s kept it off: Atlanta City Councilman H. Lamar Willis started in the spring of 2011 and met his goal of 100 pounds lost in October.
Personal life: “I am in my third term as Post 3 At-Large Council member for the City of Atlanta,” says Willis (www.lamarwillis.com). Born and raised in Atlanta, he is a practicing attorney and father of daughter Kayla, 13 and son Henry, 8; he lives in Atlanta.
Turning point: “I was denied life insurance; that sort of scared me straight, if you will. It helped me realize that someone else believes you may not be here tomorrow,” he says. “I had no hypertension, no high blood pressure, never had any health issues. There were a number of events over the last year to make me quit. One of them was a divorce. You could choose many different ways to cope with that. Exercise helped me get through that. As an elected official there’s always issues that beat me down and I just hate those - I kept exercising.”
Diet plan: Breakfast is fresh fruit. Lunch is a soup and salad and dinner is fish. Beef is an occasional treat.
Exercise routine: He exercises seven days a week, lifting weights and riding an elliptical. “I found that taking the weekend off made me more sluggish at the gym on Mondays,” he says.
Biggest challenge: “My biggest challenge was always simply staying the course … I’ve always exercised, but you can always find a reason to stop.”
How life has changed: “I did get that insurance policy; that happened back in March,” he says. “As much as it all started out (about) being around for my children, it really was about being around for the purpose God has in my life.”
Perhaps part of that purpose is helping Atlanta get healthy with his new challenge, 100 Miles at Large: Celebrating 100 for 100. “Originally it started as me celebrating 100 pounds,” he says. “A few business owners said they would sponsor me, I wasn’t thinking about doing that … we’re now reaching out to organizations. In January, we’re going to have a big kickoff by starting a 100-mile challenge. The mayor, (Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed) sent me text that said, ‘Count me in.’ ” Willis plans to partner with running groups and organizations. He’d like to raise $1,000 per mile. “We want to hit a mark of $100,000,” he says. He plans to donate the money to health-related organizations. For more information about Councilman Willis’ 100 for 100 Challenge: www.hlamarwillis.com, contact his office, (404) 330-6041, Facebook (Councilman H. Lamar Willis) and Twitter (@HLWillisPost3).