SUCCESS STORY / LaShell Estes, 34: From 202 pounds to 148 pounds

LaShell Estes, 34, of Chamblee lost 54 pounds

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Former weight: 202 pounds

Current weight: 148 pounds

Pounds lost: 54 pounds

Height: 5 feet 6 1/2 inches

Age: 34 years

How long she’s kept it off: She started in 2009 and reached her current weight in 2011.

Personal life: “I work for a Fortune 500 company. I live in Chamblee. I own MADabolic in Chamblee — I took all my money and bet on myself. Why leave my money in my 401(k) if I’m confident in what I can do? I should be able to invest in myself because I’m going to make it happen," Estes said.

Turning point: “I was a Division I athlete in college. I went into corporate America. ... I worked and worked and worked and ate and worked and ate; I had no exercise life," Estes said. “I relocated back to Atlanta — I was around 200 pounds. ... I realized I had to do something different.” She joined a work weight-loss challenge and won. “I did Black Girls Run,” she said. "I had a really weird pain two days after that race, and two months later I was diagnosed with lupus. ... I was trying to figure life out with joint pain and my weight, because when you lose 60-plus pounds, you never want to go on that journey again. I ended up joining the MADabolic Atlanta location. It’s focused on strength and interval training.” When she found a home at MADabolic, she pursued a greater vision, and seven weeks ago she opened the Chamblee location.

Diet plan: She focuses on macros and meal preps regularly.

Exercise routine: “I do MADabolic four to five times weekly. I complement it with cycling and running ... easily modified, because I still have lupus and joint pain."

Biggest challenge: “Consistency. We all struggle with consistency, not letting that overtake you, not letting those negative moments stop me. Having enough time to do everything, trying to multitask and still be mindful. Making sure I meal prep. ... Life can be exhausting," Estes said. "How do you take care of you while you’re exhausted? One of the symptoms of my chronic illness is fatigue.”

How life has changed: “If you take several small steps, you’ll realize you’ve actually taken a leap. ... I’ve gained some weight back, but it’s an ebb and flow and it’s about figuring out how to manage this thing called life. It’s different for everybody," Estes said. "... It’s been a long journey to have a great outcome that I hope to impact other people’s lives. I want to impact my community in the way fitness has impacted me and my life.”

Share Your Success: Each week, Success Stories focuses on an individual’s unique weight-loss journey. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not endorse any specific weight-loss program but includes names and links for the benefit of readers who want further information. Have you lost weight successfully with a healthy lifestyle change? If you would like to share your story with our readers, please include your email address, phone number, and before and after photos (by mail or JPEG), and contact us at: Success Stories, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or email reporter, Michelle C. Brooks,