Ahlumba Harris of Jonesboro loses 65 pounds

Current weight: 130 pounds

Pounds lost: 65

Height: 5 feet 2 inches

Age: 29

How long she’s kept it off: Six months. “I started April 2006 and exceeded my goal May of 2010,” said Harris.

Personal life: “I’m a single mother of one who works for the city of Atlanta’s Department of Public Works.” She lives with her family in Jonesboro.

Turning point: “Being overweight is no fairy tale, and I can’t really say that it was a struggle because I was too lazy to work hard to get the weight off,” said Harris. “Most of my time was spent trying to find easy ways to lose it, such as pills, not eating and grapefruit juice. One day, I was blessed with a revelation: I did not gain this weight quickly, and it was not going to magically come off because I ate salad for a week. The same time it took to get on me was going to be the same time it would possibly take to get off.”

Diet plan: “Counting calories worked for me,” she said. Breakfast is cereal and a scrambled egg. Lunch is a turkey wrap and chips. And for dinner, she loves steamed okra, rice and fish.

Exercise routine: “I started with just walking outdoors,” she said. Then she upgraded to the treadmill, and while everyone at work was eating lunch, she was working out. “Now I am maintaining, so I work out three times a week, elliptical 20 minutes, treadmill 10 minutes, and weights 15 minutes.”

Biggest challenge: “Believe it or not, my hair,” she said. “I have been transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, and I was concerned about how that would affect my hair with all the sweating.”

How life has changed: “Today I am 65 pounds lighter, and for the first time in a long time, I feel beautiful,” she said. “At times, I forget I’m not that fat girl anymore, until I see my reflection in a mirror. It’s in those moments that I really see me as if it were the first time and I think to myself, ‘Wow, you did it -- you really did it!’ ”

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 e-mail address, a daytime phone number and before and after photos (by mail or JPEG). Write: Success Stories, c/o Holly Steel, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30346-1301; or e-mail ajcsuccessstories@gmail.com.

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