Donesha Bolden, 32, of Atlanta lost 41 pounds

Pounds lost: 41 pounds

Height: 5 feet 3 inches

Age: 32 years

Former weight: 215

How long she’s kept it off: “I started in October 2011,” Bolden says. “I am weighing in at 174 pounds in April and have a goal to be 150 pounds by the end of the summer.”

Personal life: “I am an educator for Atlanta Public Schools,” says Bolden, who teaches third grade. She lives in Atlanta.

Turning point: “I relocated to Atlanta in June of 2010 from North Carolina. That summer is when I put on a large amount of weight because of the stress from moving and trying to seek employment,” she says. “A few months later, one of my cousins in her early 30s died in her sleep from hypertension and another one in her early 30s diagnosed with breast cancer -- I knew it was time to get serious about getting healthy.”

Diet plan: “I prepare Tilapia and steamed veggies every morning for lunch and dinner. I have grown familiar [with] eating baked fish, chicken and veggies every day,” she says.

Exercise routine: “In October 2011, I had lost a little over 10 pounds and decided to start doing Insanity ( at home. I made a schedule to do Insanity at 5 a.m. before work, at 3:45 p.m. after work and sometimes I would do it when I came home from my 6:30 p.m. session with Tissilli ( The weight started to fall off and I started to see a big change in my body.”

Biggest challenge: “My biggest challenge when trying to lose weight was staying motivated and I conquered that when I made up in my mind that I wanted to choose life and not death,” she says.

How life has changed: “I have so much energy and I actually love life more,” she says. “With the loss of so many family members at such young ages I feel like it is my duty to keep up with my health and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It feels great to run and play with my nephew and not get so tired that I can’t complete an activity. My trainer and everyone at my job constantly brags about how much my look has changed and that makes me proud and gives me the strength to keep pushing.”

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 Holly Steel, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or email

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