Retrina C. Lee, 38, of Rex, Ga., loses 254 pounds

Former weight: 429 pounds

Current weight: 175 pounds

Pounds lost: 254

Height: 5 feet 3 inches

Age: 38

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

Personal life: “I am an EDI [electronic data interchange] analyst for GXS. I’ve been with my company for five years. I really love what I do and the people I work with it,” says Lee. She lives in Rex, Ga., and is single.

Turning point: “I injured my knee before going to Spain in 2009. It was a simple meniscus tear, but because of the weight, it exacerbated the severity of the injury to the point I had to walk with a cane,” says Lee. “I went to Paris and Spain, which made it more evident because they walk everywhere. Europeans automatically assumed I was walking with the cane because I was so heavy ... I began to realize the trauma I had put my body through; at that point, I looked at myself and decided I was tired of not loving myself the way I deserved to.”

Diet plan: “I tried everything before. I yo-yo dieted for 25 years. Therefore, this time I did it strictly on my own by feeding my body foods that nourish it,” she says. She starts the day with juice. For lunch and dinner, she has a salad and fish.

Exercise routine: "I exercise every day -- I walk one mile and do the elliptical for up to 45 minutes,” she says. “I started exercising in the chair with chair aerobics at first because my knees were almost toast because of the weight.”

Biggest challenge: “For me, the biggest challenge [is when] those that you love succumb to the green-eyed monster -- [it’s] most devastating,” she says. “I’ve learned you must give others time to adjust to your success and newfound confidence. After a while, they’ll realize that your success doesn’t mean failure for them.”

How life has changed: “I’m not in fear of going to the airport and thinking I could possibly be asked to buy an additional seat at the counter. I don’t have nightmares anymore of having a heart attack ... the fear has subsided.” She has started blogging about her weight-loss success and for a fee offers her help to others at

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

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.