Shawn Gorrell of Atlanta lost 55 pounds

Current weight: 185 pounds

Pounds lost: 55 pounds

Height: 6 feet 2 inches

Age: 41 years

How long he’s kept it off: Over a year. "I started in September 2008 and reached my goal weight in May of 2009," says Gorrell.

Personal life: “My girlfriend, Dre, and I live in Atlanta. I’ve worked at the Federal Reserve for 10 years,” he says.

Turning point: “The turning point for me was when a colleague asked me why I’d gotten so fat,” he says. “It was embarrassing, but I appreciated his candor. Now, I say a little thank you to that colleague every day.”

Diet plan: He started by eating six mini-meals per day. Currently, he follows the Primal Blueprint diet ( which includes meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds. He believes it keeps him free of blood sugar ups and downs. “If I had one piece of advice to give about diet, it would be to eat real, fresh food. Stay away from anything with ingredients that only a chemist would recognize.”

Exercise routine: “I started working out with Operation Bootcamp ( in September of 2008, and continued as a camper until the end of May 2009," he says. "Since then, I’ve become an instructor with OBC, which allows me to continue the routine and to help others reach their goals.” He also does crossfit workouts at Atlanta Kick ( and runs 5K, 10K and half-marathon races.

Biggest challenge: “The biggest challenge I had to overcome at the start was the quit voice, which would pop up any time that I was leaving the comfort zone in a workout,” he says.

How life has changed: “I’m much more of a morning person, because I’m up before 5 a.m. to get ready for our workout at 6 a.m.," he says. "Working out before going to work sets the tone for my entire day. I find that I’ve got much more energy and a better attitude than I had before. I also learned that the lessons of the quit voice apply to life, and not just to working out: Great things happen when you push yourself out of the comfort zone.”

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 e-mail

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