Verah Turner, 44, of Decatur loses 41 pounds

Current weight: 139 pounds

Pounds lost: 41

Height: 5 feet 5 inches

Age: 44

How long she’s kept it off: Eleven months. She started June 2009 and met her goal in April 2010.

Personal life: Turner is a Decatur native and currently works in human resources for the federal government. She has been married for 18 years and lives in Decatur.

Turning point: “When I had to [try on] the next size jeans in order for them to fit right,” says Turner, who refused to buy the bigger jeans.

Soon after that shopping trip, someone at work approached her about joining a new on-site boot camp with Casi’s Straight Military Style Bootcamp ( The convenience factor and her shopping anxiety made her sign up.

“[The boot camp] was at work -- 4 p.m. in the afternoon. I just had to get dressed ... I’ve done plenty of diets and exercise programs before but never anything that really stayed with me or that I took to. I guess the feeling of someone yelling at me worked. I didn’t take offense to it because she wasn’t yelling at me, she was yelling for me -- to keep going, to do a little more.”

Diet plan: She switched to eating five meals per day, palm-size portions and nothing after 6 p.m. Her day starts with cheese grits; midmorning she snacks on a boiled egg. Lunch is usually tuna, and midafternoon she has fruit. Dinner is chicken with spinach or broccoli.

Exercise routine: Three times per week, she works out in the gym at work, either running or indoor aerobics. When she was actively doing boot camp, she worked out four times per week.

Biggest challenge: “Biggest challenge was keeping control of my sweet cravings,” she says.

How life has changed: “I would say it’s not that much different [but] it’s a huge thing to feel OK with buying some clothes,” she says. Turner no longer feels anxious when she goes clothes shopping because now the jeans fit.

Learning how to eat and what to eat has been the biggest lifestyle change. “I’m eating to fuel my body. I’m not eating for enjoyment. And understanding that eating more is really eating less -- eating five times a day is less than eating one huge meal in a day.”

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

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