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Alison “AJ” Smith, 35, of Stockbridge lost 54 pounds

SUCCESS STORY / Alison “AJ” Smith, 35: From 180 pounds to 126 pounds

Former weight: 180 pounds

Current weight: 126 pounds

Pounds lost: 54 pounds

Height: 5 feet 3 inches

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Age: 35 years

How long she’s kept it off: Started in January and has kept it off for “eight months and counting,” says Smith.

Personal life: “I’m a phlebotomist (a person trained to draw blood from patients); I live in Stockbridge, Ga., with my boys, Kmari, 17, and Amir, 12. I do background and stand-in acting for Central Casting and All_EnFilms … acting is my real passion.”

Turning point: “I had moved here from Illinois at the end of January this year feeling busted and disgusted as far as my appearance was concerned. I wanted to have a new life here and do all the things I had dreamed of doing. The weight had to go. I love the fact that Stockbridge has so many trails and there seems to be an incline on every corner. I began walking Reeves Creek Trail daily until it was something where I felt off if I didn’t do it. I walked in the morning after the boys went to school and again in the afternoon when the sun was high in the sky. The more I could sweat, the better. As I began to feel like I was making headway, I did the RI28 program by Gee Bryant for 28 days and man did it really kick my weight loss in gear. That program with its online support system and daily showing of others who were struggling and thriving just like me was really a life saver.”

Diet plan: “I have kept the weight off for over eight months now and feel so much better. I still eat things I shouldn’t from time to time, like burgers and even ribs, but my taste buds have changed so much that I don’t want things like that anymore. I eat more dark chocolate and drink lots of water.”

Exercise routine: “I hit all of the trails here: Clark, Memorial, Cochran, at least four to six times a week, more if I can fit it in. I do yoga at least two times a week, and it really helps because this new Georgia life with work and traffic can definitely have you tight.”

Biggest challenge: “I try not to wear sweatpants much because they will cause you to get comfortable with your body and you can’t tell when you are gaining all the time.”

How life has changed: “I have been on a few shows and feel like I am getting the hang of it now. I just starred in a short film called ‘Lip Service’ by Keyboard Money Mike, and I know it’s just the beginning of what is to come. It has been hard since I’m still trying to find a place for just me and my boys, but I wouldn’t trade a second to go back to Illinois. I can feel God moving every day. I hope to help someone by letting them know if they get out of their own way, he can make a way.”

Share Your Success: Each week, Success Stories focuses on an individual’s unique weight loss journey. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not endorse any specific weight loss program but includes names and links for the benefit of readers who want further information. Have you lost weight successfully with a healthy lifestyle change? If you would like to share your story with our readers, please include your email address, phone number, and before and after photos (by mail or JPEG) and contact us at: Success Stories, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30346-1301; or email Michelle C. Brooks, ajcsuccessstories@gmail.com.

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