Daniel Smith, 35, of Douglasville, Ga. lost 150 pounds.


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 Patty Murphy, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or e-mail Michelle C. Brooks, ajcsuccessstories@gmail.com.

SUCCESS STORY / Daniel Smith, 35: From 370 pounds to 220 pounds.

Former weight: 370 pounds

Current weight: 220 pounds

Pounds lost: 150

Height: 6 feet 3 inches

Age: 35

How long he's kept it off: "I started in January 2010, and made it down to 210 pounds in November 2011," says Smith. He reached his current weight in January of this year.

Personal life: "[I was] born and raised in Alabama but moved to the Atlanta area ten years ago. I am currently married to my wife, Janet," he says. "I have worked as a manufacturing engineer, but have been currently pursuing a Ph.D. in organizational psychology."

Turning point: "I have always been overweight my entire life," he says. "I have always had a problem with overeating and always enjoyed too much of the wrong kinds of food. When I had reached the age of 30, (I decided) that if I was ever going to feel comfortable with myself — I needed (to make) changes."

Diet plan: "When people ask about my diet plan I tell them two things: First, it is not a diet. Labeling foods as part of a diet plan suggests a temporary fix. Eating clean is a lifestyle plan. Second, you should be eating like a caveman: lean meats, vegetables and water. If the food comes in a box, bottle, wrapper or drive-through, then just say no."

Exercise routine: "(I believe) the best exercise routine is alternating weights and cardio every other day. I am currently on a three-days-weights, three-days-cardio, one-day-off week," he says.

Biggest challenge: "The biggest challenge for me was changing my perception of food," he says. "Before, I simply ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to satisfy what I thought was hunger. This was just an addiction. It was difficult to turn away from the food I loved to the foods I needed." On his lifestyle plan, when he's got the munchies, he reaches for nuts. "A handful of almonds cures everything. [They are] packed with good carbs, vitamin E, omega-6 oils, and omega-9 oils," he says.

How life has changed: "The only body I ever knew was the obese person of my past," he says. "Everything I experience now is completely new. I use this opportunity to not worry about the past that I missed and instead use it as a driving force going forward. Making such a drastic lifestyle change is something that can't be done alone — my wife has done this with me and she has lost 80 pounds as well." He also suggests that it's important to start where you are when beginning a weight-loss journey. "When we are born into this world we are not given an owner's manual on how to properly eat and exercise, so don't be discouraged (about) where you are at right now. Only compare yourself to what you want to be and not to (whom) you once were."