Lequesha’ Brooks lost 71 pounds

Success story

Lequesha’ Brooks, 36: From 225 pounds to 154 pounds

Former weight: 225 pounds

Current weight: 154 pounds

Pounds lost: 71 pounds

Height: 5 feet, 5 inches

Age: 36 years

How long she’s kept it off: She started seven years ago, when she first moved to Atlanta. A year ago, she started boot-camp classes.

Personal life: “I am single. I have a nephew; he hangs with me in the summer. … I am a high school counselor working on an Ed.D in leadership with a concentration in curriculum,” Brooks said. She lives in Hampton.

Turning point: “When I got to Atlanta, I wanted to lose weight; I met Casi (Fields) last year.” She started classes with Casi’s Straight Military Style Bootcamp (casisbootcamp.com). “Getting started was the hardest part … especially during running week, getting up at 4:30 a.m., to get there at 5:30 a.m. So here I’m juggling work and grad school and now I’m interfering with my sleep time. … (Casi) makes us feel responsible for what we’re doing, how we’re eating and how we’re exercising. I am not a water drinker and now … I have never drank so much water in my life.”

Diet plan: “She actually has a meal plan. … It’s incorporating raw vegetables, 10 days with no meat … all the sugar is out the door — no pound cake now. I’m eating my green vegetables without ham hocks, just salt and pepper and Goya brand seasoning. I try to eat every two hours.”

Exercise routine: “I exercise five times a week, Monday through Friday, as my schedule permits. I try to fit in a Saturday class with Casi and I’m a member of a gym in Griffin.”

Biggest challenge: “Probably getting started and leaving sugar alone. I can stay away from bread, but I am a sugar person. … If I don’t keep it in my home, I won’t reach for it.”

How life has changed: “Life has been good; it changed for the most part. … I had to replace my clothes; I didn’t like the financial part of it. I met a whole new group of people who are working toward the same cause — trying to be healthy. You need support while you’re doing it.” Her secret to success was perseverance. “I tell my kids all the time: It’s not how you start out, it’s where you finish. … If there’s something you want, you’ve got to find a way to get there. … Don’t give up, don’t let go. … You (might) have to find another way — you can’t give up on your dream!”