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Ryan E. Spears, 28, of Atlanta loses 51 pounds

Former weight: 248 pounds

Current weight: 197 pounds

Pounds lost: 51 pounds

Height: 6 feet 1 inch

How long he's kept it off: 7 months. Started in September 2008 and met his goal in January 2009.

Personal life: "I am a caseworker for the DeKalb County Department of Family and Children Services," says Spears. "I reside in downtown Atlanta. I have a very special significant other who helps me stay on track with my weight goal."

Turning point: "It was that moment getting out of the shower and noticing that I was not happy with the way I looked," he says. "I was always tired and didn't really feel like doing anything besides work and sleep."

Diet plan: "I noticed that whenever I am stressed or depressed, I was eating major amounts of sugar products, like sweets," he says. He learned to cut these things out of his diet. Tuna was his favorite food and he learned to eat it plain without added fat. "It became an acquired taste, but a lovely breakfast." Lunch is a salad, and dinner is steamed broccoli and ground turkey. "I am not a fan of water, but now I drink 3 liters everyday and try and have it done by 2 p.m."

Exercise routine: "I started off by power walking," he says. Every day after work, he would walk to Piedmont Park, then walk back home for a total of 10 miles per day, 5 days a week. Now, he works out at a nearby gym doing cycle classes and weightlifting.

Biggest challenge: "My biggest challenge for me was sweets. I love snacks and sugar," he says. "Also, I get bored being in a gym, so I change it up and do exercises outdoors."

How life has changed: "My life has changed very much. I am from Dayton, Ohio, and moved here in January 2008," he says. "Living in Atlanta, I always see people outside exercising, no matter what time of day it is ... it's a way of life and I love it. Now I am in love, and my significant other is exercising with me on a regular basis."

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 Suzanne Van Atten, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sixth Floor, 72 Marietta St. N.W., Atlanta, GA 30303; or e-mail ajcsuccessstories@gmail.com.