Sara Robbins and Linda Sykes: These co-workers lost 85 pounds

Former weight: 185 pounds

Current weight: 135 pounds

Pounds lost: 50

Height: 5 feet 7 inches

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Linda Sykes

Former weight: 217 pounds

Current weight: 182 pounds

Pounds lost: 35

Height: 5 feet 10 inches

How long they’ve kept it off: Robbins started in January 2009, and reached her goal in August 2009. Sykes started in June 2009, and reached her goal in October 2009.

Personal life: Robbins is a partner with HRworks, a national recruiting firm; she lives in Midtown.

Sykes is a retired Marine and project manager for HRworks. She lives in Marietta with her husband and two daughters.

Turning point: “I woke up one morning and [was] tired of being fat,” Robbins said.

“I stepped on the scale one morning and was disgusted with the number of pounds gained since retiring from the military,” Sykes said.

Diet plan: They cut out fast food. Robbins took a nutrition class at Georgia State University. Sykes forced herself to eat breakfast. “I was amazed to learn I was not as hungry as I thought and that I did not need to eat as much food to feel satisfied,” Sykes said.

Exercise routine: “Along with me and Linda, we have a third co-worker that joins us for lunchtime workouts,” Robbins said. “Linda’s our drill sergeant.”

Both women work out at Body Solutions (www .bodysolutionsatlanta .com) five to six days a week.

Biggest challenge: “Sounds crazy, but maintaining is at times more difficult than losing,” Robbins said.

“I learned that the hard work you put in this week may not pay off until next week,” Sykes said.

How life has changed: “My life changed in 2009,” Robbins said. “My temperament, my approach to things, how I look and feel ... I had to report to Linda after my weekly weigh-ins. She also held me accountable and wouldn’t let me hide out. I’ve started a blog to hopefully help others, too [www.whatztheskinny .blogspot.com].”

“I feel so much better. I don’t feel tired anymore. I have more energy and [I am more] confident,” said Sykes, who credits the support of her family and Robbins as her secret to success. “[She was] always touching base with me after weigh-in or workouts and sharing new information that will help us on our journey.”

If you’ve made positive changes in your diet and/or fitness routine, 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, Sixth Floor, 72 Marietta St. N.W., Atlanta, GA 30303; or e-mail ajcsuccessstories @gmail.com.

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