Kennesha Powell, 36, of Mableton, Ga. lost 76 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,

SUCCESS STORY / Kennesha Powell, 36: From 278 pounds to 202 pounds

Former weight: 278 pounds

Current weight: 202 pounds

Pounds lost: 76 pounds

Height: 5 feet 4 inches

Age: 36 years

How long she's kept it off: "I started my weight loss journey in November 2013," said Powell. She reached her current weight in November; her ultimate goal is 155 pounds.

Personal life: "I am an operations analyst for the State of Georgia, Department of Human Services," she said. She lives in Mableton.

Turning point: "Even though I was embarrassed about my weight for years and had seen how extreme weight affected my family members, it wasn't until I stepped on the scale in November 2013 and realized I was 278 pounds — the largest I had ever been in my life."

Diet plan: "I eat five to six small meals a day. For breakfast, I make a homemade green smoothie that consists of kale, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, ginger, kiwi, celery, beets, flax seeds and parsley. For lunch, I have lean meat and veggies. For snack, I have nuts and carrots or fruit or a granola bar. My dinner consists of lean meat and veggies or a green salad. I allow myself to eat other foods in moderation on the weekend to keep from binging and feeling deprived. I use the LoseIt app to help track the foods that I consume."

Exercise routine: She works out six days per week. She lost her first 20 pounds through walking and exercise including squats, crunches and jumping jacks. She now takes hip-hop cycling classes and does strength-training in the gym at work. She works on the 26th floor of a 41-floor building. Four days a week, she climbs all 41 flights and then goes back down to the 26th floor. "Even now when I get to the fifth floor … it's still a struggle but I keep going."

Biggest challenge: "My biggest challenge was to believe I could do it. Therefore, I constantly prayed to God to help me with my unbelief," she said. Seven years ago, she set her sights on seeing her story in Success Stories. "I wrote up a profile…if a change was going to come it had to start in my head."

How life has changed: "I have more energy and confidence. I've become the co-administrator of a healthy eating group on Facebook for individuals in my hometown of Camden, Alabama. I'm excited about shopping again … I am no longer dependent on a CPAP machine that helps with sleep apnea," she said. "It was a mental thing; now I feel like I can do anything I put my mind to."