75 Pounds Lost: Running Helped Christina Lose the Freshman 40
Name: Christina Ramos
Height: 5 feet, 7 inches
Before Weight: 220 pounds
How I Gained It: Growing up, I had always been active with some sort of organized sports, whether it was soccer, track or lacrosse, but I started gaining weight when I stopped playing competitive sports after high school. After graduating, I didn’t play sports in college and pretty much stopped exercising altogether as a result. However, I continued to eat as if I was still working out two to three hours a day, which was definitely not the case. Most students gain the freshman 15, but I started to pack on the pounds the summer before I even set foot on campus. My eating habits worsened when I got to college. By January, I had gained over 40 pounds.
Breaking Point: My unhappiness with how I physically looked and felt was consuming my life and affecting my college experience — I realized I was avoiding social engagements and missing out on opportunities. College is supposed to be the time of your life, but I wasn’t making the most of it. The tipping point was seeing photos of myself at my heaviest and coming to the realization that I was as big as I felt.
How I Lost It: Once I had decided to make a change, I found a friend who would commit to running with me four days a week. We would run or walk in all types of weather after our classes in the middle of winter in Maine. Eventually we began running more and more as the weather got better, and by summer, I was hooked on running and I’ve been doing it ever since. Two years ago, I started joining 5K runs to challenge myself, and the last October, I completed my first half-marathon in under two hours.
But running hasn’t been my only tool in my weight loss journey. After graduating from college and starting my first full-time job, I found that cooking for myself, balancing work and finding time to hit the road was challenging and I slowly began to gain the weight back. I joined Weight Watchers with my best friend in May 2006 to help me maintain my weight loss, but I ended up losing more weight than I had actually gained. I became a “Lifetime Member” in 2007 and have never looked back.
Most importantly, I’ve changed my lifestyle and eating habits in order to be healthier, not just thinner. I have to remind myself of that every day, especially on those days that I slip up. When I do, I just get back on program with the next meal or through my workout. My weight can fluctuate two or three pounds depending on the season, but instead of obsessing over the weight I try to focus on how far I’ve come and how good I feel. I keep a picture of myself at my heaviest weight with me in my purse at all times to give me the perspective I sometimes need to encourage myself because I’m determined not to go back.
My goals going forward are to try new ways to exercise and tone my body. I’ve started lifting weights and playing soccer, and I also do circuit training, spinning classes and ab workouts. If I can’t make it to a fitness class or the gym, I work out at home using my own set of weights and free exercise shows. As I see my body slowly change, it’s empowering to know I have the strength and ability to change my body.
After Weight: 145 pounds
Real change takes time — it took Christina several years to reach her goal weight, but she’s maintained it for two years.
Christina’s not the only runner — Billye also hit the road and it helped her lose 50 pounds.
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