Training For A Half Marathon Helped This Man Lose 70 Pounds
John Bearstail, 45, of Lincoln, North Dakota, shares his weight loss and fitness journey.
I stopped being active in my twenties and didn’t take life too seriously; I was floating around 180 pounds at the time. Then, at the age of 28, I lost my father to heart failure and started running around in circles, eating and drinking whatever I could. I spent my entire thirties wondering when my time would come, leading an unhealthy life, trying crash diets to lose some weight. I weighed 245 pounds when I turned 40.
One morning I woke up with bad acid reflux, coughing and trying to get yuck out of my throat. After feeling better, able to breathe and swallow some water, I stepped on the scale and saw that I weighed 250 pounds. The next day I had the same routine, waking up coughing and trying to clear my throat, but this time it was 251 pounds. I was a little ashamed to have become so heavy. This was a turning point for me and I started looking for weight loss contests to motivate me.
At first, all I did was diet without a specific workout routine. My diet changed drastically, eating only healthy foods that my wife already liked to eat. She introduced me to a diet called “PFC Every Three”: it was a handful of protein, healthy fats, and good carbs every three hours. I had also packed lunches for the work week that seemed to work for me.
In one year, I managed to lose 31 pounds and maintain my weight at 220 pounds. I finally hit a plateau and couldn’t lose anything from just dieting. So I started walking and jogging on a treadmill for 30 minutes on weekdays. After about a month, I could tell it was working; running got easier and I started losing weight again and my diet improved.
At the end of the year, a friend of mine who was training for a half marathon said to me, “You should run with me at the Fargo Marathon. I figured there was no way I could run 26 miles. He went on to say, “I’m going to run the half marathon, might as well join me cause you know we’re not getting any younger!” We laughed and about a week or two later I agreed, signed up and started training. By the new year I had lost another 10 pounds and by the end of that half marathon workout I was down to 198 pounds. always eat healthy and love life again.
When I first started training I was basically using my training/racing knowledge.
At first, the weight loss contests helped me stay motivated because I knew I could win some extra money at the casino, but it soon turned into something more than that: I started to feel lighter, my heart rate was lower and I felt like my blood pressure had gone down. But mostly it was knowing that I was extending my life for my wife and kids with every race. I also spent a lot of time thinking about my late father Thomas Clyde Bearstail and my late uncle Bruce Hall, who won a few marathons while in the Marines. I run in their memory, to try to encourage and inspire others to try running a marathon, a half marathon, a 10 or even a 5k.
In four years, I lost a total of 71 pounds and am now holding on at 180 pounds. I feel great, and even waking up early to run and hurting in practice feels good. I definitely feel healthier. My wife Joelle and I, who have been married for almost 20 years, have grown stronger together in this process and I give her a lot of credit for helping me start this journey and also for supporting me as I continue. to train for the races. .
I certainly haven’t finished yet. My current PR is 1:44:32. and one day I want to race in New York and Chicago. Ultimately, I would love to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
My advice to anyone who is just starting to lose weight is simple: don’t give up! It may sound harsh, but it’s going to hurt, and you have to trust the process and trust that it’s going to feel good in the end. That’s what’s screaming in my head on all those long runs. Also, it is important to have a short and long term goal. The rush you get from accomplishing the short term goal will help you on your way to the long term.
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