Tag Archives: 5k

Samantha Hillis Lost 80 Pounds – “Your body amazing. It can adapt to any lifestyle you choose.”

After her divorce, Samantha Hillis was suddenly thrown into the role of single mother. After taking control of her lifestyle, she lost an amazing 80 pounds. Samantha is proud to lead by example and she’s now enjoying activities with her young son that she never thought would be possible.

Samantha Hillis collage

More from Samantha in her own words –

Tell me when your weight struggles began. I have always been overweight. Growing up I was the only overweight person in my family. I had tried to lose weight many times with pills and meal replacements, but I didn’t change my diet so nothing seemed to work.

What habits specifically led you to gain weight? When I got pregnant I gained 80 pounds! I went from staying between 200 and 210 to 280. After having my son I lost about 50 pounds, but my diet still wasn’t on point. I ate fast food every day, and when I did cook at home we would eat fried foods or a ton of pasta. I would rather sit on the couch and watch the Food Network than go for a walk.

What caused you to realize you needed to change? Nothing ever fit right, and I was never able to share clothes with friends or my sisters. I hated going shopping because I didn’t want to believe that I was in a size 18/20. When I got divorced last year I went to the doctor. I almost cried when I saw the number 248 flashing on the scale in front of me. I had gained 15 pounds in ONE month. That’s when I knew I needed to get healthy for my son.


Ginnie Wade Lost 55 Pounds When She Stopped Looking for the Quick Fix

After years of looking for the weight loss “quick fix,” Ginnie Wade realized there was no shortcut, just hard work. Instead of joining an expensive gym or eating pricey organic food, her journey to a healthier life started with a ten dollar DVD. Now, 55 pounds lighter, Ginnie says she’s learned a lot and “really enjoyed the journey – mostly.”

ginnie wade

Tell me when your weight struggles began. I started to put on weight when I was working as a dog groomer in my early 20’s. I didn’t get much exercise and would go home exhausted and eat whatever I could find or stop and get fast food. Then I had my first child and gained about 60 pounds. I stayed home with her and found myself around food all day. When I was bored, I would eat.

I was able to lose most of the weight at a local gym, but not long after I got to my goal weight, I started putting the weight back on. I only changed temporary things and went right back to my old lifestyle.

What caused you to realize you needed to change? One day my sister and I went shopping for a dress and nothing fit. I couldn’t understand why. That day my sister gave me painful but needed advice, “You’re fat and you need to do something about it.” I had been hearing the same thing from my doctor. After hearing it from my sister I knew I finally needed to make some changes.

How did you lose the weight? I purchased a 9.99 fitness DVD at Walmart. Even though the DVD had been there collecting dust for a year, I brushed it off and popped it in the VCR. I started slow and did what I could, aiming for three days a week. I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. That helped me stay on track eating real food.


Kristy Brock Lost 93 Pounds after She was Diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and Started Running

Kristy Brock remembers the day she saw the scale hit 300 pounds. “I felt like I had hit bottom,” she admitted. “I had no where to look but up, and I came to a place where I realized I had to surrender. I let go of the food issues. I wanted to be an example of self-control, love and life, not loss of control and laziness.”

Kristy Brock used a combination of “real food” and running to lose an amazing 93 pounds.

kristy brock before after

More from Kristy  –

Tell me when your weight struggles began. Weight has been a personal struggle for me for as long as I can remember. I joined “Diet Workshop” in 4th grade and went from 90 pounds to 70. In high school I struggled with anorexia and bulimia. After high school I married someone who struggled with drug addiction, and I dealt with the stress of that by seeking comfort in food. I also had three children and gained weight with each of them.

What habits specifically led you to gain weight? I didn’t have any control over portion size, or what I was eating. I ate foods that tasted good and made me feel good. I felt like the food controlled me. I ate when I was bored, when I was tired, when I was stressed

What caused you to realize you needed to change? When the scale hit 300 pounds, it scared me. I had little to no energy, and had four active kids (two of whom are on the autism spectrum) to take care of. I started to feel like the “fat mom”, and was embarrassed for my kids. I kept thinking of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and how they felt about their obese mom.


Sara Kolling Lost 85 Pounds After Leaving an Abusive Relationship

If you’ve ever been in an abusive relationship, you know how it drains you of your spirit and self-esteem. Today, our true weight loss story focuses on Sara Kolling, a woman who had the courage to leave her abuser and for the first time in a long time, devote herself to her own well being. After losing 85 pounds, Sara feels stronger than she has in years, in more ways than one.

Sara Kolling Collage

Though Sara admits she was always the girl who was picked on and teased in school about her weight, she acknowledges that the pounds really started to pack on during the first year of her marriage. Once the abuse began, Sara became an emotional eater and says she just ate, “no matter what.” After three years, Sara finally sought a divorce.

The first thing I changed was no more diet soda, and no more eating after seven p.m.

On her own again, Sara finally got serious about wanting to lose weight when she got tired of her clothes being too tight, not being able to keep up with the students she worked with, and feeling like she couldn’t do even the simplest workout routine. She started by eliminating all the sugary, processed and junk food from her diet. The book, The Eat Clean Diet, by Tosca Reno was her first guide.


No Love for Georgia Race Bandit Who Crashed a Marathon for Selfies

Last week Kelly Roberts ran a New York half marathon and quickly became known as the runner who took selfies with hot guys. Inspired by the silliness, a Georgia woman decided she would do the same thing, only, oopsie, she snuck into the marathon and then bragged about it. A collective, “oh no she di’unt” was heard throughout the running community.

Selfie shenanigans may be tolerated but “banditing” will not.

The Georgia Race Bandit snapped this pic at the beginning and titled it, “The ‘Waiting to Start the Race in a Corral You Snuck Into Because You Don’t Have a Bib Number’ Selfie.”

Georgia Bandit 1

Beware the Bandits

In runner’s lingo, a “bandit” is someone who participates in a race without paying the entry fee. Some latitude will be given to those who jump in for a few minutes of jogging encouragement, but make no mistake, they’re still being watched. Spend too much time on the course and daggers will start shooting from the eyes of legit bib-wearing runners.

Frankly, I was surprised by the backlash. I figured people would write the Georgia Bandit off as a copycat trying to mimic a fun idea that had already been done. Since I’m a mediocre jogger, not a runner, I didn’t realize that within this fit band of brothers and sisters their lies a code. Thou shalt not bandit a race and bogart the swag. I’m paraphrasing, of course.


Dani Holmes-Kirk Lost 82 Pounds and Completed a Half Marathon on Her Birthday

Dani Holmes-Kirk has a smile that is infectious, and a personality that exudes so much happiness, it comes right through her emails. I’ve never met her in person, but I’d like to think we would get along famously, until she tried to make me run. Dani is a runner, a marathon-er and blogs about her adventures at, “Weight Off My Shoulders.”

It’s hard to believe that a few short years ago she led a sedentary lifestyle and battled an eating disorder. Today, Dani is 82 pounds lighter and she’s keeping it off thanks to smarter food choices and her rekindled love of running.

dani collage 1

This is Dani’s true weight loss story – 

When did your weight struggles begin? For as long as I can remember I was overweight. I can look back at a certain picture of me on the beach in my bathing suit when I was maybe 3 or 4 and thinking, wow, I even had a little belly then. I remember being made fun of in 7th grade and getting MOOed at by a passing car. The overweight mentality was burned into my brain for a long time.


Kim Emert Lost Nearly 100 Pounds – “I Signed Up For My First 5K and Never Looked Back.”

Last fall, Kim Emert ran the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon and finished with a time of 4:35:39. It was her second marathon and she did it with a 23-minute personal record. For Kim, the event was another milestone in her weight loss journey and proof that all her hard work over the last few years is paying off. The 34-year-old wife and mother from Tennessee has lost 86 pounds, and she did it the way you might expect a runner to, by pacing herself and taking one step at a time.

Kim Emert Collage

“I was average and active as a child,” Kim explained. “My weight struggles began later in life. After marriage, kids and my first sit-down desk job. I made poor food choices, overate and made excuses about why I didn’t exercise.” Like many women, Kim lost a significant amount of weight after her first child, only to gain it all back during her second pregnancy, which put her back at square one. “This wasn’t my first time on the weight loss wagon,” she said. “It wasn’t until my son was 2 that I decided to do this for real and for good because my kids and family needed me. I wanted to be healthy and active for myself and them.”

Kim has been successful with her weight loss because she started with the right mindset. Instead of using starvation tactics or falling for the get-skinny-quick promises of some diet programs, she simply relied on, dedication and determination saying, “I cleaned up my diet and started hitting the gym. Once I got into a regular routine I  took up running and signed up for my first 5k. I haven’t looked back!”


4 People Who Lost 480 Pounds! Our Fave 2013 True Weight Loss Stories

Happy New Year! Did you wake up this morning with a champagne hangover and the vague recollection of declaring that in 2014 you’ll get healthy and lose weight? If so, you’re not alone. Each year, weight loss is one of the most popular resolutions, and one of the hardest to stick with. At Diets In Review, we celebrate this dedication every Saturday with our True Weight Loss Story (TWLS) segment where we highlight the journey of men and women who have lost at least 50 pounds, safely, and without using fad diets.

True Weight Loss stories 2013

The True Weight Loss Story is inspiring to write and I genuinely root for these people who have fought illness, loss, heartbreak, injury and more, all to get healthy for themselves, and often their families. Once their story has posted I often wonder, “where are they now?” Recently, I tracked down four of our favorite TWLS participants of 2013 to find out.

Greta Funk –

greta collage resize

Greta Funk is our teeny mama of four who struggled with portion control and poor diet choices. After four pregnancies, the weight slowly crept on and didn’t budge. After seeing pictures of herself that she didn’t recognize, Greta tried commercial diet plans but eventually realized that she could have just as much success by using her MyFitness Pal app to gauge portions and make fruits and veggies a staple in her diet.

The picture below shows Greta when she hit her 500-mile run mark this year. Pure joy!

Greta way after

Today, Greta is maintaining her weight loss by running 3-5 times per week. She’s currently in training for the Disney half-marathon in 2014. “Last January, I made myself a goal to run 500 miles in 2013,” she said. “And by the end of December, I should be close to 650 miles this year.” Greta knows she has trouble maintaining portion sizes when she stops tracking but for now, all that running is off-setting any extra holiday nibbling. Total weight lost: 50 Pounds!

Eli Sapharti –

Eli Sapharti resize collage

Eli Sapharti was on a business trip when an airport cashier made an offhand remark that may have saved his life, “You know, you’re very good looking for a big guy.” Bullied as a child, Eli knew “big guy” was just a nice way of saying, “overweight.” By making small changes, the first being to eliminate soda and walk for just 15 minutes a day, he gradually lost pounds and inches. Instead of overwhelming himself with an overhauled diet and rigorous workout routine, Eli made changes he knew he could stick with.

The “big guy” is now a Muscle Club Finalist –

Eli Way After

Eli is a motivational speaker whose book, From Fat Boy to Fit Man, chronicles is journey and details the plan that helped him achieve success. So much success, in fact, that he recently made it to the top 3 spot (out of 330) in the Muscle Club Apparel spokes model search contest. Currently, he’s training for the Miami ING half-marathon.  “I truly hope this inspires and motivates others to realize that anything is possible if we believe,” he said. “Persevere and consistently take one step at a time.” Total weight lost: 105 pounds!

Angela VanBuskirk – 

angela van buskirk

Angela VanBuskirk is our rockstar who lost 70 pounds, TWICE! After losing a significant amount of weight with the help of a personal trainer, doctors discovered an aggressive bone tumor that destroyed her femur and hip joint. Though the tumor was benign, the invasive surgery to insert pins and a titanium rod, coupled with a lengthy recovery period caused her to gain back 100 pounds. In 2011, she found out she was going to be a grandmother. Though Angela was in her early 40s, she felt tired knew she needed a life-change. “I wanted to be the cool active Grandma GiGi who takes her granddaughter to Disney World,” she said. “I wanted to watch her be a kid, and be one with her.”

Angela finishing her 20th 5K race of 2013 –

angela way after

After losing weight with the help of a commercial weight loss program and walk/running program, she is just shy of her goal to be in “one-derland” (weight in the 100s) by January 2014. This year, she competed in TWENTY 5K races, one half-marathon and one 10K. She’s currently in training to run the Nike Women’s Half-marathon in Washington DC in April with the Leukemia Lymphoma society team in training.  Her mother is in lymphoma remission. Her advice for holiday eating: “Love the special delights that only come around this time of the year,” she urged. ” What you don’t need are those crappy cookies that you can eat any time. Save indulgences for the magnificent things that are truly a delicious treat.” Total weight lost: 75 pounds!

Josh Steele – 

Josh Steele - Before and After

Josh Steele has one of the biggest weight loss stories we’ve ever featured. Although his 7-foot-tall frame allowed him to carry a few extra pounds, when he tipped the scales at 600 pounds, Josh knew he needed help. He wrote to the Biggest Loser on several occasions but was never chosen for the show. Eventually, Josh embraced his own inner Dolvett, Jillian and Bob, and decided he could be successful by following the old-school rule of weight loss, “eat less and move more.”  He started with the Chris Powell Carb Cycling Plan and then just got up and moved – and kept moving – until he had lost over 250 pounds.

josh way afterJosh today after weight loss and skin-reduction surgery –

Due to his significant weight loss, Josh recently had 11 pounds of skin removed from his chest and stomach. Recovering from surgery has put a temporary damper on his gym time but he continues to eat “clean,” and work out as doctors allow.  In a few weeks he’s scheduled to take his ACSM certified personal training exam. After that, he’ll be able to train at FIT Personal Training where he lives in Wabash. He’s excited for the opportunity to give back, saying, “Once certified I will be picking a pay it forward client to train free for 6 months.” Total weight lost: 250 pounds!

If you or someone you know has lost at least 50 pounds and would like to inspire others next year, please send a request to Dani Stone at danistone1@gmail.com for more information.

Also Read:

Jillian Michaels Overtakes Weight Watchers on 2013 Most Popular Diets of the Year

7 Years Younger in 7 Weeks. That’s the Good Housekeeping Promise for the New Year

Our Top Food Trend Predictions for 2014


Start the Year with a Commitment Day 5K

New Year’s resolutions. Are you making one this year? If you’re like most Americans, you’ll resolve to take better care of yourself. And if you’re even more like most Americans, you’re not sure where to start. Consider starting on the first of January, with a commitment, a Commitment Run, that is.

NYE race

The Commitment Day 5K is a nationwide, family-friendly run/walk. The purpose is for people to help start a national conversation about living a healthier life. The races take place all over the country and have partnered with the American Heart Association to support their “My Heart, My Life” healthy living initiative. By joining in this run or walk on January 1st, you are helping the American Heart Association (AMA) reach their goal of improving cardiovascular health of all Americans. (No time to register and train? Commit to doing a 5K in early 2014 then use our guide to help you select the right one.)


How I Changed My Outlook on Running and Actually Grew to Like it

Growing up, the word running was synonymous with a few different words. Among them were torture, punishment, pain, and dread. I remember trying to fake being sick on those dreaded few days each school year when we had to run the mile in gym class. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to run – it just seemed so awful to me.

Fast forward to the year 2003 and I’ve decided to get in shape and join a gym. After a year or two of solely sticking to the elliptical trainer and the occasional group exercise class, I decided to take up running. For some reason, I always had it in my head that you weren’t a real athlete unless you were a runner. I wasn’t even really sure how one becomes a runner, but gave it my best shot. I can still clearly remember going for those first few outdoor runs.


I started off by walking for a minute, running the next, and so on. Then my runs got longer, I could run for one mile without stopping, then two, three and so on. In 2005, a friend and I decided to sign up for a 5k race. It was my first race ever and I was nervous! I set a goal for myself to finish in 30 minutes or less. I finished in 28:30 and felt great! I registered for a number of 5k, 8k and 10k races over the next few years.

I started increasing my mileage and started thinking about running a half marathon; it seemed like a really great challenge and realistic goal considering where I was at, so I took the plunge and registered for the Baltimore Half Marathon. I trained for it by running 8-10 mile runs 2-3 times a week (and shorter runs one other day). I felt good and strong and prepared for race day. On race day, my goal was to finish in two hours. The course was pretty tough with a lot of big hills. It was also great because there were spectators along the entire 13.1 miles cheering us on. I got a sharp pain in my I.T. band around mile 7, but just kept running, and my finish time was 1 hour and 58 minutes. (more…)