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This Runner Lost 65 Pounds After Committing to a Veggie-Filled Diet and Peloton Classes

Runner’s World logo Runner’s World 7/27/2021 By Ben Crosby, as told to Emily Shiffer
a man in glasses looking at the camera: “I want other runners to know that despite your weight, if you run, you are a runner!’ © Courtesy Ben Crosby “I want other runners to know that despite your weight, if you run, you are a runner!’

Name: Ben Crosby

Age: 33

Location: Weymouth, Massachusetts

Occupation: Work for a power utility on energy efficiency programs

Time Running: Off and on for years, but fully committed 3 years and 4 months

Start Weight: 343.2 poundsCurrent Weight: 278 pounds

I had been overweight my entire life. I was made fun of and ridiculed throughout my childhood, and grew a pretty thick skin because of it, but it still stung. Despite that, I have always been active, and I love participating in sports, such as soccer, baseball, rugby, and skiing.

I always felt that my mind was more active than my body allowed me to be—and this bugged me. I wanted to run races, ski mogul runs from top to bottom, sprint with others. I wanted to be strong and feel strong. Instead, I was out of breath doing the simplest of things.

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To lose weight, I tried everything from the South Beach Diet, Whole 30, Keto, and intermittent fasting—and nothing seemed to stick with me. I ran and lifted weights, but I couldn’t keep it up. This impacted my ability to live the life I wanted.

I have a history of high blood pressure and diabetes in my family. When I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, I told myself I would not let my weight lead also lead to type 2 diabetes.

When I found out my wife was expecting our first child, I started running. My friend and sister committed to doing a 4-mile race in Vermont (The Heady Trotter), and I thought this would be a perfect event to kickstart getting healthier.

Running at first was overwhelming. It hurt, and I was disappointed. It took finding the right shoe for my flat feet, and a lot of encouragement from my wife, for me to keep going. It was humbling that I could barely run for two straight minutes.

But the main turning point for my weight loss journey started on December 1, 2019, about a year after I started running consistently. When I stepped on the scale for the first time in years on December 1, 2019 and it read 343 pounds, I knew it was time to buckle down and really try. I decided to start blogging and created my Instagram as part of the necessary accountability.

Once I committed to better eating habits after my weigh-in in 2019, running improved. Since I had tried many diets, I found that a simple calories in/calories out (CICO) model worked for my nutrition, including many healthy fruits and vegetables. When I was at my peak weight, I struggled with portion control, eating for my emotions, and seeking food for comfort. Since I have started tracking my food, I am more aware of the quantity I am eating. I still allow myself foods I love: pizza, beer, dumplings, etc., but I am now conscious of how these foods fit into my day and week.

Now, I aim to have 50% of my plate filled with veggies, and then I prioritize protein and other things after. I cut out things like cheese and added sugars, because the impact of sugar on my body is amazing—but not in a good way. I never thought I would say this, but I look forward to zucchini noodles and brussels sprouts!

I try to run three times a week and get in active, fast walks in three to five times per week as a lower-impact, cardio-building activity. My wife and I got a Peloton bike and membership, and I do low-impact rides, walks, and interval runs. I use the Peloton app for biking and outdoor run coaching, an app called ‘Running’ to do 5K training runs, and MyFitnessPal to track my nutrition in support of my fitness goals. I did a virtual 5K last fall to raise money for Parkinson’s Disease research, which was the first time I ran more than three miles non-stop.

I am currently going through a 10k training program for a 10k on Cape Cod in November. If I cannot complete a workout, I do a walk the following day, and repeat the segment until I am successful. I try to get out first thing in the morning before it gets too warm and too many people or cars are out. I find these races keep me motivated, and I’m hoping to race one or two 5Ks this summer and fall.

At the moment I am down 65 pounds, and I’m hoping to get to 100 pounds. I have tried to go ‘low and slow’—these are forever changes, and I have no intent on falling back to where I was. Everybody has their own pace, and fast weight loss only led to me gaining it back. Slow and steady has been winning my race.

I want other runners to know that despite your weight, if you run, you are a runner! And if you like it, the more you do it, the healthier you will get.

Running has helped me find strength in my body and my mind. It has helped me work towards things for me and things outside of me. Running has been therapy and pain. It helps me feel. Running makes me feel that I am more than the overweight person that other people labeled me to be. Running has a beautiful community of people who want to support us towards our goals. Running has equated to confidence and value.


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