A Running Plan Helped This New Dad Drop 45 Pounds and Transform His Body

·4 min read
Photo credit: Courtesy Trevor Denton
Photo credit: Courtesy Trevor Denton

Name: Trevor Denton
Age: 37
Hometown: Mesa, Arizona
Occupation: Video Producer
Start Weight: 265 pounds
End Weight: 220 pounds
Time Running: 3 years and 8 months

In junior high, I ran my first timed mile—it took me something like 14 minutes. I was ashamed of being overweight and slow, so I leaned on my strength, which was music. I played and sang in bands through my 20s, drank pretty heavily, smoked a lot of cigarettes and weed, and hung out at the venues I usually played at—dive bars.

In my 30s, I married my wife, Ashley, and we basically did those same things. But when I was 34, our first son, Otis, was born, and I realized I needed to make better choices with my time. The path I was walking was probably leading me to an early death, and I didn’t want to pass the same issues and patterns of not dealing with them down to my son. Thinking about the impact my actions would have on my kid in the years and decades to come was humbling enough to transport me back to my young teenage self and conquer that mile that had conquered me all those years.

I did my first run as an adult in November 2017. I was drawn to running by the challenge, and at my age you get the feeling you’re running out of things to start doing. I felt great when I started; I was building this internal understanding that if I just kept doing something, kept working and stayed consistent, I could do whatever I choose to do. Challenging myself physically was exhilarating, even if it felt awkward. But comfort in running came quickly, and I felt at home in the running community in almost no time.

While the birth of my son got me out on the street running at 265 pounds, I also do it for my mental health, as well. Last year, I was diagnosed with ADHD, and I realized running helped me put the pieces together for my diagnosis.

Soon, I decided to train for a 5K. I ran three days a week, and followed a Couch-to-5K training plan on the Endomondo app, which no longer exists. It was really cool to see how easily my speed and distance increased as my weight went down. As soon as I could run/walk the 5K distance, I signed up for a 5K race at midnight on New Year’s Eve. That first 5K was a transformative experience, and I haven’t stopped signing up for races since then!

Right now, I’m running about four times a week, trying to up my mileage to attain my goal of running a 50K ultramarathon in 2022. I’m also really excited to meet and train with teammates on team RADrabbit.

Combined with running, I also made some diet adjustments. Before, I just kinda ate a little of everything all the time—more out of boredom or habit or even food addiction. Now, I have much better portion control and am usually better at eating mindfully and listening to when my body is hungry/full.

I also eat a ton of fruit. Some diets will tell you to limit fruit because of sugar, but I’m comfortable eating a whole watermelon in one day, or indulge with a couple late night bananas or peaches before bed. I also ditched some dairy, and I started buying unsweetened almond milk and Silk almond coffee creamer, which are both a fraction of the calories of their dairy versions. This change made me have fewer digestive problems.

I also started to meditate. Mindfulness has also been a huge part of my being able to move the scale needle down. Just in the last decade or two, science has confirmed with more and more certainty that meditation has measurable, beneficial effects on the human brain. It’s an invaluable tool that costs only the time it takes to do it.

During my first stretch of running at 34 years old, I lost 40 pounds. But I gained it back. Then subsequently, during my current journey, I have lost 45 pounds.

In my three and a half years of running, I have not suffered even as much as a minor injury. (Cuts and scrapes? Yes.) And I truly believe it’s because I listen to my body and respond to its needs and alarms, at times to the detriment of my running progress. Don’t let your pace make you do something that may keep you from running for a while.

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