Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Story - Chris "Russ" Thomas

I am a food addict.
So when you are addicted to food you can become 400+ lbs, I enjoyed eating.  I still enjoy eating but realize now the high you get from food (and it is a high) is not worth it.  To have a 15-20 minute time frame when you are happy eating and then feel bad both physically and mentally for hours after or until you get your next fix is crazy…but that is how I lived my life for a long time.  Here is my story.
In 2002, I saw my doctor and his scale went to 400 lbs, but I was bigger than that. I was off the scale; I was on blood pressure medication and cholesterol meds.  I was 30 years old. I realized at this point that I had to make changes; the food and booze in my life were out of control.  I began by working out regularly with some friends.  I was 325 lbs in 2004 when Jaime and I married.  So at this point I had lost about 100 pounds through regular exercise and a better diet, still not good, but better.

Between 2004 and 2008 my weight was constant (about 325).  I continued regular workouts but diet was still not good enough to see more change.  I considered a gastric bypass in 2008 but decided against it. What I didn’t like about this plan was that physically, I wouldn’t be able to eat as much, but emotionally, I might continue to have the urges to eat. This is why people who have these types of surgeries gain the weight back, and I didn’t want to be one of them.
 In 2009 I went to iFAST in Indy…an awesome sports training facility and found two great “health mentors”, Bill Hartman and Mike Robertson. These guys are spectacular at what they do; with their help, we were able to increase the intensity of my workouts AND improve my diet.  I lost 20 pounds in 2009 so I was 305 lbs when we returned to KC in Nov 2009.
At this point, while much healthier than I had been in a long time (had lost 120 lbs in 7 years), I still needed to “slay the dragon”; that is my crappy eating habits.  I at this point did a couple things differently (see below) and continued with high intensity workouts with college buddy, Scott Lee at Coach Rut’s Bootcamp Fitness KC.  Coach Rut is an amazing coach! I lost 20 lbs in the first 60 days (140 lbs lost if you are still tracking).  I then sat down with my wife, Jaime and training buddy, Scott and found another useful tool in the on- going battle, we set goals then shared them for accountability.  Mine were simple:
ü  Lose 10 lbs in next 60 days
ü  Lose 30 lbs in 2010
ü  Run a half marathon                     
 Sounds easy, huh? Did I mention I travel weekly for work?  And moved back to KC “the scene of the crime” where all my buddies/family are with whom I shared many of these bad habits?       
I am pleased to report I was 245 on the scale today (December 29, 2010).  I have lost 40 lbs in 2010,making my total weight loss 160+ pounds in 8 years.  This year, I ran two half marathons, started a running club and basically got a new life, while losing an entire person’s worth of weight.  Not a bad way to have a KC Homecoming in 2010!

I have mapped out some 2011 goals to continue with my success and am always looking for a new challenge.  Below are a few tips and advice I’ve gained over my continued battle. I’m hoping they can help you…
Have a Healthy Support Network- I think “healthy” is contagious.  If you read in my story the network of friends, family, coaches/trainers has been invaluable.   A special thanks to my wife Jaime and training partners Suzy Hay and Scott Lee.  You will be amazed what can happen when you surrounding yourself with positive, healthy people.
Set, Write Down, Keep, and Tell Others about your GOALS – Not only will a well-thought out goal tell you where you’re headed, but once you achieve it, you can look back and realize how well you’ve done.
Get Accountable – Pick a person you know who encourages you, but more importantly, is allowed to push you when you don’t really want to hear it, that you’re messing up on your goals. Better yet, pick a few people.
 “You can’t out exercise a bad diet”- Bill Hartman (IFAST)-  This piece is so critical; I was busting my butt at 5:00 am workouts but not seeing results, it all came down to eating less and eating quality foods, not “food like substances” (I am talking to you Pop Tart!)
Keep a Food Diary- I have done a two week food diary 4-6 times in the last 18 months.  When you start logging and measuring out your portions and food selections you can see how a diet you may think is good can really be crappy as it was in my case.
Thanks for taking the time to read. If I can be helpful, please contact me at 


  1. Way to go, Russ! It's great that you are sharing your journey!

  2. Russ, I'm so proud of you! You have gone about this the right way and can be an inspiration to so many of us. Keep up the great progress and keep us all posted on your progress. Good luck in 2011!

  3. Fabulous journey!!! Thanks for sharing your A-MA-ZING story!!!

    I see somebody wearing a Nebraska Huskerhat in your header!! My homestate!

  4. Great job man. Keep up the good work and I am sure you will meet all of your goal in 2011!!!

  5. @Jess- Thanks for reading! My wife and I lived in Lincoln, NE for two years due to a job transfer. Other than the bone chilling wind we really liked Lincoln.

    @DoBo/Steph/Renee- Thanks for all the kind words!

  6. Nice job! Keep up the good work and you will get there. I enjoy reading of others having success in loosing weight and getting off the couch. Congrats and keep it up.

  7. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. You will absolutely motivate a lot of people who think they can't run because they don't look like the runners on tv. Amazing!

  8. Russ,

    What a great accomplishment. It was fun running with you in Manhattan. Keep up the good work and I look forward to running with you again this year.

    Penny, the one who made you do those hills!

  9. Russ,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Jay R. from DailyMile sent me a link. You are very inspiring. I'm finding my way back from being morbidly obese (5'2" and over 350). My first half marathon is in November. Nervous but I think I can do it.

    Your advice is wonderful and very true - especially the not being able to out exercise a bad diet.

    Again, thank you for sharing your story!