Name: Eric and Leah Evans
Married: 16 years
Hometown: Ovid, Michigan
Total Weight Loss: 143 Pounds (Eric 78, Leah 65)
Time Running: 1 year
We needed to lose weight. I (Eric) was 303 pounds (137.4 Kg). I drive semi and freight trucks regionally, and when I was at my annual physical exam to allow me to drive, my doctor told me that I was close to not passing.
The test included your usual physical exams, like vision and hearing, but my problem was my high blood pressure. The highest reading you can have and still pass is 150 over 90, and mine was right up there. If you don’t pass, they don’t let you drive the trucks.
My wife, Leah, was on similar path. She had started to lose weight before this. Having four kids and adopting one had taken its toll and, as she says, she gained weight pretty quickly taking care of them and neglected herself. She started eating better and joined a gym. So she was well on her journey when I decided to start mine. But even though Leah had a head start, we decided to take on this journey together.
We have been together since 7th grade. I passed Leah a note in science class when she sat in front of me that said, “Will you go out with me?” For some reason, she said yes. We got married right after high school, and now have five kids. We wanted our journey to go on, so we decided we needed to lose weight to make that happen.
We joined a gym, hired a trainer, started eating better, and started running. The running was my favorite part. I discovered that when my daughter, who does cross country, had a fundraising 5K with her team in July 2017. I had never done a 5K and it seemed impossible, but we did it. I finished in about 42 minutes, but I loved that I had done it.
I’ve done a few half marathons now and prefer longer distances, whereas Leah sticks to the 5Ks. That’s what works for both of us. We train together every week and if she needs to go faster like she likes to, then off she goes. And if I want to go longer on a run, she simply turns around earlier.
Our greatest success so far has been breaking 30 minutes in the 5K. Leah just did that recently, and I had done it not too much longer before. It was incredible, and we knew we wouldn’t have been able to do it without each other’s help and encouragement along the way.
The best part of it all is that we’ve lost weight. We feel great and have much more energy to do activities we never thought we could do before, like hiking or even running mountains. We credit that to exercising at the gym, running, and eating clean as much as possible, which has spread to our kids— they often now grab fruit over unhealthy snacks.
Now that we’re on the right track, we want to keep going. My goal is to stick to half marathons this year, but my heart is really set on doing the 2019 Chicago Marathon. Leah wants to stick to the 5Ks, but to cut off a few more minutes to hit the 24 to 25 minute times.