Name: Tram Nguyen
Occupation: Solutions Engineer
Start Weight: 190.6 pounds
End Weight: 155 pounds
Time Running: 1 year, 8 months
I’ve struggled a lot with my weight in my life. When I was around 13 years old, I suddenly thought that I wasn’t thin enough, and I dropped to 108 pounds—but the way I lost weight was disordered. My family started saying I was too thin, and the pressure from my loved ones, combined with other stresses in my life during high school and college, caused my weight to shoot up to 170 pounds.
I’m an all-or-nothing type of person. When I ate, I either consumed 500 calories a day and worked out for hours, or ate half a pizza, a 10-wing combo, and two bags of ramen noodles. I also yo-yo dieted for most of my adult life. Losing a few pounds always felt good, and gaining it all back through binge-eating felt shameful. At age 24 in April 2019, my weight peaked at 190.6.
I knew I needed to do something. Because I wanted fast results, I decided to try a keto diet to lose some weight before summer vacation. I lost 10 pounds through better food choices and workouts on a stationary bike—but then vacation arrived.
It worked well enough to take 10 pounds off via better food choices and workouts on a stationary bike. But then vacation arrived.
I planned to do a six-mile hike with 2,000 feet of elevation gain was planned, and I strongly believed I couldn’t do it. This was an activity I assumed only smaller people could do. And truthfully, when the hike happened, it was painful and excruciating. I stopped every 10 feet to catch my breath. What was supposed to be a four-hours roundtrip turned into eight. Looking at pictures of myself when I got home made me sad.
It was time to do something to become the person I wanted to be.
After some self-pity, I signed up for a company 5K for October 2019. For most of the summer, I stayed on the bike. I finally ditched it for walks on the treadmill in September 2019. Light jogging was incorporated a quarter-mile at a time. I hated every second of it, and counted each moment until it was over. But I wanted to prove something to myself by completing this 5K; it kept me going.
Slowly, I jogged a little more until I worked my way up to a mile. When that turned into three miles, I moved to running outdoors. I successfully finished my first 5K in October in 32:38. I was so proud of myself for that.
Also, I lost 10 more pounds, but I hadn’t been looking at the scale at all. This was an important realization for my journey, and I found other things that motivated me, like David Goggins’s book, Can’t Hurt Me.
In it, he shares his story of the Moab 240. That led me down a rabbit hole of researching and obsessing over ultrarunning. Learning about races Western States, Ultra-Trail du Mont–Blanc, and Leadville captivated me. I found myself saying, “I want to do that someday.”
The rest is history. I began working my way up, starting with a half marathon in April 2020 that was postponed due to the pandemic. But this ultrarunning dream isn’t going anywhere. It drives me, not weight loss.
This also turned me on to a healthier relationship with food. If I want to do these long runs, I need to fuel properly. I’m not on a specific diet anymore, but I focus on better food choices which is better fuel for the things I want to do.
I think the biggest difference I find in this is I cook more. I’ve tried incorporating meatless recipes, and I’ve discovered properly prepared salads. I also don’t eat processed foods or fast food much anymore. Snacks were also something I’ve limited. Chips were something I bought every time I went to the grocery store previously. Now, I limit myself to twice a month.
It’s hard to believe that two years ago, I was struggling on a hike; now, I do a long run of 10 miles each week. Every time I increase my distance, my confidence grows and moves me one step closer to that ultra. You really do get addicted to this idea that you can do anything and the human body and mind is capable of much more than we realize.
My shorter-term goals included getting my weekly mileage up to 40 miles and hopefully running the Houston Marathon in January 2022. I also want to finish a 50k by my 27th birthday. And my longer-term goal my be a pipe-dream, but I would love to run a 50 miler before I’m 30.
Running has given me freedom from the scale and a new belief in myself. I stopped thinking about the number on the scale and focused on the running, and eventually the weight loss was a byproduct. It has given me more confidence in all aspects of my life.
People say you can do a lot if you put your mind to it, but I never believed that until I started running. I recently did the Four Mile Trail at Yosemite which included 3,200 feet of elevation gain, and I’m proud to say that I was able to hike the entire way, and I didn’t feel the same way I did two years ago. It’s been a long road to get here, but it was worth every step.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io