I get a rush from running

By Bahar Takhtehchian

Sara's Challenge

At 180 pounds, Sara Morrisroe was already heavy when she started college. "I'd been overweight since middle school and didn't take care of myself," she says. All-you-can-eat cafeteria meals and frequent drinking stretched her waistline even more, while an extracurricular schedule packed with Greek-life activities gave her excuses to avoid the gym. "I joined a diverse sorority that welcomed girls of all sizes," she says. "They accepted me for who I was." By senior year, Sara had put on an additional 50 pounds.

Diet tip: My turning point

Reality hit home for Sara after graduation, though, when her 15-year-old brother was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and she lost her aunt to cancer. "Their illnesses made me reevaluate my own health."

Diet tip: My slim-down plan

That year, Sara joined a gym for the first time. She started slowly, completing 20-minute workouts on the elliptical machine. Before long, she was running on the treadmill. A combination of cardio, resistance training, and a low-carb diet helped Sara lose 38 pounds in 18 months. "I started cooking my own meals and loading up on veggies and lean chicken." Three years later (and another 10 pounds lighter), she registered for a half-marathon. "Crossing the finish line was the most exhilarating feeling ever."

Diet tip: My life now

Since 2009, Sara has completed three marathons and eight half marathons-and lost 30 more pounds in the process. "Competitive running is addictive," she says. "I'm always pushing myself to improve my times."

There are six things that help Sara stay on track and not put the weight back on. Get her weight loss tips here.

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