Tim Christoni, 45, Food Service Distribution Manager, Rancho Cucamonga, California
How much weight have you lost? 90 pounds
What prompted your weight loss and transition to becoming an athlete? After going through a period of time where I had devoted a lot of time to my professional life and making my employers happy, I finally got around to figuring out that I needed to spend some energy making me happy about myself. I had to really start to like me if others were going to feel the same way.
How did you lose the weight? Portion control. Period. By putting less food in my mouth, I lost weight. Later on, as I started running, I figured out that I could eat more without gaining all of the weight back by running more. Later still, I found out that I could run father and way faster if the stuff that I put in my mouth was good fuel for my body. So it’s been a constant learning experience to find balance between eating the right amount and the right type of food to make my body look and perform the way I want it to. I’m still working on it though. It’s a never-ending battle.
How long did it take? Initially, it took me about 6 months to lose the majority of the weight. If you remain disciplined, it is possible to lose weight fast.
Tell us how you got started running, and how your path lead you from beginner to beast. I was feeling really self-conscious because I felt like I didn’t look good naked. A co-worker asked me to go for a hike/run on a local trail after I said that I wanted to get more active. I couldn’t even run a 2 mile downhill stretch on the 5 mile trail without stopping. Then I started meeting and running with people who could make the whole run and then some. Those people helped to motivate and inspire me to start doing road runs, half marathons, marathons, ultra marathons and Ironman events. Run with faster people and you will get faster. Surround yourself with badass people and some of that is bound to rub off on you.
Give us the gist of how many ultras, fulls, half marathons and smaller races you’ve completed. I’ve completed, one 50 mile ultra (3rd place overall-1st place in age group), one 50K ultra (9th place overall), 19 regular marathons, 19 half marathons (including one 1st place in my age group at the San Francisco Rock n Roll ½), 2 half Ironman events and a handful of 10 and 5k runs. I will compete in my 1st full Ironman in November of 2014 in Arizona and I am already signed up for AC100, in 2015, which is one of the toughest 100 mile trail races out there. This is just the beginning as I’ve only been seriously running for about 2 years now.
What’s your favorite part of running? My favorite part of running is the “runner’s high”. It’s that feeling of self-confidence one gets as they set a new PR or cross a finish line of a tough race. The awesome sense of self-worth that you get as someone tells you that you’ve inspired or motivated them to get out and get active or do something outside their comfort zone. It’s the satisfaction of seeing the scale move in the direction that you choose it to go rather than feeling that you have no choice in the matter. And you are able to get that runner’s high because of the stress that it relieves when you lay it all out there. It’s my version of therapy and it’s a whole lot cheaper than a doctor, counselor or support group.
What has been the hardest part of your transition from old you to new you? It took a while to carve the time into my schedule. I work full-time and it hasn’t been easy. But you’d be amazed how much you don’t miss that favorite TV show once you get yourself out there. It also has taken a while for me to start being social enough to join running clubs, triathlon clubs and go to group runs. But once I did, I found the people to be so cool. It’s literally helped change my life by surrounding myself with awesome people who share the same passion and drive to be better and do better everyday.
Most fun part of your weight loss? Feeling like I look good naked again.
Most rewarding experience? Being able to raise a large amount of awareness and money for cancer related charities through the generous support of the running community.
Who/what inspires you when you feel like quitting? Those who truly can’t be active because of illness or injury. It breaks my heart, so I always try to run part of every run or event with those who can’t on my mind.
How has this weight changed your life? I can buy clothes that fit my body rather than buying those that hide my body. I’ve gained self-confidence, energy to do more and more epic stuff, I’ve met amazing people who keep pushing and challenging me. Most importantly, I’ve been able to start to love myself again and, because of that, I‘m feeling the love from others for the first time in a very long time.
Have any advice for others who’d like to lose weight or start running? Be disciplined. Staying committed will bring results. If you cheat on your diet or running plan, don’t beat yourself up too much, but don’t think it’s OK either. One should lose weight to get to a goal weight. You should try to get to that goal as soon as possible. Once there, there is no such thing as dieting. At that point, you are simply fueling your body correctly based on calories in and calories out, while finding the right fuel to help you achieve peak performance. Always choose what you put in your mouth wisely.
Your must-have fitness equipment: Garmin 910xt and my Brooks seamless headband.
Favorite training song: Let Yourself Go – GREEN DAY
Favorite healthy food: Burrito
Favorite not-so-healthy food: Burrito (it all depends on ingredients, right?)
Funniest /weirdest/most awkward experience during your weight loss journey. Waking up one day and realizing that my underwear didn’t fit anymore because I’d lost so much weight. I had gone from a size 46-48 waist down to a 32 waist and was poking new holes in my belts. It was an expensive clothes shopping trip when I had gotten to that point, but I used a lot of the money that I would have spent on food and alcohol and had a blast buying all new clothes.
Future goals: IRONMAN (IMAZ November 2014), AC100, Western States Ultra Marathon, to stay within 10 pounds of my current goal weight for an extended period of time, whether I’m training hard or not.
Anything else you’d like to share? Feel free to follow or send a friend request to Tim Christoni on Facebook or Twitter. Run hills, they are your friend and are like speed-work in disguise. Run with faster people, they will pull you and make you faster. Surround yourself with great people, they will make you more awesome than you can imagine. Don’t throw hard work away. Set a goal and get to it quickly, then maintain and improve. Keep pushing forward. Never stop trying and never quit!
Tim, Congratulations on the complete 180! Our hope is for everyone who wishes to lose weight and get fit to experience the honest revelations you have, find an activity they love and pursue it all the way. You’re seriously a BEAST and we enjoy your regular updates and race reports on social media. Keep them coming! Fitz and the team at Fitzness.com