Chris Ho – Small Changes: From Treadmill to Boston Marathon


chris ho and the Boston Marathon

Chris Ho will run in the Boston Marathon today, but he got there by walking on a treadmill in a gym three times a week.

Actually, his first step on the road to marathon running was giving up soft drinks. The next step was not eating carbs after 4 p.m. each day. When those became habit, he started monitoring his portions and eating smaller meals.

“I used to go to buffets all the time because I thought I would get more for my money,” Chris said. “Buffets are the worst thing you can do for your diet. You feel like you have to eat as much as possible to make the price worth it, and the food served there is cooked in tons of salt, fat and sugar. I stopped going to buffets and started allowing myself one cheat day a week.”

All of this may seem elementary, but they are the keys to Chris’s success in losing – and keeping off – 60 extra lbs. What he realized was a diet will never work, but small changes that he could build upon do. 

“The main rule I tell people to follow is not to go gangbusters,” he said. “If you are counting calories and carrying a food calculator with you everywhere you go, is that something you can keep up for the rest of your life? When I started in 2011, I decided to start by giving up Dr. Pepper. When I combined that with not eating carbs after 4 p.m. and walking for 20 minutes three times a week, I lost more than 10 lbs. the first month.”

Chris readily admits that having one cheat day a week to look forward to helped him have the best of both worlds.

“You have to have a relief day,” he said. “You don’t have to give up sweets and beer and all the other things you like, but you can’t have them every day and expect to see weight loss. When you have one day to eat whatever and however much you want, you limit the bad eating to a finite time then you can go back to your healthy ways without feeling cheated.”

Just as dieting shouldn’t be extreme, neither should exercise. Forget boot camp and just start moving. Chris started by joining a gym and setting a goal to use it three times a week.

“I took my workout clothes to work so I could leave straight from the office and go to the gym,” he said. “I knew if I went home first, I wouldn’t go to the gym at all. There were too many excuses there – housework to do, bills, whatever. What I found was walking then jogging was a great release.”

He set two goals: first, walk 10 minutes then jog 10 minutes of his 20 minutes on the treadmill. Each week, he would decrease the time he walked and increase the time he jogged. His second goal was to lose 10 lbs. the first month. By making each of those small changes to his lifestyle, he lost the weight, met his goal and moved on to the next one.

“A lot of times, I hear people say 10 lbs. isn’t a lot, but when you go to the grocery store and pick up a 10-lb. bag of potatoes, you realize just how much you were carrying around,” Chris said. “When you can put your accomplishment into a real, visual and visceral experience, you know you’re on the right path.”

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Chris Ho is the account management director at Mass Enthusiasm, a full-service marketing communications agency in Little Rock. Equal parts artist and pragmatist, Chris has more than 17 years in the advertising industry, pursuing web design, development and branding campaigns for local, regional and national clients. He is an avid runner and pursues the slow-carb way of eating to maintain his overall health.

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