Jamie’s 5K Challenge: From Fat to Fit & Flab to Fab

Published on June 13, 2011

Updated on November 4, 2019

If there is a word that I despise nearly as much as the “c word” (cancer) it would have to be the word “fat.”  After losing the baby chub from early childhood I was finally at a normal weight during high school, although my 5’3” frame and body type has always been somewhat “stocky.” When I went to college I gained more than double the “Freshman 15,” mostly due to the turmoil that my family faced as my sister, Sara, waged her battle against the cancer that would ultimately take her life.

Between my sister’s doctor visits, specialist visits, and many hospitalizations, my family and I did a lot of sitting and waiting. Fast food became convenient given our hectic schedules, and snacking outside of a mealtime seemed to take the edge off the wait to hear from a doctor, or to learn the latest test result, and provided some comfort from the reality of having no control over the situation we faced.  After Sara’s death in 2000, followed by a chain reaction of care-giving to other family members, I continued to take solace in food and became a perpetual emotional eater. By November 2004, I had gained nearly 100 lbs. from my emotional eating binges.

It was then that I faced a cold hard fact: I was using my sister’s death as an excuse to be overweight. This was a deeply disturbing realization since I had tried so hard to never use what happened to her as an excuse to not succeed in life. I finally decided if I was going to continue being a care-giver for my loved ones, I was going to need to help myself first. It was not easy, but from 2005 to 2009 I lost 60 lbs and maintained my weight.  I started working at the Prevent Cancer Foundation in March 2010 and I really got on board with the idea and effectiveness of cancer prevention and pledged to lose 30lbs by the 2010 Prevent Cancer Foundation 5K. I have now lost (and kept off) 90 lbs total, and am working toward losing an additional 30 lbs. by this year’s Prevent Cancer Foundation 5K event on September 24.

I am not a calorie or a “points” counter; these systems do not work well for me despite the fact that they are very effective for many others.  Although I believe the concept of “everything in moderation” I do not have the self-control to eat only one potato chip, for example. Who has that type of will power? There is hope for me though!  I am currently reading “Eat Right for Life:  Your Common Sense Guide to Eating Right and Living Well” by Dr. Ann G. Kulze who also serves on Foundation’s board of directors. Her suggestions seem easy enough and I am determined to follow through on them during my weight loss journey this summer. Although I will be talking about the book in further detail in future blog posts, here is a list of the five directives to help get you started:

  1. Do Your Fats Right;
  2. Do Your Carbs Right;
  3. Eat Your Fruits And Veggies;
  4. Select The Right Proteins;
  5. Drink The Right Beverages.

It seems simple enough, I can do this!  But, will I have to do it alone?  Is there anyone else out there who would like to share a weight loss goal or other health goal with me?  Feel free to leave a comment or question on this blog post or email me. I would love to have others join me on this journey so that we can encourage and be accountable to one another throughout the process!  It will not be easy, but our bodies – and loved ones – will thank us!  For more information on how you can reduce your risk of cancer, including living a healthier lifestyle, please visit the Prevention Page on the Foundation’s website. Consult your healthcare professional before starting any weight loss or exercise regimen. Hope to hear from you soon!


Is wine a “right beverage”? Don’t answer that.

Congrats, Jamie…proud of you!


Thanks, MCD! (And according to Dr. Ann’s book, with the exception of those with family history of breast cancer who should avoid alcohol consumption to decrease their risk of getting cancer, other scientific studies have found benefit to alcoholic drinks in moderation [no more than one a day for women or two a day for men] to decrease the risk of heart disease and ischemic strokes. Red wine is especially powerful in antioxidants.)


Congratulations Jamie! Dr. Kulze used to be our family physician here in Mt. Pleasant before she gave up her practice to follow her passion. She’s a very inspiring person! Good luck to you! You’ve come this far so you know how to do it!


Thanks, Jen! I very much appreciate your comment and words of encouragement! I hope you will follow along with me in this journey and feel free to stay in touch.


Way to go. Very proud of you. How will I know when you have updated your blog? Will I get a notification or must I come out once a week to see if it has been updated (never did the blog thing before).


Thanks, Billy! A 5K blog update will be posted once a week. You can sign up to get automatic updates for the Prevent Cancer blog in your news feeds and view through a web-based news reader such as My Yahoo or Google. Go to to select one that may work for you. Or worst case scenario, I’ll be making regular posts on my Facebook page with a link to the blog. I hope you’ll consider taking on the 5K challenge. Maybe the church youth or other members would want to do a “virtual walker” team to help raise awareness/money for cancer prevention and early detection screening research, education and outreach? Check out the 5K website at for more information!


Jamie-first and foremost congrats on your many successes. You have always been a true inspiration to me and I will always consider you the big sister I never had. Although we have somewhat grown apart due to distance and circumstances I will always have a special place in my heart for you, your family, and Sara. That being said I would love to join you in this newest of endeavors. Please feel free to email me with the details.


Jacque, thanks for your comment! I’m excited about your willingness to join me in living a healthier lifestyle. Feel free to comment on future blogs and share your successes and failures as you go through the journey as well! I’ll message you so we can share our goals more in depth. For additional information on how to lead a healthier lifestyle the Foundation’s website is a great resource! Please go to to learn more! 🙂


Hi Jamie,
Congratulations on your awesome achievement. I am so glad we have met and love the power of the internet for that reason.
I have always been interested in fitness and health and witnessed the power of both on health. My mom has been diabetic for about 50 years and works out every single day. I admire her dedication (she is so much more disciplined than I am) and at 85 years old I believe she is still with us despite all her health issues from Diabetes due to her exercising. My brother in law was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer about 3 years ago and exercises every day as well, and the doctors have said his stable condition is due to his exercise program!
So to make a long story short, exercise is paramount to good health. Keep up the great work. I love your spirit. You go girl!!


Hi Jamie!

I would love to join you! I have lost my mom and mother in law in the past 3 years to cancer and I want to do everything in my power to regain control of my diet and restart my workout routine. Ever since my mom’s passing, I was just like you had described, taking care of everyone but myself.

I hope by retaking control of my health I can somehow prevent my child and my family from once again feeling the pain of cancer.

Sign me up sister! 🙂


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