Seven months and almost 90 pounds lighter than when she joined NBC’s The Biggest Loser, Poolesville native Lauren Lee, 27, still goes to the plus size department to buy clothes.
“I forget I’m a medium now,” Lee told a group of beginning runners in Rockville on May 25.
Past contestants on the weight-loss reality show told her in time she will adjust her self-image. While losing weight, Lee dropped a clothing size every two weeks, she said.
“I am at my goal weight and now working on building muscle to stay strong,” she said.
When Lee entered the Biggest Loser ranch in California she weighed 246 pounds. She was voted off the show three weeks later, after losing 16 pounds. Her teammates rationalized that Lee was single and would, therefore, have an easier time than a married contestant sticking to the eating and workout routine she had begun on the TV show.
Once off the show, Lee’s goal was to win the $100,000 prize given to the contestant who loses the most weight at home.
Lee says she loves "setting goals and completing them."
Lee came close but did not win the prize, but she did complete her goal of being in good enough shape to run a half marathon.
“Running a half marathon was ridiculously hard,” Lee said. “I was exhausted and tired.”
In recent months, she has run in three, with the help of Julie Sapper and Lisa Reichmann, founders of Run Farther & Faster, a business providing coaching to runners.
Reichmann, of Gaithersburg, who said she is a fan of the show, contacted Lee through Facebook to offer help her train for a half marathon.
Lee had been sent home in November, but the show did not air until early January.
“She wrote back and said she would love some help training,” Reichmann said.
Reichmann and Sapper, a King Farm resident, coached Lee by phone until Friday, when they met for the first time.
The trained lawyers, now stay-at-home-mothers, are competitive runners. A mutual friend introduced them three years ago, and they formed Run Farther & Faster.
“We love to help people get active,” Reichmann said.
They work with groups at MedImmune, Montgomery College and, on Friday mornings, mothers at B’Nai Israel Congregation in Rockville. Lee gave the B'Nai Israel group advice before they set off on their first 5K run—Jeremy’s Run on Memorial Day in Olney.
Lee moved to Atlanta in January. An exercise physiologist with a master’s degree in cardiac rehabilitation, Dolvett Quince, Lee’s Biggest Loser coach, hired her to work in his Atlanta fitness studio. She recently became a certified personal trainer.
Reichmann and Sapper are now helping Lee train for her first marathon—the Marine Corps Marathon in October in Washington, DC. The B'Nai Israel moms completed the 5K run and left the May 25 class with a maintenance program for the summer.