Running his way to good health

Seth Willmoth

For years, Seth Willmoth was a fast food junkie who super-sized sodas and dined daily on burgers.

At restaurant buffets, he would fill his plate and then go back for more, again and again. On any given day, the 28-year-old consumed more than 4,000 calories.

He tried to lose weight, but could never stick with a diet.

Then last spring, at 378 pounds, something clicked.

“I cut out the fast food and started making healthier choices,” said Willmoth, Assistant Director of Maintenance at UNTHSC. “By the summer, I was running every day.”

He kickstarted his regimen by participating in Team Lose It, an exercise and nutrition program offered by UNTHSC to employees with a Body Mass Index of 32-plus. It’s part of the University’s commitment to improving community health.

When he competes in the Cowtown Half Marathon on March 1, Willmoth will be 100 pounds lighter. For a man who loves food and is hardly hooked on running, it will be quite an accomplishment after a challenging year.

“When I first started jogging, I couldn’t go two-tenths of a mile before I had to stop and walk,” Willmoth said. “Now I run 27 to 28 miles a week.”

Chelsea Barron, Health Promotion Associate at UNTHSC, said she noticed when Willmoth made a very deep mental switch.

“His daily effort continued over a long time and is ultimately the reason for his success,” she said.

After losing 20 pounds, he began running daily. By September, he was running further, spurred on by competition from his co-worker Jason Hartley.

“Every week we would add a mile or longer until we got to eight miles and decided if we could do that we could run a half marathon,” Willmoth said.

When he participates in the Cowtown, of which UNTHSC is a founding sponsor, wife Tamara will be cheering him on. An avid runner and physician assistant who graduated from the Health Science Center in 2012, she is skipping the race because she is pregnant with the couple’s first child.

While the baby is certainly motivation to stay healthy, Willmoth said he’s already committed to staying fit for the rest of his life.

“I still don’t like running that much,” he said. “But if I don’t do it I feel so much worse.”

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