She Committed to a 5K & Lost 65 Pounds

Erin Mullane knew that she needed to be a better role model for her daughter.

December 23, 2015
Erin Mullane Run to Lose

Erin Mullane hit her get-upor-give-up moment on her daughter’s first birthday, in 2013. 

“I was overweight, tired, and sitting on the sidelines of life,” says Mullane. Though she couldn’t run for a full minute, she signed up for a 5-K five months away, downloaded a couch-to- 5-K app, and committed to running three times a week. Since then, she has lost 65 pounds and has kept it off. She has finished three half-marathons and many shorter races. Though running played a leading role in her success, some of the most powerful changes she made happened off the road. 


More: How She Beat Depression-Driven Eating & Lost 50 Pounds

She ate more vegetables, swapped soda for water, dropped butter and salt, shrank bread and pasta servings, and started cooking more often than dining out. Pizza, fast food, and potato chips went by the wayside. 

And the 36-year-old found out what a lot of people do: Keeping the weight off was an even bigger challenge than losing it in the first place. “Maintaining my weight loss has not been easy,” says Mullane, a speech-language pathologist from New London, Conn. “It’s so easy to get back into old habits.” 

Though she was working out a lot, she was rewarding her efforts with extra calories that ultimately showed up on the scale. She spent time wondering, “How much do I actually burn on a 9-mile run?” and “Can I have that cupcake if I ran 3 miles? Five miles?” 

She ended up joining Weight Watchers just to maintain her weight, as it helped her keep track of her calorie consumption and burn to get the balance right. 

More: She Learned the Importance of Calorie Counting & Lost 60 Pounds

What’s worked for her? A just-one-bite rule for sweets. She doesn’t deprive herself of anything. But she takes one bite, then walks away. “Once a minute or two has passed, that one bite becomes just that,” says Mullane. “A satisfying taste of something delicious. If you allow that second, third, fourth bite, you are less satisfied. Because you might feel more guilty.” 


Taking control of her food environment has been key. When she’s headed out to book club, she takes a healthy dish so she’ll have at least one option. 

When friends want to get together, she suggests meeting for a run or a walk instead of lunch. When going out to dinner, she’ll pick the restaurant and preview menus online so she can decide what she’ll order before she gets there. 

She no longer stops for fast food. And she’s not afraid to splurge on healthier, but often more expensive, higher-quality cuts of meat, individually wrapped snacks, or precut fruit to save time. 

“I save money by not going out to eat much,” she says. “Spending a little extra at the grocery store is totally worth it!”

Excerpted from Runner's World Run to Lose