Jamie Karras

This month we are featuring Jamie Karras, the overall winner of the Lose Weight in 8 Challenge. Jamie has worked for the City of Saint Paul for approximately eight years. He enjoys his work in Traffic Operations for Public Works, doing maintenance on the meters in the downtown area.

Two years ago, Jamie quit smoking. While he knew that was important for his health, like many other people who stop smoking, he gained weight: 20 lbs. Weight gain often happens when instead of reaching for a cigarette, ex-smokers reach for food.

Jamie is also a part time firefighter with the City of Maplewood. The firefighters must pass an annual physical. The physical exam showed he had high blood pressure that had to be treated. Jamie did go on high blood pressure medication but, as he puts it, “I don’t want to be on pills”. His doctor told him to lose weight as this will often help lower blood pressure. He then would be able to go off the pills.
Not being on medication was a big motivator for Jamie. He began a strict diet – no more fast food, cutting calories and carbs. He still occasionally treats himself to his favorite pizza and sometimes Chipotle, but not as frequent as before.
When the Lose Weight in 8 Challenge began, he thought, “Why not? I am determined to do this anyway so might as well join.” By the end of the eight week challenge, Jamie had dropped 21 lbs. – almost three pounds per week! He is not at his goal weight yet though; he wants to lose another 34 lbs. He is giving himself a year to do this. He is active in his work as he walks all day downtown and then also walks his dog in the evening after work. He is confident he will reach his goal by doing it gradually but consistently. Jamie was the winner of a Target $50 gift card for his efforts. Good job, Jamie!