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Published April 04, 2013, 11:36 PM

Holt: Reluctant runner feels her best at 40

FARGO - Audra Kutz says she looked older at 30 than she does at 40, and she credits her healthy lifestyle. “If you’re working out and eating right, you can wear a burlap sack and wash your face with soap and you’ll look great,” she says.

By: Meredith Holt, INFORUM

FARGO - Audra Kutz says she looked older at 30 than she does at 40, and she credits her healthy lifestyle.

“If you’re working out and eating right, you can wear a burlap sack and wash your face with soap and you’ll look great,” she says.

The 40-year-old Fargo woman lost the 50 pounds she gained in her 20s, and she’s kept it off for five years.

“I didn’t start working out until I was 34 years old. Now I’m 40, and I look better than I ever have in my life,” she says.

Audra first started making changes before her 2007 divorce from her first husband.

“My marriage was crumbling. I was overweight and frustrated, and who knows why, but I joined the Y and thought, ‘I need to do something,’ ” she says.

A friend who’d lost weight told Audra, who admits she hated running, to just run at a pace she could sustain for 20 minutes.

So Audra started jogging at 3.5 miles an hour.

“The first time I ran for 20 minutes, I almost died, but I did it, and I just kept going from there,” she says.

Within a year, she was cruising along at 6.6 mph.

Now she runs at that pace (or faster!) for three miles three times a week on her treadmill at home.

“I believe that everyone is a runner. Everyone. And anyone can be a runner,” she says.

Audra, who started out at a size 16 and now wears a 6, says she couldn’t have done it without music.

“I just go into my mind, and I know three songs is about a mile when I’m running outside,” she says.

Her fiancé, whom she met when their daughters had a sleepover, is also a runner. In fact, they went for a jog on their first date.

“It’s a lot of fun having a companion who prioritizes fitness and who supports you and participates in it with you,” she says.

Her longtime best friend also runs, and convinced Audra to mark their 40th birthdays by running the Mankato, Minn., half- marathon last October.

Even with Audra limping the last two miles, they finished in two hours and 19 minutes.

Audra says her best friend, a mother of five girls, has always kept her health a priority. And with two daughters of her own and plans to adopt her fiancé’s, Audra says if they can make time to exercise, anyone can.

“When you invest in yourself, you’re happier, you have more energy, and the time you do spend with your children is better quality,” she says.

Since Audra works full time in software sales from home, she can more easily fit in her workouts.

“I don’t feel guilty for taking a morning break and running three miles because it makes me a better employee,” she says.

Add to her running routine twice-a-week strength-training sessions and food guidance from Weight Watchers.

“I had no idea how many calories I was consuming, and Weight Watchers helped me figure out I was eating at least twice the amount of calories I needed,” she says.

Audra calls her diet “lean and green” with limited carbs and no soda, but she treats herself once in a while to her favorite movie snack – popcorn with M&M’s.

“Life has to be balanced intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and physically, and every single day, you need to feed each area of your life,” she says.

Audra’s advice for anyone hesitant to get moving is to make it fun and don’t worry about what others are thinking or saying.

“Think of exercise as a reprieve – it’s a mini vacation that’s all about you and taking care of yourself, and the benefits in the long run are phenomenal,” she says.

Do you have a weight-loss story to tell? Email me at mholt@forumcomm.com.


Forum reporter Meredith Holt has lost 105 pounds since May 2010. She will share stories of her weight-loss journey in her column, which runs the first and third Friday of each month in SheSays. Readers can reach her at (701) 241-5590.

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