Some stories are so compelling they command multiple retellings. Such is the case of the 110-pound weight loss through healthy eating and exercise by Adrian Crouch, 23.
To counter the resultant unhealthy obsession with calorie counting, she started running.
In August, she will learn if she won a cover model contest for a running magazine based on her story and the number of readers' votes.
Her success tale first appeared in the March issue of Fitness magazine as the month's "I Did It!" feature.
Anxious to inspire others, especially those plagued by childhood obesity as she was, the Port Vue woman also submitted her story and photograph to the Women Who Move section of Women's Running magazine.
The magazine advised Ms. Crouch to instead apply for its cover model competition.
In response to the question "What makes you run?" she detailed how running saved her life when it added a positive element to weight-loss efforts dominated by slashing calories to dangerously low levels. She said running enabled her to see food as fuel, rather than the enemy, and that today she runs for pleasure and to challenge herself.
On June 30, she was informed that she is one of eight finalists.
Her photograph and shortened version of the story she submitted appear in the magazine's "Meet the Finalists" and can be read online at www.womensrunning.com/covermodelcontest-splash. Readers have until Aug. 15 to cast votes for their favorite contestant.
As a South Allegheny Middle School student who, at 5-feet tall, weighed 180 pounds, Ms. Crouch pretended not to care when classmates' made hurtful comments about her weight, then she would go home and cry.
In high school, there were no dates, dances, or proms as, at 5-feet-4-inches tall, she topped 230 pounds. She also suffered from high blood pressure.
Three years after her 2006 graduation, and determined to lose the weight once and for all, she cut out fatty foods and snacks and adopted healthy eating habits. She began walking and engaging in other forms of exercise. The hard work paid off. On May 6, Ms. Crouch ran in the 26.2-mile Pittsburgh Marathon -- her first -- finishing mid-pack at 4 hours, 24 minutes and 42 seconds. She is now looking for a job after graduating with a 4.0 grade point average in the medical assistant curriculum at Community College of Allegheny County.
For Ms. Crouch, winning means more than a photo shoot in New York City and her picture on the cover of the November/December issue of the magazine. "I feel I have overcome so much and want to get the word out that anything is possible as long as you believe it is possible," she said.
Margaret Smykla, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.