In a personal essay for the Springfield News-Sun, an Ohio man revealed that he had shed nearly 200 pounds to ride a roller coaster.
On July 14, Jared Ream, a native of Dayton and roller coaster enthusiast, recounted how the construction of the Orion, a 5,321-foot-long ride at Kings Island with a top speed of 91 mph, inspired him to drop his weight. Ream, who grew up in Fairborn, wrote that he and his family used to visit the amusement park every year.
“Starting off with the Beastie, my love of roller coasters began to grow,” he explained. “I eventually graduated to the bigger rides like the Racers, Adventure Express, and even Vortex (RIP).”
Over the years, Ream developed a genuine interest in roller coasters, learning how they worked and who designed them. During that time, however, he also dealt with snark remarks about his size.
“Growing up I have always been tall for my age,” he wrote. “I remember when we went to Kings Island my mother would always say, ‘If anyone gets separated, then meet at Jared.’ I am a beacon to the lost within a crowd. That is still echoed to this day as I currently measure in with a height of 6’9″.”
Citing his work in the restaurant industry, Ream said he also struggled with his weight.
“It wasn’t until I decided to follow my passion for roller coasters that being a heavier guy started to become a major issue,” he wrote.
Ream said he first decided to take steps to lose weight when he wasn’t allowed to enjoy his favorite attraction, the Millennium Force at Cedar Point amusement park. As a result, he lost over 100 pounds and ended up traveling all over the U.S. to ride roller coasters.
But soon enough, Ream began putting on weight again after landing a desk job. He said he would have late-night meals and binge-watch television shows.
“Switching careers is hard, but going from a job that was 100 [percent] physical, to a job that is 0 [percent] physical can surely take a toll on you, especially physically,” he wrote. “My weight skyrocketed. All the good things that I was doing to keep the weight off went right out the window. Snacking became the norm.”
In the following decade, Ream said he missed out on a lot of rides. It wasn’t until he learned of the construction of the Orion that he worked his way toward slimming down. At the time, he was 430 pounds.
“If I was going to make my deadline, I couldn’t have cheat days,” he wrote. “I couldn’t have days off. Save those days for when something happens that is out of my control, because it’s bound to happen.”
Ream said he would go on morning jogs, eat healthy and make sure he would sleep well. He also took an extra precaution by leaving his video game system and television set in the garage.
“I kept track of my weight every day, writing the number down on my roller coaster wall calendar,” he recalled. “I found it very motivating to see the number dropping almost every day. If it didn’t go down that day, it was even more motivation to keep trying for the next day.”
By the time the opening of the Orion came around on July 2, Ream, who was invited to the roller coaster’s media event the day before, had lost 190 pounds, weighing in at 240 pounds.
“Not only was all the hard work worth it for my health, but I was also finally getting to now experience my passion again — something I hadn’t been able to do for many years,” he wrote.
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