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University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus

University of Colorado Denver, Newsroom

1,700 Pounds in 16 Weeks

Lives changed as a result of campus weight loss challenge

By Andy Gilmore | University Communications 

The numbers tell the story.

During the four-month State of Slim Campus Challenge, sponsored by the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, employees, faculty and students from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and from CU Denver lost a total of 1,736 pounds.

Nearly 300 participants, including ones from Children’s Hospital Colorado and The University of Colorado Hospital, signed up for the challenge. Of those, 78 came for final weigh-ins and contributed to the astonishing results. The average weight loss was 22.27 pounds and participants lost an average of 10.55 percent of their original bodyweight. One man and one woman were each awarded $2,500 for their weight loss and for making changes toward a healthier lifestyle.

The transformational weight loss journey was based on principles featured in the recently published "State of Slim” book by James Hill, PhD, and Holly Wyatt, MD.

Justin, before and after

Justin Jaramillo was the male winner. Jaramillo, whose weight prior to the Challenge was described as “life threatening,” lost 96 pounds.

After attempting numerous diets over a period of years, Jaramillo began 2014 thinking that “State of Slim” would simply follow the “eat less, count calories, remove carbs, repeat,” pattern that he had faced many times before. However, Jaramillo confesses to accomplishing things he thought were impossible just 16 weeks ago. “My mindset is as new as my trousers,” he says. “I have transformed into a person who enjoys daily exercise as it refocuses my mind and fills me with renewed energy.”

Debra, before and after

Like Jaramillo, Debra Trujillo, the female “State of Slim” winner, believes the weight-loss Challenge has enabled her to achieve the impossible. “I have accomplished in  16 weeks what I have previously been unable to accomplish in the last  16 years.”

Trujillo, who shed over 25 pounds, is now able to wear her wedding ring, but she believes that her outward appearance is not the only thing to have changed. “I can climb mountains, both figuratively and literally, and possess a self-confidence which I never had.”

One obstacle that often deters people from exercising is the cost of gym memberships and personal trainers, but Jaramillo dismisses this notion. “My new lifestyle doesn’t require spending money,” he explains, “All that is needed is dedication, desire and the ability to tie a pair of shoelaces.”

Jaramillo and Trujillo’s amazing journey even led to an appearance on 9News. Along with Wyatt, both winners visited the studio to discuss how their lives had changed as a result of the Challenge. Wyatt informed viewers that “State of Slim” is not a diet. “It’s much bigger than weight loss; it’s a state of being, a lifestyle transformation.”

Both Jaramillo and Trujillo are eager to continue their hard work. “There is so much more I want for myself and want to experience with my friends and family,” Jaramillo said. “New notches in my belt have become the measuring stick of my success. ‘State of Slim’ isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle open to everybody.”

Trujillo says that, while she is aware that losing weight might not be unique, it’s been a life changing experience for her. She uses the words of Wyatt for motivation to maintain the hard work she has gone through. “I hear Dr. Wyatt’s voice saying, ‘You will never regret the decision to exercise, but you will always regret the decision not to.’ I have yet to regret making the right decision!”

State of Slim Campus Challenge figures

  • The average weight loss for fall participants was 22.27pounds.
  • The average weight loss for female participants was 20.18 pounds.
  • The average weight loss for male participants was 29.21 pounds.
  • The average of female weight-loss percentages was 10.36 percent.
  • The average of male weight-loss percentages was 11.21 percent.