Q&A With Marcia Noyes: Weight Loss and Loose Change

by Kristi Eaton on March 11, 2011

There’s no two ways about it: Losing weight can be expensive. There’s the pricey gym membership, the extra cost for eating fruits and vegetables over the $3 bag of Doritos and, once it’s all done, the small fortune on a new wardrobe to show off your hard work. But Coloradan Marcia Noyes, director of Public Relations for Healthagen, the developer of a health care app, came up with a unique way to earn money while losing close to 50 pounds and trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Here, she shares her story.

OOTS: Could you tell me a little bit about your weight loss journey?

Noyes: It started as far as making a decision to run the marathon. I had lost some weight before that.  So in 2009, I weighed about 243 pounds. My daughter got me started walking again and running again. So I dropped about 30 pounds. I kind of stayed at that level through last winter. And then June 27 is when I decided, I am 50, and I really want to finish this goal that I had set when I was 17.  So that is when I started losing weight at that point. I was 217 and now I am down to 171.

OOTS: Why did you decide to try to run the marathon?

Noyes: I had run five before, the last in New York City in 2000. I have always enjoyed running. I got interested in 1978, when I was asked to write a research paper on any topic I wanted.  At that time Frank Shorter and Bill Rogers were in the news — they had won Boston. They were just top stories in the news. So I decided to do a story on women and long distance running.  I did a lot of research on that. I interviewed a lot of long-distance runners and just started running at that point. I was always a heavy, heavy teenager and lost a little weight. It has always been a strong interest for me because it is kind of something anyone can do. That is my primary exercise through all those years.

OOTS: A long the way when you run, you pick up loose change?

Noyes: Yes, I kind of use it as a motivator and I would make it, if I am going to run 10 miles, I have to find at least find 10 cents — at least it a penny a mile.  There is a place in Colorado called Red Rocks. Red Rocks is an outdoor amphitheater. They have concerts there Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays on most days during the summer. If you know where to look the place is filled with change. I kind of have perfected how to get that change out between the seats and things like that.  It is actually concrete with a couple of wooden things that I would call the risers, and change will fall out of your pocket and it will fall between there. So I figured out how you get it out of there. I would say on most days, and I don’t run that anymore because it is only five miles — if you take every stair down and all the way back up, and I am way past that now — but when I was doing the majority of my running during the summer, I did that once or twice every week.  And it was at least $3.50 every time I ran.

OOTS: Where did you carry the money when you found it?

Noyes: I would run with a waist pack that had my water and I would just throw it in my waist pack.

OOTS: The total was how much?

Noyes: $49.28 in seven and a half months.

OOTS: Have you spent that money?

Noyes: I did turn it in to the bank and got dollars for it, and I will take it to Austin with me next week and spend it while I am down there.

OOTS: Any other way you have saved money by losing weight?  You mentioned saving on lunch and dinner.

Noyes: When I started this, I only ran once a day, but this coach who is trying to help me qualify for Boston wanted me to run in the morning and also at lunch time.  So where I used to go out to eat or eat here, now I had to run and just quickly eat at my desk. So I had to bring my lunch every day just to be able to eat, because I spent an hour running and I was reading at lunch real quick.  So for the time I have been training for this, I have not been eating out at all. How much I have saved is hard to say. Most people spend about $10 every time they go out to eat for lunch. That is a minimal. That added up over a long time, sure has made a difference.

OOTS: You did have to spend some money due to the weight loss, though, correct?

Noyes: Yes, all the clothes I have had to buy, the shoes that I go through. It doesn’t pay to lose weight. It is certainly emotional and I feel good again. I feel a lot better. It is nice along the way to have made some money, to save some money because it is costly to lose weight. I couldn’t even tell you how much I have spent on clothes, but the things that I do is buy clothes at resale shops and only good quality. You know like Ralph Lauren is the brand I like to wear. As soon as I get out of it, I take it to the resale shop. I buy it at thrift stores and then resale it at a resale shop. It is usually for the same amount of money that I paid for it.

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