Ohio Man Loses Nearly 200 Pounds in Order to Ride Dream Roller Coaster: It 'Changed My Life'

Jared Ream was 430 pounds when he set out to lose enough weight to ride Orion, a new coaster at Kings Island amusement park

jared ream
Photo: courtesy jared ream

Roller coaster enthusiast Jared Ream would do anything to feel the rush of a new thrill ride — even lose 190 pounds!

The Dayton, Ohio, native, 35, recently penned a first-person essay for Dayton.com explaining how he was motivated to lose almost half of his body weight in order to ride a new roller coaster coming to his local amusement park, Kings Island, in Mason, Ohio.

According to Ream, he has always been a big guy — he's 6’9” tall and weighed over 400 pounds at his heaviest. Unfortunately, his size has often come in between him and his biggest passion in life: riding roller coasters.

“As any big and/or tall roller coaster enthusiast will tell you, nothing is worse than the roller coaster ‘Walk of Shame,’” Ream explained in his essay. “That’s the moment when you are asked to get off a roller coaster because the restraint cannot properly close around you because of your size. It’s painful, and I know all too well how it feels.”

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Ream prior to losing weight. courtesy Jared Ream

Despite his love for roller coasters (he describes his mind as “an encyclopedia of theme parks and coaster knowledge” and is a card-carrying member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts), Ream gave up riding them after he took on a desk job, and his weight skyrocketed due to snacking and lack of physical activity.

“When my weight was over 300, I knew there was no way that I could fit into coasters anymore,” Ream wrote. “My self-esteem dropped. My blood pressure and cholesterol ballooned. I stopped weighing myself because it just became too depressing. I stopped going to parks because I knew there was no point. Within the last 10 years, some truly amazing roller coasters have been built, and I’ve missed out on most of them.”

At that point, he had ridden 295 coasters — and had to give up on his goal of reaching 300.

But in August 2019, everything changed when he got word that Kings Island — the theme park he grew up visiting with his family — would be getting a new addition: Orion, a 300-foot-tall Giga-coaster created by Ream’s favorite coaster manufacturer, B&M.

jared ream
Orion coaster at King's Island. courtesy Jared Ream

“This was it. This was the motivation I needed,” Ream wrote. “I had always made a promise to myself that if Kings Island ever built a B&M Giga, that I would have to ride it, no matter what it took for me to do so ... I decided the day of the announcement that I would lose all the weight and ride it on opening day.”

And he did! On the day of the announcement, he bought a scale and weighed in at 430 pounds. Through exercising in his garage, restricting his diet, practicing intermittent fasting and getting eight to 10 hours of sleep per day, Ream lost 190 pounds over the course of 321 days.

He was invited to attend the Orion media event on July 1, the day before opening day (the park was originally supposed to open April 11, but was postponed due to the coronavirus), and walked in weighing only 240 pounds.

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Reim after losing weight. courtesy Jared Ream

“As we slowly walked toward the back of the park, I just kept thinking about how lucky I was to be there,” Ream remembers. “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.”

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After confirming he was the right size to ride the coaster by strapping himself into one of the test seats, Ream got in line for Orion. Then, he rode his 300th roller coaster.

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Ream in front of Orion. courtesy Jared Ream

“You couldn’t see it because of my mask, but I had the biggest smile on my face,” Ream wrote. “I was so happy and excited that I forgot to look around and enjoy the view. We were already at the top and began to drop down that amazing first drop. The rest flew by. Since I was alone in my socially distanced row, I just let my arms and legs fly wherever the coaster told them they had to go.”

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Ream on Orion. courtesy Jared Ream

When the ride was over, he rode it again. And again. And then one more time, trying out a different section of the coaster each time around.

Even though he says some people might not understand it, Ream knows that Orion was the motivation he needed to turn his life around.

“Just the idea of this coaster helped inspire me to change my life. I worked so hard just to ride this monster of a machine,” he wrote. “I can truly say it was all worth it, and I know I have the rest of my life to ride it over and over again.”

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