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Sara Rue: 40 Lbs. Down and Ready to Run with Valerie!

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Courtesy Jenny Craig

Being a spokesperson for Jenny Craig has been actress Sara Rue’s most challenging role ever, but it’s also been her most rewarding one. Since December she has taken control of her food issues and recently hit a new milestone–losing 40 lbs.! “I feel great and I feel very excited and hopeful,” Rue, 31, tells PEOPLE. “It’s pretty cool to know that however I want my body to look, I can have that.” Fellow Jenny Craig spokesperson Valerie Bertinelli tells PEOPLE, “I’m so proud of her. Look at her! She’s freakin’ gorgeous.” Anxious to “see what this body can do,” Rue has signed up for the Napa to Sonoma half marathon, which she plans to run with Bertinelli in July. “I never thought I would take to running, but I did a 5K recently and that went well! And I think I might be crazy, but my next goal is to do a half marathon with Valerie this summer,” says Rue. “I’m really excited to ramp up my training now that I’ve lost 40. We’ll see where this takes me!” Rue originally set a weight loss goal of 30 lbs., but managed to surpass that by considering her Jenny Craig experience as a lifestyle change instead of a diet. And she’s not done yet. “I’m going to go on and lose a little bit more,” she says. “The longer I am on the program, the less I have to think about it. It just becomes a lifestyle. It’s not like you’re on today, off tomorrow.” –Nina Tyler