There’s a reason why fad dieting often results in failure. Extreme eating and exercising habits simply aren’t healthy — or sustainable.
That’s why anyone who’s dropped the extra pounds and kept them off will tell you to make small yet meaningful lifestyle changes you can stick to for the long run. It’s what helped high school senior Michael Watson turn his life around.
Back when the Canton, Ohio, teen was a sophomore at McKinley High, he looked and felt much different. At 6-foot-4 inches, Michael weighed 325 pounds. “My self-confidence was zero,” he said. And mean comments from his peers didn’t help. One time, his classmate told him he had three chins.
But others’ opinions weren’t the biggest driving force behind Michael’s decision to change. He says it was taking an honest look at himself in the mirror that inspired him to adopt one major habit: walking a few miles to and from school every day.
Since then, the now 18-year-old has remained committed, walking about 20 minutes each way. Even if it’s raining or snowing, he refuses rides and even admits he couldn’t take the bus if he wanted to because he doesn’t know its schedule.
Michael, a self-proclaimed food lover who works at a fast food joint and studies vocational culinary arts, also started swapping comfort foods like pizza and pasta for healthier choices. And all that dedication paid off in a huge way — Michael has lost 115 pounds!
Not only is the once self-conscious teen filled with confidence now, but he’s even inspired the school to start featuring students’ stories in their “McKinley Senior Limelight.” Terrance Jones, a family specialist and graduation coach at the school who came up with the idea, says he couldn’t be more proud of Michael’s dedication to his health.
“It’s an example of courageous personal development that’s rare for a high school student,” Terrance said. “Mike’s decision to the initiative to live a healthier lifestyle and to stay consistent with it will always stay with me.”
After Michael graduates, he plans to work full-time, pursue a career in acting, and, of course, continue walking. For those looking to slim down as well, he has one piece of advice: keep trying, no matter how many setbacks you experience. Consistency and perseverance are key! Congratulations on your incredible achievement, Michael. You’ve certainly worked hard for it!
Share this story with others on their own weight loss journeys as a reminder to never give up.
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