Health

This Teen Lost More Than 100 Pounds While Walking To School Every Day

Way to go!

Two years ago, Michael Watson was in a rut. The 6-foot-4-inch teen weighed 335 pounds and was often bullied about his weight.

“My self-confidence was zero,” Watson, who turned 18 on May 15, told CNN.

As a junior at his Canton, Ohio, school, the teen decided to make a commitment to walk to and from school every day, about 20 minutes each way.

He also made some changes in his diet.

When he walks across the stage at graduation later this month, the McKinley High senior will be 115 pounds lighter.

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He Walked To And From School In The Rain And Snow

One low moment came when a classmate told Watson he had something on his chin. When Watson rubbed his chin, the boy told him, “‘No, third one down,'” Watson said. “That really hurt.”

Moments like that fueled his walking.

Even if Watson wanted to take a day off, he couldn’t.

“I didn’t even know when the bus came,” he said.

And on days when it was raining, people would ask if he wanted a ride. Michael declined.

Michael Watson/Trevor Jones

In addition to the walking, the student made a commitment to dieting, which especially took discipline when he was working his after-school job at a fast-food restaurant.

The boy who was too afraid to approach girls now says he’s surging with confidence. After the weight loss, he has no problem asking one out.

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The School Is Using His Story To Inspire Others

Terrance Jones, who works as a family specialist and graduation coach at the school, told CNN that Watson’s story stuck with him.

“It’s an example of courageous personal development that’s rare for a high school student,” Jones said.

“Mike’s decision to take the initiative to live a healthier lifestyle and to stay consistent with it will always stay with me.”

Jones said Michael’s story was the catalyst for him to create a “McKinley Senior Limelight” on Facebook to showcase students’ stories.

Michael himself was featured in the Limelight, according to this post on the Canton City School District’s Facebook page:

Michael is in his school’s vocational culinary arts program. He plans to take a full-time job after graduation, and after being inspired by a drama course he took last year, plans to pursue a dream of being an actor.

He said over the past two years he wasn’t always perfect when it came to dieting, but if he lapsed, he told himself, “Every day is a new day.”

And over time he saw significant results.

“Anybody can do it if they put their mind to it,” he said.

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The Power Of Walking

Michael is right that if walking worked for him, it could likely work for many others who are hoping to lose weight, too.

According to one study published in the journal Risk Analysis, people who regularly walk at a quick pace weighed less than people who exercised by running, swimming and cycling.

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Walking is a good option for regular exercise, as it burns calories and boosts your metabolism without being too hard on your joints.

If you’re looking to lose weight by walking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend walking vigorously for five hours each week, leading to a weight loss of one or two pounds per week.

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At this rate, it would take 25 to 50 weeks to safely lose 50 pounds.

Getting those steps in could be as easy as taking the dog for a walk each day!

Written by Ryan Prior for CNN.

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