Most students worry about grades and going to college, but Ohio teenager Michael Watson had other things to be concerned about.
Two years ago, weighing in at 335 pounds, Watson found himself overweight and in a rut. With his self-confidence at “zero,” one day he decided to make a change in his life.
The now-18-year-old (his birthday is May 15) committed to walking to and from school every day, approximately 20 minutes each way. He also vowed to alter his diet. The end result is pretty remarkable, and he claims he’s lost 115 pounds in total.
Despite any adverse weather conditions — he resides in Canton, Ohio, so there are some savage winters there — the six-foot-four teen made the trek.
He was bullied relentlessly at school, but he converted the rage he felt into fuel for transformation.
One time Watson recalls clearly is when a classmate told him he had something on his chin. When he went to wipe it off, the boy replied, “No, third one down.”
“That really hurt,” he said to CNN.
Even when offered a ride or it was inclement weather, Watson declined. He had to use an immense amount of will power with his eating as well, considering his part-time after-school job was at a fast-food restaurant.
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“I didn’t even know when the bus came,” he said. “Anybody can do it if they put their mind to it.”
Watson’s school, McKinley Senior High School in Canton, honoured the teen on the Canton City School District Facebook page (as seen above).
Dozens of delighted, supportive comments from around the world were posted underneath.
“You are such an inspiration to all!!” reads one.
“Too many people think that in order to be in shape, they have to live on lettuce and run the Boston Marathon,” reads another. “Thank you for showing people that real change can occur from making routine changes in your everyday life. You are an example to others.”
Watson now says he has no problem asking girls out, and is even planning to pursue his dream of being an actor. He graduates from high school this month.