Michael Watson wanted his junior year of high school to be his best yet. After struggling with his weight for much of his young life, he decided he was ready to commit to slimming down.
So last year he started walking to and from school every day — 40 minutes roundtrip. He ended up losing 115 lbs.
“When I looked in the mirror, I was really ready to get it done and thought, ‘I can’t just fail anymore on my diet,’ ” Watson said on Good Morning America. “I need to actually do this.”
Currently a senior in Carlton, Ohio, Watson said he walked to school every day of his junior year, rain or shine.
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“When I took the bus to school, I’d want to sit by a kid and they’d say, ‘No, go sit somewhere else — because I was so big,’ ” said Watson, 18. “When I started walking, I didn’t even know what time the bus came and that was my motivation: ‘I have to walk.’ ”
Watson, who previously worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken, also changed his diet to meet his weight loss goals. With the help of his dad, he learned how to count calories and began swapping high-calorie foods for salads, oatmeal and soup.
“It was extremely hard, especially at first,” said Watson. “What motivated me was stepping on the scale.”
At his heaviest, Watson weighed 325 lbs., but now he weighs 210 lbs.
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“I’d see that I was 290 [lbs.] and say, ‘Let’s get to 280. Come on Michael — you got this.’ “
After high school graduation, Watson plans to work full-time in the food industry, having studied in his school’s culinary program throughout his weight-loss journey.
“Every day is a new day — that’s what I said all the time because I’d mess up some days,” he said. “I’d tell myself, ‘Tomorrow is a new day. You’ve got to start over and eat the oatmeal in the morning.’ “
In addition to his revamped diet and healthy walking routine, Watson also incorporates weightlifting at home. “I lost a lot of my insecurities when I lost all that weight,” he said. “You work for it and you get it, so it feels amazing for sure.”
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