Weight loss experience shows importance of health awareness

It all began in the beginning of last summer. The spring semester just ended and I had traveled home to Orange County to spend summer break with my family. When I saw my brother upon my return, I did not recognize him. He had lost about 20 pounds from running every day and watching his diet, and he was more energized than I had ever seen him.

Michael Duran runs in the streets of Outer Sunset, off 39th and Lawton on Tuesday, Feb. 17. (Drake Newkirk / Xpress)

Michael Duran runs in the streets of Outer Sunset, off 39th and Lawton on Tuesday, Feb. 17. (Drake Newkirk / Xpress)

My brother’s inspiring weight loss forced me to look at myself. I had gained about 30 pounds within a 10-month period, taking me to an all-time low. My grades were dropping and my eating habits were terrible. My confidence could not have been lower. I knew it was time to make a change.

My brother was the one person who was there for me. He was my motivation. I began to watch what I ate, exercising every day and maintaining a healthy diet and fitness schedule. By the time summer ended, my weight had decreased from 180 to 145 pounds. My happiness and confidence soared and hearing the resulting compliments certainly did not hurt.

When I returned to school in the fall, my colleagues were amazed with my transformation. The feeling was overwhelming and unexpected. People actually noticed and were genuinely proud of me. Everyone needs to have that feeling of accomplishment and pride about themselves.

We all might have many things on our plate, but learning how to balance and maintain a fitness schedule is essential for keeping a positive attitude.

Michael Duran runs on Ocean Beach on Tuesday, Feb. 17. (Drake Newkirk / Xpress)

Michael Duran runs on Ocean Beach on Tuesday, Feb. 17. (Drake Newkirk / Xpress)

This is especially important for younger college students living away from home for the first time. At this time in our lives, we control everything that goes into our body. Our parents are not here to say, “eat those vegetables or you won’t leave this table,” or “go outside for some fresh air.”

According to the 2014 National College Health Assessment58.6 percent of college students described their health as very good or excellent. Despite being more than half of the collegiate population who claim they lead a healthy lifestyle, that percentage should be higher.

With the uprising trend of fitness trackers, it is easy for people to become fitness junkies and to be more knowledgeable about having a healthy lifestyle. Companies like Fitbit and Jawbone make fitness easier by creating tools that help track progress and motivate people.

Nearly 70 percent of adults in the U.S. track one aspect of their health for themselves or a loved one, according to a survey for the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.  Only 21 percent use some sort of technology to monitor their health data and 49 percent of those surveyed said they keep track by memory.

Having a healthy lifestyle takes work and time, but in the long run you will be happier with yourself. “Everything in moderation” continues to be a great cliché to help keep me motivated. I pushed every day and made sure to remind myself why I was working so hard. I was able to be a healthier person without making any drastic changes to my life.

Looking back, one thing I learned from my experience was that the mind is a strange thing. I have discovered a lot about myself and what types of obstacles I can overcome. The road upon which I embarked completely changed how I view the world and every time I remember this moment in my young life, I smile. My journey may have helped me achieve a healthier body, but I gained something I never had until now: confidence.

 

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