The Weight of Change

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   It all started with embarrassment, as it always does, and guitar major Carlos Vega, 12 had enough. There was simply no reason to endure that sort of humiliation, so he was going to work on himself as a person. One day in eighth grade, Carlos went on a bike ride with his aunt to get some air. He was tired and sweaty 10 minutes into the physical exertion, and then it happened: he threw up. It wasn’t the vomiting itself that was scarring, although that was embarrassing in itself, it was the knowledge that he was not in shape. This was Carlos’ breaking point and he was going to make a real change in his life.

   Most think that losing weight is some easy task to take on, instead, it is a long journey with temptations and plateaus. Students like Carlos have changed their entire lifestyles, while still having to balance school and a social life.

    After many weird diets and fasting systems, Carlos decided to modify his eating habits and began a workout regimen in his Sophomore year. He mainly ate high carb meals and “whatever was at school,” so the harsh transition was very trying for him. The first three weeks are the most difficult, and Carlos says, “You don’t see a lot of change and feel like giving up.” Many times he caught himself entering emotional lows and not visiting the gym as much, but things started picking up when he worked with a gym trainer to focus his weight loss plan more efficiently.

     More often than not, Carlos focused too much on the scale and not how he physically looked. He combated this hopeless feeling with the energy he received from his diet. Without any refined sugars, fats, or carbs, Carlos felt a complete difference in the health of his body and mind.  

   Chicken, broccoli, and sweet potatoes were all that Carlos ate every day for six weeks. The fat just began melting off of him by using this diet challenge called the “Lurong” diet. Along with plain food and diet restrictions, he needed exercise to “feel the burn,” otherwise the diet was pointless.

  Carlos knew that if he wanted to lose the weight, he was going to put everything he had into it, so he joined the crossfit program Iron Town. The program is a mixture of cardio and weightlifting, which targets every area of the body at once. Most days, Carlos spent an extra hour after his crossfit class to work on his own weight training. He described the program as a “second family” with a smile, because they fully supported his weight loss journey, and would check up on him if he missed classes. The family works together to make sure that no one deviates from the main goal- almost like a team.

   By the end of his journey, Carlos had lost 20 pounds in the first month and kept this strict schedule for three months. He has completely shredded his muscles and bulked up; allowing him to enter competitions and become the Vice President of the fitness club that he is in today. Anyone could ask him, and he would say that he is proud of his transformation.

    Carlos’ lifestyle change actually affected his plans for the future, and he had never expected such a positive outcome from that decision. He plans to become a firefighter at the Las Vegas Fire & Rescue (LVFR). Every Sunday for seven hours, Carlos trains at the LVFR in the special program the Las Vegas Explorers. Staying fit is crucial to becoming a firefighter, so he keeps up with his crossfit, weight training, and fitness club. Losing weight, he says, gave him the best future he could possibly hope for.