Like many members of our family, my brother Chris has also struggled with his weight. Chris is a huge inspiration to me because his determination to lose 75 pounds was fueled by his desire to serve his country. In a 2017 Pentagon report, 71% of young people aged 17-24 are ineligible for military service and obesity was identified as the leading contributor in this trend. Instead of accepting the status quo, Chris decided to change his life and reach for his goals. I’m so proud of my baby brother, can’t you tell?
Chris was raised on junk food and enjoyed sedentary hobbies like gaming—not unlike millions of children today. Instead of going outside to play, he stayed inside on his computer gaming with online friends. Because his dad did not know how to cook, they mostly lived on microwaveable foods or fast food. This ultimately led to Chris reaching the weight of 255 pounds on his 5 foot 8 inch frame (172 cm). When his dad and other nearby relatives moved out of the area, Chris had to start fending for himself at age 22. For someone who was raised so sheltered, this was a difficult reality to face. He crashed with different friends and fell into depression after a while. For a time, Chris struggled with alcohol and marijuana use. That all changed after Chris witnessed one of his best friends get fatally stabbed at a house party. Watching one of his friends living life to the fullest one moment and bleeding to death the next changed Chris’ perspective instantly. In that moment, he realized how important his life is and that he needed to turn it around before it was too late.
Chris started working hard towards his goal of getting his own apartment. He got a job at Taco Bell and eventually worked his way up to manager. Chris later got a second job at Walmart to help boost his income. Since Chris did not have a fuel efficient car, he walked up to 9 miles or more to work. After getting his first apartment, Chris decided that he wanted to pursue a much more ambitious goal—joining the military. By the time Chris decided that he wanted to enlist, he still had to lose a significant amount of weight. Before he shipped out for basic training, Chris was able to lose a grand total of 75 pounds. Chris has kept this weight off for three years, successfully joined the military, and will graduate with his bachelors in Networking and Cybersecurity in 2022.
Chris maintains his weight by eating a healthy diet and running or cycling every day. Chris is one of the best runners in his platoon and can run 2 miles in 13 minutes and 30 seconds. He also eats a much healthier diet these days. Some of his favorite foods include: brown sugar oatmeal, milk, rice, broccoli and chicken. Chris states that “weight loss is 90% consistency and 10% mental ability.” If you want to lose weight, Chris believes that you need to “get a goal in mind and control your hunger.” I couldn’t agree more!
Can we just all take a moment to appreciate how amazing Chris is? How many young men these days are willing to put down the weed, lose 75 pounds and do what it takes to serve their country? Chris made a man out of himself and I think this is the type of person we need in our military. We need people that are goal oriented and determined to succeed—regardless of the challenges they may face.
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Remember, be kind to yourself and keep moving forward.