Leesville student changes lifestyle

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Wood on typical weekend

Teenagers often go through high school wondering about what they are, who they want to be, and what they will become. They sit and pick out aspects of their life and that they are truly unhappy with and then throughout their four years of high school try to change them. This task, which is easy for some, remains the hardest for many.

Motivation is often what a teenager needs to achieve who they want to be. Without the motivation to do something, the task becomes seemingly impossible.

Brandon Wood, senior, went through a life-changing transformation in the past two years. Entering sophomore year, Wood was known as the self-proclaimed “Halo-obsessed friend.”

Life before weight loss and girlfriend

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Wood with his girlfriend

“I usually spent three to four hours every weekday and every hour of the weekend playing Halo. If you’re good at something, you stick with it,” said Wood.

But beyond the game, life was pretty dull. “I was always just the girl’s ‘friend,’ nothing more, nothing less. I had the humor, the smile and the appeal, but lacked the motivation to turn a friend into a girlfriend,” said Wood.

Wood wanted to become more than the girl’s best friend.  This remained a personal struggle. He often felt like he had all the love to give and no one to give it too.

Summer before junior year

However, the one aspect that would help Wood was physical appearance. “I was the loveable fat kid. The one who could laugh at himself, even if it hurt on the inside,” he said. Wood went onto challenge himself to lose weight over the summer before his junior year.

“I just couldn’t do it. I had no one to do it for,” he continued. Wood found himself playing Halo the rest of the summer. The hardest part of achieving his goal was just getting up and doing it.

“I went through junior year much like I did sophomore year. I was still the friend,” said Wood.

As the semesters changed and classes switched, Wood never expected that he would find his motivation in Spanish class. “I sat down in Spanish class and saw a girl. I began talking to his girl. I liked this girl…a lot,” said Wood.

Re-starting the challenge

By the end of the spring semester, Wood re-challenged himself to complete what he had started the summer before. “I was going to put the controller down and lose the weight I was determined to lose,” said Wood.

The only thing that was different about his challenge was that he had someone standing next to him: Allie Gallagher, sophomore. “We started jogging around Lake Lynn together, which turned into longer jogs and workouts, which evolved into my relationship,” said Wood.

Falling in love

It is truly amazing how much one person can affect another. Gallagher came into Wood’s life and inspired him to complete the challenge he put before himself. That was all Wood needed, someone to believe in him.

Putting down the controller seemed easier than Wood dreamt it could be. He often found himself asking this question: why would I play Halo when I could spend time with the girl that I have grown to love? This question was the motivation that would push Wood to finish the challenge.

This was all Wood had once dreamed of. He put down the controller, was losing weight and had a girlfriend. Yet, Wood was scared of something else. Wood had spent his whole life being known as the Halo-obsessed friend. He knew that he wanted to change, but he didn’t know if he could. “The only problem I had with this was who I would be on the other side, I could turn out a different person,” said Wood.

When Gallagher left for the entire the entire summer, Wood was at first crushed. He pondered whether or not he would remain the same Brandon Wood if he lost weight. Only time could tell.

The final result

“My friends really encouraged me to lose weight. They stuck with me through the end. Whenever I was discouraged they would remind me that Allie was at the end.” This spirit kept Wood going. He admits that it was hard, but since he was doing it for a good reason, he stayed with the workout.

By the end of the summer he lost 27 pounds. Wood realized that he was the same person he was at the beginning of the summer, despite weighing less. Also, in the end he was happier.

“I finally had what I wanted. The smile, the humor, the girl I dreamed of, and now the body. Everything just seemed to fall together.”

Wood’s struggle through high school had more payoffs than he thought it ever could. Wood finished, “there was never anything wrong with me. Now, I am just a happier me.”

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