“Two-ninety-seven,” was what looked back at him when he looked at the scale four summers ago.
Then 14, LeBaron was “shocked into reality,” he said, “that you’ve got to do something, or you’re not going to be here much longer.”
Doing something, for LeBaron, now a high-school senior in Georgia, led to him losing 150 pounds and keeping the weight off since, as he details in the book Cutting Myself in Half, which he will be promoting at the Book ‘Em Event in Waynesboro on Saturday.
“There is no magic pill. It’s hard work, perseverance and dedication,” said LeBaron, for whom his book has been a vehicle to speak to teen groups on health and lifestyle issues.
An important moment in his new life was the Christmas gift of a membership to his local YMCA. He remembers vividly his first workout – nine minutes and forty seconds on a stationary bike.
“After that nine minutes and forty seconds, my heart rate was over 200, and the machine kicked me off,” said LeBaron, who rather than throwing in the towel at the early struggles was able to stick with it.
“My approach to this is it’s a lifestyle change. I don’t like the word diet. Diet implies to me something temporary. This isn’t a temporary solution. You are changing your lifestyle forever for the better,” said LeBaron, who foregoes fast food and has somehow figured out to avoid the great teen temptation that is pizza since the day he saw the numbers two, nine and seven staring back at him four years ago.
“Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever want to have a slice again. And then I think about what I’ve been able to accomplish by being able to lose all this weight, and to me it’s not worth it,” LeBaron said. “Some people will say, Well, everything is OK in moderation. To me, it’s the principle. I use the analogy, Would you offer an alcoholic just one drink? Because I was a foodaholic, and I still am, so it’s better just not to go on that track.”
Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.