Health Team

Teen Changes Lifestyle to Drop Pounds

Posted October 18, 2007
Updated October 19, 2007

— Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 3 killers in this country.

Being overweight is a key risk factor for both. Cardiovascular disease isn't just a problem for older adults. The seeds of heart disease can begin in our youth.

An epidemic of overweight children is a bad sign for their future. So Michael Massey, 19, of Apex decided to make a change.

He has held on to a few photographs of himself at his heaviest.

“I actually started packing on weight like crazy when I was probably 10, 11, 12 and then from there just ballooned out,” he said.

Massey swelled to 242 pounds. Now he's about 90 pounds lighter – at around 150 pounds. Massey said he knew he had a family history of heart disease and that his unhealthy habits put him on the same path.

"[I definitely had] a lot of high calorie, high fat intake in my diet [and] almost no physical activity,” he said.

Massey began his new quest with one-hour walks, often through downtown Apex, about five days a week. The American Heart Association encourages walking as exercise because it has the lowest drop-out rate of any other physical activity. It only requires a good pair of walking shoes.

Brisk walking for as little as 30 minutes a day can provide many benefits, including increased energy level, reduced stress, improved muscle tone and strength, improved circulation, lower blood cholesterol, triglyceride and blood pressure levels, reduced weight and lower bone loss.

Massey combined walking and exercise in the gym with a change in diet. Gone were the high sugar and fried foods.

“I love fried food. Wow! Anybody will tell you,” he said.

But now he eats a lot of boneless, skinless chicken breast, which is low in fat and high in protein. He also eats more fruits and vegetables. It was a drastic lifestyle change, but he refused to live the old way.

“You're miserable when you're like that, though. I mean, it's not really a life,” he said. "I know anybody out there can [do it]. They just have to put their mind to it.”

For Massey, it's a lifetime lifestyle.

"I'm staying right where I am. There's no way in the world I'll put any of that back on. No way,” he said.

Massey was in last year's Triangle heart walk and plans to be in it again on Sunday. It's at the Imperial Center Park in the RTP. Money turn-ins begin at 2 p.m. The walk starts at 3 p.m.

To register, or for more information, visit


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  • elcid89 Oct 20, 2007

    "nobstoday32- Not everybody who is fat is a slob. Metabolism and genetics play a part in some people though they exercise and eat healthy."

    No, not everybody, but you need to admit that the vast majority of overweight people are such because 1) they have horrible diets and 2) they are sedentary. Ask yourself how many overweight people you have seen slogging down a salad every day? Not many, I'd wager.

  • 1Moms_View Oct 20, 2007

    Way to go!! I hope teens will be motivated by your success and make the choices you did to improve your life and health. Congrats!

  • .Milky Oct 19, 2007

    follow me..

  • clover1019 Oct 19, 2007

    congratulations!!! i agree with part of what nobstoday32 has to say. Its true it takes a lifestyle change not just a magic pill to lose weight. by eating right and exercising anyone can acheive the same results. It can be difficult though, especially for people who are on the go and eat out alot. try to see what you are eating! you will be surprised somethings you eat are not as healthy as you think they are! congrats again!

  • PraiseHim Oct 19, 2007

    That is so great! Way to go! In a world where it's more convenient to eat fast food and children have less places to play to work it off, there is still a way, though more difficult in this day. Good job Michael!

  • future meteorologist Oct 19, 2007

    Good for him. I wish my little sister gets into shape and I do feel bad for her becasue sometimes she just likes being lazy and mostly cares about her school and not how she lives in the house and how to clean up, which is part of getting your body moving. She really needs to get in shape her it is going to haunt her when she get older.

  • Amused Oct 19, 2007

    nobstoday32- Not everybody who is fat is a slob. Metabolism and genetics play a part in some people though they exercise and eat healthy.
    How do you know your kid won't end up a "fatty"? You can't always control them or what they eat. You can try and set a good example of course and hope for the best.

  • VoiceOfReason Oct 18, 2007

    Michael: All who know you should be proud. As a former morbidly obese person, I stand in awe of you. Changing your life is not one big decision but lots of daily decisions. Good for you for making it happen, you are an inspiration!!

  • something2say Oct 18, 2007

    Great Job Michael! I hope your story motivates and moves tons of people to action!

  • houndie Oct 18, 2007

    Great job Michael! I see teens (and adults!) everyday who could learn a few lessons from you. May you have a happy, healthy life!