“Nobody can do it for you, you have to do it yourself,” is a famous quote many people live by for motivation. Ms. Finny, the Millbrook AP English teacher and Tyler Langehennig, a junior, both have inspiring stories of their journeys toward weight loss.
Junior Tyler Langehennig had not always struggled with his weight. In his early childhood he described himself as a “bean pole.” The moment he noticed a change was in middle school, and by sophomore year he had reached a peak of 275 pounds. Being that close to 300 pounds was scary. “Deep down I hated myself for getting so big and I tried and tried to refrain from packing on the pounds. Until I saw that weight (that I had gained), I was never really motivated. This (weight) made me disgusted with myself. It was time to make a change and better myself with something that would make my life better in every way.”
One of Tyler’s proudest accomplishments was being able to do a pull up. In sixth grade, he recalled his friends being able to do more than ten pull ups. “I felt like I should at least accomplish one. But as I knew would happen, I did not complete a single one. But I can finally say that I can do a pull up.”
Daily activities such as getting ready in the morning had became a struggle for Tyler. He described this task as, “pulling my leg up with my arms and resting it on my opposite knee, then I could slide on my shoes and socks with ease. This made me think that if putting on my shoes was so hard, why am I not stopping my bad health habits?”
Langehennig was often bullied, mostly verbally. He still hears the words “you’re fat” being screamed at him. “Being fat usually makes you an outcast. You’re always that one kid that gets picked last for a team in gym class, or the one who works alone on a big school group project just because you are obese. The feeling you get is like a stab in the heart, or the same feeling you get during a sad movie that makes you get emotional even though you say you won’t let it get to you.” Tyler strives to not make others feel the way he did, especially now that he can look back and retell those awful occurrences.
Tyler’s advice is, “It’s not as easy as it looks. You have to fully commit to it more than anything. In your head and heart you have to want it so you can be that person you dream of being.” Tyler’s moment of dedication was at a summer job a few years back, landscaping Monday through Friday. After one week, he dropped a shirt size and that was the turning point. There is a difference between wanting something and being dedicated. “My endurance had to be built to work harder.”
As of Tyler’s junior year, he has lost a total of 95 pounds on his weight loss journey. “When I saw this number on the scale, I could not fathom it. To realize who my past self was and look in the mirror and see a completely different man was very emotionally amazing to me. I realize how great I feel not to have to carry extra weight.” On Tyler’s journey, his pants size went from 40 to 32 and he dropped three shirt sizes. With a boosted confidence and a healthy heart, Tyler isn’t stopping here. He plans to gain muscle and work on toning and sculpting his body into the person he’s always dreamed of being. To anyone wishing they were better, he said, “What is stopping you from getting up right now and making a change in your life? The answer to that question is you.”
Another successful weight loss story is AP English teacher, Ms. Shea Finny. “The moment I first sensed I had to change was when I went to a faculty meeting and didn’t fit in the chair. I kind of teared up when it happened, it was pretty bad” Being almost 400 pounds, Mrs. Finny can proudly say she has lost 178 pounds and is in the process to losing another 20-30 pounds before she hits her goal. “However, these are just numbers on a scale.”
Ms. Finny’s journey to weight loss started in early 2012, when she first went to the gym, thanks to a memorable student and now teacher at Millbrook, Mrs. Molly Mahjer. “Her mother had just bought the gym and she asked if I’d just take a class and I went basically went because I love Molly. I was terrified because of my weight and how heavy I was.” Finny met a trainer who wanted her to come back, and described it as “completely accidental.” Finny has so many people who have supported her along the way. “Some of my biggest supporters here have been in the P.E. department. Jason Young, when he taught here, was one of my biggest cheerleaders. Mandee Madden has always supported me along with Matt Cottino.” Unlike Tyler, Finny was not bullied and always found a great group of supporters to surround herself with.
Being on such a rigorous path to success comes with great achievements, but it also comes with some tough times to get through. What keeps someone so determined? Motivation. “My biggest motivation is each goal I set for myself and how much better I feel after I reach each goal. This is also one thing in my life that is strictly driven by me and one of the few things I have control over and can really be proud of myself.” Looking ahead she knows it will be hard. She wants to work on things such as not eating her emotions, keeping herself motivated through struggles, using the gym as a good and healthy outlet, and maintenance once she hits her goal. “It is a journey I want to keep fighting for.”
Finny has her routine down to a science. In a regular week, if she’s not bogged down with stress and night classes, she goes to the gym after school and weight lifts three days a week and does cardio two days a week. She also always takes one day off because “my body needs to rest.” She follows no diet, but eats as much “real” food as she can, which is food that doesn’t come in a box. Finny has accepted that there are things she can’t give up, such as coffee and Swiss Cake Rolls. Sometimes when she’s in the grocery store, she’ll stare them down and tell herself “no” and that “I just can’t have it.” Though the holidays get rough, she always finds a way to fight through.
Her advice for those beginning a weight loss journey is “To keep going. For the people who are thinking about it, there are ways you can get healthy. At first, it’s going to be scary because we (as people) feel so much shame about our weight. However, there’s always time to change. Once you get to a place where you feel good and experience the empowerment that comes with doing it yourself, there’s nothing that compares to that. There are people to reach out to. Go to someone and ask for help. Focus on the people who will look at you and will say, ‘wow that’s awesome that you keep coming back’ and the other ones aren’t really worth your time anyway.”