ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A familiar face to Albertville Middle School students looks a whole lot different this fall compared to the last.
Edwin Velez, an English-Spanish learning instructor, lost nearly 150 pounds in 11 months.
“I was really large, about 300 pounds,” Velez said.
He said he did it for himself, but also hopes students and others will be inspired.
Velez is from Florida and said he started gaining significant weight in middle school.
He was the biggest guy on his high school’s baseball team at about 250 pounds, and continued to gain weight while attending Samford University.
In Fall 2011, he decided enough was enough.
“I went to the bahamas in november with four or five friends, and when we got back we looked at some pictures,” he said.
“I [thought] man, my weight is getting out of control.”
He mentioned it to one of his friends, who challenged him to lose weight.
“He’s like, ‘hey, try to get the weight off,’ and me being competitive I took that challenge seriously,” Velez said.
“We planned a trip for spring break, which was four months later, and I wanted to see a drastic result.”
The change was steady, but not slow.
He started walking 45 minutes a day, and joined Therapy Fitness Plus in Boaz.
He now runs at least three miles every day.
Scaleback Alabama is a health encouragement program every January, and participants are encouraged to lose 10 pounds during the month.
Velez lost 46.
He surpassed his goal of losing 100 pounds by spring break, losing 107 in four months.
Velez said he changed his regular diet of beans, rice, and fried chicken to healthier foods, and is currently at his target weight of 155 pounds and working to build some muscle.
“It’s a total transformation,” Therapy Plus Fitness coordinator Marsha Chadwick said.
“He lost that weight so fast. He’s an inspiration to everyone.”
Velz documents his progress on a website, www.edwinvelezsuccess.com, with updates and information about nutirition and exercise.