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Transforming Lives: Reign Watson

Reign Watson enjoys a challenge; largely because he is driven to overcome every obstacle in his way. But one day, he realized that he still had not faced one large obstacle – his weight.

Weighing himself on a scrap metal scale, he took a picture of the number: 525.

“I remember sitting on the side of my vehicle wondering what I did to let my weight get that out of control.” Reign had always been heavy but never noticed just how much that number had grown over the years.

At first, he walked for exercise and modified his eating habits with the help of a chef friend. “I was eating a loaf of bread every day, drinking at least two 2-liter bottles of Coca Cola daily with meals and I never passed on dessert. Now I have cut soda completely out of my diet and stopped eating bread.” Knowing that just diet and exercise wouldn’t be enough to make the lifestyle change he needed to, Reign saw a doctor and decided to have a duodenal switch (gastric surgery) performed. The surgery was a success but, for Reign, the battle was just beginning.

Having to completely retool his eating habits to prevent post-surgery complications, Reign struggled for six weeks to learn how to avoid snacks and what proper nutrition consists of. He took three weeks off work to focus all of his energy on his health and was eventually introduced to a personal trainer who helped him start HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Tabata workouts.

Feeling a bit more motivated and capable, Reign looked into joining the Kannapolis YMCA to take control of his own workouts. The Y had his favorite HIIT and Tabata offerings and even had the water aerobics classes he wanted to try. Reign appreciated the wide array of class offerings and immediately clicked with several instructors like Taryn, Rhoda, Michelle and Heather. In Rhoda’s class he had the opportunity to share his story and was immediately met with support from his classmates.

“I was treating the YMCA like an extended family. I want to thank all of them for being dedicated to our collective health and helping me celebrate my weight loss.”

With the help of his classmates, instructors, and the on-site CHS Registered Dietitian, Reign has transformed physically and mentally. Just a few weeks ago, he signed his 78-year-old mother up for a Silver Sneakers membership to keep her healthy, social and active. Knowing that he can trust the Y with somebody as valuable as his mother helps him stay motivated to keep his health a priority too.

Now, Reign has lost over 260 pounds and is still striving every day to reach his target weight.

“Rhoda said something that sticks with me: ‘Reign, if you put the work in we can get you where you want to be.’ I’m here now ready to put my work in and get there.”