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Redefining disability, the road to a healthier lifestyle

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As obesity continues to grow in America, Lorenzo Diaz, who despite being born with one hand, challenged the status quo in his junior year of high school by embarking on a healthier and more active lifestyle.

Attending a college preparatory high school with an eight-hour school day, Diaz was juggling classwork while still being at the gym 6 days out of the week. Over the course of 9 months, he went through a drastic transformation, going from from 270 to 162 lbs.

“My junior year I really needed to change something because I wasn’t the loner anymore,” said Diaz, now a full-time student at The University of Texas at San Antonio. “I was the kid in high school that made people laugh and talked to everyone, wasn’t shy, nor was I the one to ever keep quiet.”.

With more than one-third of population in the country being obese, having a disability left Diaz with the odds against his favor.

Twenty-two percent of children from ages two to seven with disabilities are obese, compared to 16 percent of children without disabilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Adults with disabilities have a 58 percent higher rate of being obese than non-disabled adults.

Despite this, Diaz continues to prepare his gym bag and Herbalife four days out of the week with determination and eagerness to attack the day’s exercise consisting of bar lifting, kettle bell workouts and others.

Diaz admits that one of his current struggles has been finding new ways to work out certain parts of his body.

Diaz also said that although he continues to struggle with his physical appearance, the support of his family and friends have helped boost his confidence in the journey to a healthier lifestyle.

“I give myself credit,” Diaz said. “As selfish as that sounds, I really wanted to change things, and the first thing that I wanted to change was my appearance.”

Diaz, now a licensed personal nutritionist with Herbalife, is able to give nutritional advice and lessons on physical activity. He is also a licensed Les Mills BodyAttack instructor with hopes of one day becoming a Crossfit coach.

He encourages people to stay determined and persevere despite the obstacles.

“Keep going and don’t let anyone stop you from what you want,” Diaz said. “Move in a way that drives your heart, not anyone else’s.”

For more stories, follow reporter Ilse Gonzalez on Twitter @ilsemonette



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