High school is traditionally a time for wild parties and random hookups, but a lack of self- confidence can keep some guys on the sidelines. Charles D’Angelo, from St. Louis, weighed a monstrous 356 pounds as an 11th-grader and couldn’t get a date to save his life. But after developing a workout plan and altering his diet, he shed an incredible 152 pounds—the equivalent of a high school freshman!
By the age of 17, D’Angelo had built his size-50 waist by eating tacos and french fries before school and sneaking Little Debbie snack cakes in between classes. When he went out to eat, he’d usually order two pitchers of soda and polish them off by himself. “I always wanted double of everything,” says D’Angelo. Despite constantly overeating, he barely took in any protein. “I didn’t eat any meat,” he says.
D’Angelo’s social life was non- existent. “I hated myself,” he says. “If I walked by good-looking girls, I would just look at the ground.” His health suffered along with his self-esteem. In January 2003, after inhaling a whole pizza and three cans of soda, he dozed off in front of the TV and woke up at 2:30 a.m. with blurry vision. D’Angelo thought he’d gone blind. “It scared me to death, because diabetes runs in my family,” he says. Thankfully, his sight returned in the morning, but it was a wake-up call.
In February 2003, D’Angelo took a physical, and when the scale didn’t register because he was too heavy, the full measure of what he had done to his body hit him. “I didn’t know what to think,” he says. “My last year of high school was approaching, and I had never been to a dance or gone out with a girl. There was no one to blame but myself.”
D’Angelo immediately joined a gym and began running on a treadmill regularly. When he’d only lost three pounds after a month, he finally got out of his fast-food funk and started taking in oatmeal, protein shakes, and chicken breasts. He also relied heavily on a local sandwich shop. “I’d go to Subway and pick up my food for the next day,” he says.
By June 2004, D’Angelo had dropped 120 pounds by eating healthier and walking on an incline for 30–60 minutes a day. He enrolled at St. Louis University that fall, and he started lifting weights. In April 2005, he was down to 198 pounds with the help of a total- body routine. D’Angelo began dating that spring, and in one particular class, he became the inspiration for a fictional dating Web site. “They had a banner in the middle [of the Web page] that said stud of the month, and they had my shirtless picture up there,” he says.
D’Angelo, now a senior, has since bulked up to 204 pounds with only 8% body fat. He was recently certified as a personal trainer, and he just celebrated his one-year anniversary with his girlfriend. D’Angelo’s life is much different from what it was when he stepped on that scale four years ago. “From being 356 pounds and not having any
confidence to even ask a girl out, to having 10 gorgeous girls projecting my shirtless picture in front of all those people,” he says. “It’s just remarkable!”