This is the first in an occasional series about people at Penn Manor who have changed themselves for the better.
By Cheyenne Weber –
Kids at school called Evan Bigler “Big E.” And with good reason.
Obesity is the number one health risk facing the youth of America today. Obesity contributes to an estimated 400,000 deaths a year in the U.S. Evan Bigler, a Penn Manor High School junior, was once staring into those statistics at his obese weight of 285 pounds.
“I hated when kids called me “Big E” before my weight loss. I didn’t need people to remind me that I was fat,” said Bigler with a look of disgust on his face at the memory.
Bigler used to be an overweight high school student with admittedly little or no self confidence. He said he was disgusted over the way he looked and he said he blamed no one but himself for becoming obese.
“It’s not that I ate unhealthy foods but I ate a lot of food all the time with little to no cardio,” Bigler explained. “I didn’t want to eat a lot, I was just hungry all the time, I couldn’t help it, I ate like a big kid because I was a big kid,” said Bigler.
He got in shape by Olympic training which is practicing Olympic style lifts and doing cardio and also dieting. Evan did hit a plateau like most people go through when losing weight but he did not stop there, he overcame the wall of 220 and got himself down 25 more pounds.
“Evan did change his outward appearance, he looks great but he still is the nice guy he has always been,” said junior Sara Bennis.
“He was a sharp-looking guy before the weight loss but now he is stunning,” said senior Karly Wiest.
“After I lost all the weight I went shopping, got new clothes and I fit in clothes I never thought I would be able to fit in and I got a new hair style which was a course Jersey shore style,” recounted Bigler.
Evan Bigler walks in the hallways a little different these days.
He often wears a tight T-shirt with his chest and biceps straining the fabric through his shirt and wearing his slim size-34 jeans and his slicked back, gel-spiked hair and always rocking his fresh watches, a different watch almost everyday.
But the most noticeable change in his wardrobe is the new air of confidence he wears.
“Knowing what I know of Evan Bigler, I knew if he put his mind to it, I knew he could do it,” said Doug Kramer, Bigler’s math teacher who sometimes worked out with the high school junior, developing a mentoring relationship with the teen. “I am proud of Evan for losing the weight and I am happy he got himself healthier.”
“Just keep dieting and keep exercising. Don’t stop. You’ll eventually see improvements,” insisted Bigler.
“If there’s anyone reading this who wants to lose weight and change their life like I did, contact me and you can use my gym anytime and I will help you get to your goal weight,” Bigler said.
“One time my family came over for dinner and I hadn’t seen my uncle in forever and my uncle said to my dad while I was sitting on the couch, ‘Who in the heck is that kid sitting on your couch?'”
“My dad goes, ‘that’s Evan’ and my uncle said ‘no way’ he looks like a new person,” remembered Bigler.
After all the weight loss and the new look, Evan started to come out of his shell and he started to get new friends and he now goes to more sporting events, dance parties and clubs.
One could say Evan is popular for the first time in his life.
But even though he has new friends and he’s talking to girls and is always busy, Evan still hangs out with his old friends saying they will always be his friends.
“Evan’s been my friend and neighbor for seven years now and I walked out of my house one day and the kid was ripped. But him losing weight and getting new friends didn’t affect our relationship as friends at all, it actually made us better friends,” said Eric Schlotzhauer.
“It’s hard to share my time with my old friends and new friends, I have been hanging with my new friends more lately and to be honest, the people I hang out with now, I just have more fun with. My old friends will always be my friends but I guess you could say I moved on in my life and just want to try new things, that I couldn’t do before,” explained Bigler.
Kids at school call Evan “Big-E” still but for different reasons now and he knows it.
According to Bigler he isn’t the biggest loser, he is the biggest winner.