The Biggest Winner: A True Weight Loss Story in Penn Manor

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, before the weight loss. Photo by the Bigler family.

He was once an overweight 285 pounds and is now standing at six foot and weighing a cut and healthy 195 pounds.

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.

“I woke up one day and decided I was going to change, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight,” said Bigler.

Bigler lost 90 pounds of fat by lifting in an old Russian style, cold-cellar gym that his father Sam Bigler had built over the years.

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.

Bigler, again, before the weight loss. Photo by the Bigler family.

Bigler couldn’t bare to look at his ‘before’ pictures.

“I wanted to cry when I saw them, I couldn’t believe that was me,” said Bigler.

His waist size went from a 42 to 34 after all his weight loss.

“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.

“I felt like a new person and I couldn’t believe how good I looked, it gave me a new outlook on life and the energy to wake up in the morning,” said 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.”

“Patience” is the key to losing weight,” said Bigler.

“Just keep dieting and keep exercising. Don’t stop. You’ll eventually see improvements,” insisted Bigler.

Bigler after his drastic weight loss. Photo by the Bigler family.

“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.

After the weight loss, Bigler’s life changed for the better and some of his friends and family didn’t even recognize him.

“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.

The number of teens who are overweight is more than 15 percent in America and Evan Bigler decided he wasn’t going be part of that statistic anymore.

Kids at school call Evan “Big-E”  still but for different reasons now and he knows it.

“Nothing taste as good as thin feels,” said Bigler quoting a famous line about dieting.

“I’m not full of myself or anything, just proud,” insisted Bigler.

“If I can inspire someone else to feel better about themselves, then I will,” he said.

According to Bigler he isn’t the biggest loser, he is the biggest winner.

5 thoughts on “The Biggest Winner: A True Weight Loss Story in Penn Manor”

  1. Evan, I love you. You were always such a cool kid, I’m glad this has helped improve your life, your mentality and your confidence. Stay awesome dude.

  2. Very well-written, Cheyenne! And congrats to you Evan… you look great! 🙂

  3. Why does this article’s picture have to be on the front page? I don’t like seeing a half naked man whenever I pay a visit to the respected Penn Points website.

    Congrats on the weight loss though.

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