At 540 pounds, Christopher Charron was miserable. The teen had started gaining weight after a terrible trauma when he was younger: In 2007, his father stabbed his long-time girlfriend and then the four children in the house, including Charron. The girlfriend was killed; all of the kids survived. The father plead guilty and went to prison.
Now a high school student, Charron experienced daily social anxiety and would shuffle the halls with his head down, wearing oversized clothes and wishing he could disappear. Gradually, he caught the attention of Earl Wallace, a mental health counselor at Nuview Academy, who feared for the teen's health. Wallace approached Charron one day and mentioned he'd like to help him get healthier, and asked if he would like to work out together. Charron said yes.
"I always wanted to lose the weight; I just never had the motivation to do it," Charron told Today. "I was too lazy."
Wallace gave Charron a strict diet that eliminated most carbs and red meat and relied heavily on vegetables and lean meats and fish; together, they joined a gym. The first week was a struggle, with Charron stopping his exercise after five minutes and Wallace pushing him to continue. He also hated his new diet.
But, immediately there were results. Within two weeks, he lost six pounds. After six months, it was 100 pounds. Today, the now-17-year-old is down a whopping 325 pounds.
"It was the incredible weight loss, but it is also the incredible change in him. As he shed each pound it was like a pound of depression, anxiety, and anger [was] coming off him," says his mom, Debbie Charron. "'Earl says' are the two favorite words from Christopher's mouth."
Charron feels incredibly lucky that Wallace pushed him to succeed.
"He would always make me keep doing it. He wouldn't let me give up," Charron says.
But Wallace gives the credit right back to the teen he helped: "I am just happy that he's able to live a normal life. He earned it."
PLUS: See more DRAMATIC, inspiring before-and-after weight loss success stories.