CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — A new report released Wednesday found one in six U.S. youth suffers from obesity. But News 5 learned it’s not just kids dealing with this issue. According to the Obesity Action Network, more than 40% of Americans now have obesity. The Black Women’s Health Imperative says this disproportionately affects African Americans, especially Black women. They said four out of five black women are either overweight or living with obesity.

La-Angel Williams knows the struggle all too well.

“I was overweight,” she told News 5. “I was 273 pounds.”

But after spending more than two years with a personal trainer, Williams is down to 172.

“My goal was 185 and I’m already past that,” she said.

Kenny Basch

La-Angel Williams lost more than 100 pounds.

After years of trial-and-error gym memberships and yo-yo dieting, Williams finally found a gym and a trainer that worked for her. Philly Weeden works with clients at Voltage Fitness and Training Center in Cleveland Heights.

“It makes me feel like I have a purpose on this Earth and in this community,” he told News 5.

But despite Weeden’s success with clients like Williams, he knows health isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.

“All trainers are great,” he said. “It’s just that you have to have that trainer who is able to penetrate your focus.”

Weeden has a point. Williams can attest most of her journey has been in her head, not her arms or legs.

“People don’t coordinate weight training, exercise with mental. Like, I was in nursing school and I had failed, and I came back and my instructors were like ‘whatever you’re doing now you’re more focused, you need to keep doing that,’” she said.

What Williams was doing, was training. She attributed her new school success to the disciplined fitness brought into her life.

“You’re held accountable,” she said. “So it kind of makes you accountable for everything in life, it goes hand in hand for me.”

Kenny Basch

51-year-old Darrell Newsom says if he can do it, anyone can.

If you’re thinking it’s too late to start down this path, meet Darrell Newsom:

“I always tell people, look, I was the fat guy. So you can’t really tell me anything. I’ve seen it all, I’ve been that guy. So if I can do it, I’m 51-years-old, so if I can do it at 51 I know you can do it.” Newsom told News 5 the first step in any health journey is setting an attainable goal. That could be a lower weight, a smaller dress size, or an event like a 5K.

All it takes is that first step.

“When you see the results and feel how good you feel inside, there’s no stopping you,” Newsom said.

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