Local teen in national spotlight with weight loss success

A local teenager shared his incredible weight loss story today on the Katie show.

Charles Haines, 17, says he went from being a shy and depressed obese teen to a confident and fit young man, sharing his weight loss program in the national spotlight.

And not just on Katie. His story is also in this week's People magazine.

Haines is now a junior at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, Maryland.

At age 15, Haines tipped the scales at 285 pounds. He felt tormented and he was bullied. a lot.

"I used to hide behind my parents because I didn't want to be seen," he says. "I was very depressed I didn't have any friends really.

"He came home so upset because of how they treated him," says Angelina Haines, his mother.

Then, Charles says, he had a wake-up call.

"One day I woke up and I remember personally and I just could not breathe," he says. "It was this feeling of suffocation. I knew I had to do something about this or I wouldn't live long. Diabetes, heart disease, all these diseases."

So Charles took control of his life. He cut out fast food and sodas, turned to water and healthy meals, and started exercising. He now lifts weights and runs eight miles a day.

"I lost a total of 115 pounds," Charles says.

"I am so proud of this child," says Paul Haines, his father. "For somebody of his age to make that decision on his own and change his life is just unbelievable to me."

Charles says his next goal is to help other obese teens. That's why he shared his experience on Katie and with People magazine.

The key to changing, Charles says is to do it for yourself.

"If you don't like yourself, don't like the way you look, don't like anything, then change it," he says. "Take the initiative. Make the first step."

Charles tells ABC7 he is confident he will stay healthy and fit. And he's considering becoming a motivational speaker.