August 15, 2012
On December 1, 2011, Will Barrera decided that it was time for a change. At 5’9” and 275 pounds, the Meridia, Yucatan native became concerned about his overall health. With a history of diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure in his family, Barrera set out on a journey that would see him shed 80 pounds. After his impressive self-motivated weight loss and earning his associate's degree from Brookhaven College with a 3.5, Barrera would earn a Presidential Scholarship to Paul Quinn College for the Fall 2012 semester. That is not the end of the story, however. One of the newest members of the Quinnite Nation maintains his healthy lifestyle and is majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies at PQC.
Barrera, a humble young man with a quiet determination, says his very first step to losing his unwanted weight was purely mental. “I started by saying ‘Enough is enough,’” says Barrera. “I convinced myself that I knew I could do it.” Next, he joined a gym, specifically one with a 24-hour membership. “My favorite time to work out is at night. It’s not as hot or not as stinky,” he says with a grin. Barrera did not want to compete with what is apparently a decidedly crowded facility during the day.
Next, he eliminated several types of food and drinks from his diet. “I cut out sodas, all types of bread, fast food, pizza—basically fatty foods.” Barrera committed to a diet that consisted mostly of tuna, salads, chicken breast, and water. His strategy was to focus on foods that are high in protein and he estimates that he drank more than a gallon of water a day. Ironically, he also ate six times a day. Barrera ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with three snacks. The snacks consisted of fruit and low-calorie crackers and he tempered his meal intake with portion control.
Like many, Barrera was attracted to Paul Quinn upon meeting President Michael Sorrell. President Sorrell visited Brookhaven in Spring 2012 as a result of an invitation from Lesley Regalado, an adjunct professor of social sciences. “Inspirational” is how Barrera describes his first impression of “Prez”. “He has a way of making you believe in more than yourself.” In his first week of classes at PQC, Barrera says that he is enjoying the academic experience. “It’s a challenge here but different. You have to get an A but you also have to learn something—do something bigger.”
As for his continued health, Barrera says that he is satisfied but not happy since he reached his weight loss goal. “I’ve loosened up on my diet a little bit but I still work out.”
PICTURED: (Top) Will Barrera in March 2012 and (right) in August 2011.
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