by DeJanay Booth
Photo By: Josh Newell
Less is more: 145 pounds stronger
Joining ROTC was in the back of Cadet Jose Alvarez’s mind when he and his brother, Nathan, went to a friend’s graduation party.
A month before the graduation, Alvarez was taking a health class, which discussed several health issues including height, weight and blood pressure. The tests indicated he was obese, had hypertension and was in risk of heart disease.
“That was definitely a wake-up moment for me right there,” Alvarez said.
At the time of the class, Alvarez weight about 340 pounds. He and his brother went online and researched different diets, finding the “zone diet.” According to its official website, the zone diet reduces “diet-induced inflammation, which is the underlying cause of weight gain, chronic disease, and the aging process.”
For a month, Alvarez and his brother changed their eating habits — no cheating involved — and worked out every day. Thirty-five pounds fell from his body after one month.
“How about we take this another month,” Alvarez and his brother agreed.
Physically and mentally, he was improving and started developing a “warrior mentality.” But the amount of weight he was losing started to slow down and Alvarez began to have doubts.
Around that time, he was in contact with the staff of the ROTC program at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. He realized he wanted to become an Army officer when his brother decided to join the Marine Corps, where he is currently a lance corporal.
“I saw my brother and his career as a young marine,” Alvarez said. “And I was thinking, ‘Man, if I could make a difference to someone as outstanding as my brother, I would love to be in a position where I could make a difference in some young mens’ lives whether it’s mentally, physically or spiritually.’”
After the staff informed Alvarez about the PT test, he decided to take a chance and attempt it. He didn’t finish and it was a crushing blow. For two months, he worked on getting stronger for the test, unaware of his transformation, and eventually completed it with a score of 300.
Nine months passed since the beginning of his weight loss and Alvarez and his brother lost around 145 pounds each, landing him a spot in the Leader Training Course (LTC) Fourth Regiment.
“My brother wasn’t there with me for every meal that I had. It was an every-meal type of thing,” Alvarez said. “I had eight chances a day to get better. And it was on me to have the personal courage and the integrity to make the right decision eight times a day.”
Alvarez knew he needed to be fit in order to serve in the Army. But deep down, he also changed for the better and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.