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After losing 117 pounds, MCC student wants to 'make a difference'


At first sight, Dallas Fleming is a tall, thin guy in his early 20s. He has a big smile, short hair and earrings. He’s a student at Metropolitan Community College.

But today’s Dallas Fleming is much different than the old version.

In 2009, Fleming was overweight.

“When I graduated high school, I was a husky boy. I was 340 pounds,” Fleming said.

Besides being obese, Fleming struggled academically. He enrolled at MCC right after high school, but quit after one quarter. It became hard for him to even walk around without breathing heavily.

“When I graduated high school, I wasn’t the best student. I was very lazy. I started eating a little bit more. I started stress eating. I realized it was a huge downward spiral,” he said.

Fleming attempted to go back to MCC a couple times, but would stop attending again.

Finally, in 2012, he had had enough.

“One day I got a gym membership,” Fleming said. “It was really hard to start by myself. My grandpa is a runner and he gave me some general ideas of being healthy. Twenty minutes a day is what I started with.”

Fleming started really taking care of his body and his mind. The results started to show in a major way.

“In between the years of 2013-16, I spent that time really focusing on myself and believing in myself a little more. I didn’t believe I could ever accomplish anything. I thought ‘I did this. I’ve lost 117 pounds. Maybe this is possible.’”

With a new look, Fleming said his family has been supportive and proud of all his progress, but still forgetful of the change.

“I used to be a big boy since 1998. They’re used to buying big clothes. My mom went on vacation and bought me an extra-large shirt,” he said with a laugh. "She tells me how proud of me she is.”

Fleming has managed to keep the weight off, but the temptation is always nearby.

“I work at a pizza place,” he said. “It’s always tempting.”

Fleming returned to MCC last August, enrolling in general studies classes. He plans to graduate with an associate degree in Liberal Arts and transfer to University of Nebraska at Omaha. It’s crazy to think how far he has come, he said.

“It’s gratifying to really look at myself,” he said. “I used to be disappointed but now to look and think ‘You’re doing this. You’ve done this.’ Wanting it so bad got me here.”

While he hasn’t decided on his specific future plans yet, he has an idea of what he would like to do after graduating.

“I really just want to be a people person,” he said. “I love nature, I love people too. I don’t want to just be a paper pusher. I want to make a difference in people’s lives.”