'Salad Man:' Once-plump teen slims down, powers up on green diet

'Salad Man:' Once-plump teen slims down, powers up on green diet

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Austin Stanfill looks like your average 13-year-old. He plays football at recess and sits with a rowdy crowd of friends while eating salad for lunch.

Wait – a teenager eating salad for lunch? By choice?

Maybe that’s why other students call him Fancy Salad Man – or just Salad Man.

Things were different a year ago. Stanfill tipped the scales at almost 150 pounds and was borderline diabetic. A typical lunch was a carb-frenzy of pizza, french fries and chicken strips. “It was horrible now that I think of it,” he says. And physical activity? It was just too tiring.

But things changed when Austin changed his diet – and his life.

In the last eight months, he’s dropped 20 pounds, and while that may sound like small potatoes in the age of Biggest Loser contestants dropping huge numbers, for a 13-year-old, it’s a lot.

And his friends noticed, especially at lunch as Austin stayed away from the fried foods and put away salad after salad that he brings from home.

“It's funny,” he recalls,” just one day my friend came up and said “hey, fancy salad man.” Now, his example is changing other’s lives as well – including that of his family.

“I’m so proud of him,” Austin’s mother Shannon Stanfill told KATU News. “As a family as a whole, we do more things together actively, walking and exercising.”

Austin says a friend from his church who is in her 60’s has also taken notice. “She's made changes, too,” Austin says, “like no sugars and everything.”

Austin has just finished up playing football and says he has his sights set on another sport he couldn’t compete in last year: basketball.

“I have a lot of energy and I can do more stuff and I don't run out of breath,” he says.

And while his new diet and exercise plan hasn’t steered all his friends away from fattening foods, Salad Man still gets high-fives and support from them.