By Hannah McFadyen
A schoolboy has become a fitness star on Instagram – after he received a letter from his school nurse saying he was overweight.
12-year-old Harrison Wright become an online sensation after being told he needed to lose weight when he was just 10.
He and mum Kelly, 45, from Wednesbury, West Mids, decided to overhaul his diet and exercise regime – and planned to document his journey on social media, to inspire other kids and keep Harrison motivated.
And now, two years on, Harrison is a healthy weight for his age – and has thousands of followers watching his workouts and noting down his healthy recipes.
Football-mad Harrison has found the whole experience incredible and he’s thrilled to have helped so many other children.
He said: “It feels amazing; I never thought I’d come this far as I didn’t think I had the will power.
“Now I get messages from other children and parents asking for help and It makes me so happy that we can help them.”
Mum Kerry, who works in sales, hadn’t realised that her son had been gaining weight since he was eight – but it took the letter from school to make her realise how overweight he was.
She said: “He was probably about eight when he started gaining weight, it was a slow process and by the time he was 10, the weight had crept on and that’s when we really noticed.
“The clothes he was wearing weren’t in his age range and I noticed he was getting a bit bigger, but when you see your child every day, sometimes it’s harder to notice the change.
“I was left wondering what had happened and where this issue had come from.
“It was not long after this that we got the letter from the school nurse saying Harrison was overweight.
“It was quite an abrupt and harsh letter, but I do feel for the school nurses, because there’s no way of saying it nicely.
“I think Harrison was upset by it, but we already had decided that there was a problem so I think that lessened how much it hurt him.
Kerry was worried that Harrison’s weight was affecting his health and his confidence, so she decided to encourage him towards a healthier lifestyle.
“He used to love KFC and we ate a lot more takeaway than we do now and a typical day for Harrison would involve no exercise.
“Before on an average day he would have cereal for breakfast, sandwiches with some crisps and fruit for lunch and tea would be fairly nutritious but the portions would be too big – Harrison would have the same portions as me.
“Nowadays he’ll usually have eggs with some vegetables for breakfast, a wholemeal wrap with salad for lunch and for tea, some meat and vegetables.
“I was quite concerned about his health, so I sat down with him and we had a little biology lesson. We spoke about how bad no exercise and too much food can be for your health.”
Not long after, they decided to start the Instagram – they wanted to find people in a similar situation and also hold themselves accountable.
They made the account not just to motivate Harrison, but also to get their experience out there and find other parents and children going through the same thing
“It started out more for us, but soon we were focusing on helping other kids too.
“Joe Wicks gave us a shout out and he had a workout session with Harrison. He said Harrison was an inspiring child and I think after that Harrison felt a sense of responsibility, like people are depending on him.
“It has been difficult at times. It’s been a journey of ups and downs and good days and bad days.
“I’m so proud of what he’s achieved and that he’s stuck with it through the hard times.
“One night a week now Harrison cooks dinner. I’m studying nutrition and Harrison learnt along with me.
“He’s shot up in height – he’s gone from 4ft 5in, to 4ft 10in, but he now weighs the same as he did when he started his journey. Because he’s a child and he’s still growing, we don’t want to focus on weight, but instead on body fat.”
Nowadays instead of playing Xbox, West Brom fan Harrison can be found playing football with his local team – something that wasn’t possible for him before as he struggled to keep up.
Harrison says: “I love playing football – I go to training two times a week and usually one match a week as well. I also go to the gym twice a week.