Courtesy of Mike Schlesinger
  • Fat School

    Wellspring Academy, an unconventional boarding school for overweight and obese teens and college-level students, hosts a core curriculum that includes a weight loss program alongside academic courses. Mike Schlesinger, 16, weighed 428 pounds when he came to Wellspring's campus in Ashville, N.C., as shown here in this photo taken in Aug. 24, 2011.
    Courtesy of Mike Schlesinger
  • Fat School

    When Mike Schlesinger arrived at Wellspring, said he had trouble wrapping a seatbelt around his waist. "When I realized I couldn't really do anything, like I would get out of breath walking down the block, just take my dog up and down the street, and it came to the point where I had enough," he said. Shown here is Mike during a weigh-in on Sept. 11, 2011.
    Courtesy of Mike Schlesinger
  • Fat School

    Wellspring students have a weekly weigh-in to monitor their weight loss and the rules are very strict. Students aren't allowed to watch TV except in the gym, they only get two 10-minute phone calls home a week, and absolutely no food outside the dining hall. Shown here is Mike Schlesinger at his weigh-in on Nov. 29, 2011.
    Courtesy of Mike Schlesinger
  • Fat School

    Mike Schlesinger said his first week at Wellspring felt like torture. He was plagued by shin splints, which made it hurt for him to walk, but he said he lost 15 pounds in his first week, 7 pounds the next week, and kept going. Shown here is Mike Schlesinger at his weigh-in on Dec. 18, 2011.
    Courtesy of Mike Schlesinger
  • Fat School

    In addition to math, history and other subjects, Wellspring's curriculum includes the science of weight loss, broken down across nutrition, physiology and psychology. Students undergo an intense behavior modification through the use of food diaries combined with cognitive therapy, both in a group setting and one-on-one. Shown here is Mike Schlesinger at his weigh-in on Jan. 15, 2012.
    Courtesy of Mike Schlesinger
  • Fat School

    Aside from their students getting regular exercise, Wellspring officials said their goal is to provide portion-controlled entrees for their students that contain zero grams of fat, because in their view, a fat makes you fat, no matter what the source. Shown here is Mike Schlesinger at his weigh-in on Feb. 12, 2012.
    Courtesy of Mike Schlesinger
  • Fat School

    Wellspring Academy recommends students attend, at minimum, a four-month semester, but school officials prefer students enroll for nine months, or a full school year, which is what Mike Schlesinger did. Shown here is Mike at his weigh-in on March 12, 2012.
    Courtesy of Mike Schlesinger
  • Fat School

    Over the course of nine months at Wellspring Academy, Mike Schlesinger said he lost 160 pounds. His physique has been altered completely -- so much so that his father didn't recognize him on his last visit home for spring break. Shown here is Mike at one of his final weigh-ins on April 30, 2012.
    Courtesy of Mike Schlesinger
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