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My 100-lb Weight Loss: Reversing Diabetes and Taking Back My Health Through Diet and Exercise

After almost 40 years of a life in front of a computer, I realized at the age of 72 that my sedentary journey had to stop, and I needed to finally get my body in better shape. I had grown over the years from a weight of 218 after college and working on ships for the Navy, to 360 lbs as I wrote books and continued my Military Combat Systems Architect consulting in front of my computers.

After a bought with Covid, I suddenly found myself with fluid built up around my heart and excessively overweight. The doctors couldn’t drain the fluid using a needle because of the excess fat. As a result, I had to go through a operation to drain the fluid, my first operation since being a young boy of 10.

Coming out of the operation, I could barely walk 500 feet without a break. At this point I decided I couldn’t continue on like this and decided to stop my unhealthy life.

I had type II diabetes (7.1 A1C with lots of medications) and had been fulling around trying to fix my diet, but now I had to go full force. The doctor suggested I take the Ozempic medication (at $800 every 3 months on Medicare).

I decided that medications were not going to fix my problem, only dedicated work and commitment would save me. I did buy the first set of Ozempic but placed it in my refrigerator as a reminder of what I needed to avoid.

My next decision was I needed to get moving and clean up my diet: No sweets (nothing with sugar); No breads; Not adding salt to anything; I only drank unsweet Ice Tea. I started walking the hallways outside my apartment. At first, I just did two laps, but slowly built it till I was doing 10 laps. I counted my steps and went from under 500 steps to about 5000 steps over a two-month period. But this was only the beginning.

As I continued, I built up over a period of months till I reached 15,000 to 20,000 steps (about 10 miles worth of steps). I graduated from walking the halls to walking on the treadmill for three (3) hours a day. In the morning after breakfast, I would walk for an hour; after lunch I would work out for an hour and in the evening after dinner I would walk for an hour.

I used the “Noom” application on my iPhone to track my food intake along with calories burned from exercise. I limited my calories to a maximum of 1500 calories a day. This meant a breakfast (egg whites, onion, mushrooms, some hashbrown potatoes), a lunch of fish or chicken with vegetables (sometimes a hamburger without the bun or cheese wrapped in lettuce called a protein burger), a plain salad for dinner and I finish off the day with a Atkins shake and a sugar free Jello cup.

While I did a good estimate on the foods I was eating, I knew that I probably misjudged the actual amounts, so by keeping by levels at the 1200 to 1500 calories tracking I had a margin of error verse the number of calories I was burning with exercise.

I started in August and knew it would take me at least a year to reach my key goal. I kept to a strict regimen day in and day out, seven days a week, week after week, month after month. This is a commitment, not a flash decision.

I weighed myself every Saturday morning just after getting out of bed and having a shower. That way it measured a constant condition week to week. I tended to drop a pound or two at a time. Eventually, I decided to stop the iced tea and switch to drinking water…two to three sports bottle a day. At that point, my weight started to drop 3 lbs at a time.

By March (after six months), I had been able to break to the 300 lb barrier (down 60 lbs. from my top weight). This was the first time I was under 300 lbs in close to 20 years.

I celebrated the simple things…my waist was shrinking from rubbing against the steering wheel, to now allowing a hand width between my waist and the steering wheel. I could walk for more than 10,000 steps a day (I was still building to my eventual 17,000-20,000 steps).

But still I continued, day after day, mile after mile.

The doctor now saw my Type II diabetes was going away to levels at the lower range of “at risk” (5.6 A1C). While still on the medications, I still had not touched the Ozempic.

There were a few times that I dropped nothing for one or two weeks. I would revisit everything I was eating and review my exercise to make sure I was keeping to my needed vision. Eventually, I would continue to drop weight. I am talking with the local fitness coordinator; it was probably a case of gaining muscle as the fat was dropping that caused the leveling off periods.

After a year, I had dropped 100 lbs to 260 lbs. I had rolls of skin (with some fat), but since I am not going to do body modeling, I don’t care. My doctor measured my A1C at 5.4, below the diabetes range. I have begun to add some weight training to build more muscle in my upper body and have had my diabetic drugs terminated.

While I have not reached my old weight of around 220, I also recognize that I have 30-40 lbs of loose skin. In addition, over the years my bones have grown strong to carry the weight and as such added to my body weight.

I have slowed down on some of my exercising, now only walking two hours a day. But I still am dropping weight, albeit maybe a pound every few weeks. At this point, I am letting my body adapt to the new condition and noticed nerves and circulation are having to adjust to this much smaller body.

My daily routine and eating habits have become just a part of my life. I actually feel bad on days when I find I can’t do all my walking. In addition, my eating habits make me full if I eat more than normal and it’s easy to stay at the lower calorie levels (when I was younger, a double-double hamburger with large fries was a simple lunch).

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