John H. Story

JohnHIn fall of 2008 I weighed 302 pounds. I still can’t believe I was once that overweight, but remembering my lifestyle I can understand why.

I had difficulty controlling my eating, had no motivation to exercise, low self-esteem and confidence. I was an emotional and stress eater, the type of person who lived to eat and didn’t know when to say enough is enough! Anytime I felt low I would order a pizza and down 2 litres of soda. I didn’t know how else to handle emotions and stress. I felt like a failure because I kept trying and giving up, the cycle kept spinning but I couldn’t figure out what to do to change.

At over 300 pounds I was ashamed of being “The Fat One”. There was so much more to me that people couldn’t see with the weight standing in the way. I tried every option: Anna Nicole’s Trim-Spa, Weight Watchers, and even paid $500 for a 3 month training and eating plan. I failed every single time. In the middle of August 2012 it was painful to walk, and I no longer felt like myself. Several tests and doctor visits later the truth hit me fast and hard. I had Type 2 diabetes, and extremely high cholesterol levels.

I still remember the moment vividly when I was in the doctors office, and as I was leaving and he said to my mother who was with me that day “You don’t realize how sick your child really is”. That day I found out my A1C Test and Cholesterol Results. My A1C was 11.9% and my Cholesterol was 6.9 well over the High Risk Level.  A Type 2 Diabetic needs to keep their A1C under 7.0% and their cholesterol under 3.0. I wasn’t anywhere near where I should be.

The most difficult part was learning to deal with having this diagnosis. Processing in my head what just happened and figuring out what to do next. I needed to find out what to do and what would work best for me. Educating myself about diabetes, healthy eating and regular exercise as well as controlling blood sugar levels were the biggest things I needed to figure out and I knew a few simple visits to a diabetes educator wouldn’t solve much. I needed someone long term that could relate to my situation and help me create a plan.

I’ve always had issues with dieticians who couldn’t relate to my situation, who didn’t understand my food likes and dislikes and constantly presented me with a copy of Canada’s Food Guide. I needed to find a Private Dietician that could do those things and help me create a plan that works. After lots of searching online I stumbled upon a company called Spectrum Nutrition. In their personal biographies I got a feeling that they wanted to teach me and educate me while working with me step by step to create a plan that fits my lifestyle. The dietician that I got the pleasure to work with has since changed my life! I felt like I had been able to go through Proper Nutrition and Weight loss Education from Kindergarten to High School Graduation!

Aside from working with my dietician I also attended Diabetes Education Self-Management Workshops and Connected with other Diabetics online through the Diabetes Online Community on Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. The program I was on was designed for small but steady weight loss. I never even reached a plateau! This organization and focus was the perfect solution for me. I had fears of failing, but persisted through.

I have learned a valuable lesson In healthy eating: “Fad Diets DON’T WORK”! Healthy Eating is all about finding tasty and healthy foods you love and enjoying treats in moderation that are built into a calorie and carb budget. I found that if I wanted the higher carb foods I had to sacrifice elsewhere like with blood sugar control or with calories. The Low Carb Grocery changed that by allowing me to enjoy those treats without eating the entire carb budget out of the water and while not having to worry as much about blood sugar control issues.  A lot of products are also great sources of protein and fibre which helped me feel full for longer, reducing appetite and thus helping me lose weight. It was also easy for me to work these products into my meals and snacks.

A year later, and my current weight is at 185 pounds! When I was first diagnosed I took Metformin, and a daily medication to lower cholesterol. Now, I’m completely medication free. I’m also studying nutrition and health, and hope to be a Zumba fitness instructor in the New Year.

Knowledge is key to success in anything. If you have the knowledge, strength, determination, focus and an action plan you can put in place – then you have what you need to be successful.

-John H.