Challenges of Changing a Lifestyle

Hi my name is Keith and I am a morbidly obese diabetic.

Kind of a harsh way to deal with yourself, but that is exactly where my mind was a little less than 3 years ago lying in a hospital bed in Hudson, WI after having spent the day before in the ER struggling to breathe, feeling nauseous and being scolded by a doctor for being “the most non-compliant patient I have ever dealt with!” I was already upset about my condition because not too long before that, a picture had shown up on my facebook timeline that showed all 386 pounds of me spilling out of a wicker chair at a New Year’s Eve party with a plate of food in my hand, sporting a D cup, and more chins than Dexter Jettster from Star Wars. (You gotta Google that one!) What’s worse, I was putting my friends in the unenviable position of humoring me and watching me die a not so slow death or telling me flat out that I looked terrible. (They had chosen the former btw. Lol)  The second worst day of my life was seeing that tagged facebook picture of me . The spell was broken.  I could no longer mentally control the message and it was devastating, and now my doctor was telling me that since my Hemoglobin A1c was a whopping 13, I needed to start metformin and checking my blood sugar often.  At that point, I had to be brutally honest with myself about myself and face the fact that I was morbidly obese. I had created the environment that fostered my obesity, and was willfully turning a blind eye to how unhealthy and unattractive I had become because of it.  I cried, got really pissed off at my wife and friends, then quickly apologized and fixed blame where it belonged and that was with me.

After being released from the hospital, and experiencing many false starts, I realized that I needed to discover the why for why I needed to lose weight and control my diabetes.  You see, I was being taught the how of it all with the diets, exercises and blood testing, but in order for a person like me to be successful I needed deeper motivation.  To me, the why is more important than the how.  The why makes it personal and affords you the opportunity to buy into, internalize, and become intimate with what it is you have to accomplish.  The how is sterile, foreign, all of your worst fears about big brother and the boogie man actualized in HD. The how is given to you.  The why comes from you.  The how can be all wrong for you, but the why is your baby. Once I figured out what they were, I posted my why’s all over the house.  The main reason being the photo that showed up on my facebook timeline. I made absolutely sure my reasons were in close reach whenever I went to the bathroom, the kitchen, watched television, got ready to ride my bike, whenever and wherever there was an opportunity for me to lose the psychological war by rationalizing or negotiating what I called “the lesser path.” (You know the path that doesn’t hurt as much or demand as much from you.) I just looked at that damned picture of myself at almost 400 pounds and found the strength to pull those laces a little tighter and get out there and make this thing happen.  I read those reasons and looked at that picture first thing in the morning and they were the last things I saw and dreamed about at night. (And yes, I did exercise in my dreams)

Till this day though I’ve lost 160 pounds, I stay brutally honest with myself.  I am still overweight. I will always be a diabetic that needs to control his condition through diet, medication and daily blood testing. I have a body mass index (BMI) of 32.3 down from 52.4 which made me morbidly obese.  My goal weight of 220 would give me a BMI of exactly 30 and I would still be classified as overweight and my A1c of 9 still isn’t where I want it to be. If you thought this was going to be a feel good story about how one man beat obesity and diabetes, I’m sorry to disappoint. This is the story of one of many victories in the daily struggle to keep it all on track while managing the world of raising kids, unrealistic expectations at work, traffic, and serving loved ones, but I have my why’s for doing it.  They are meaningful to me and they exist to keep me focused on what I need to do in order to spend as much healthy quality time with them as possible.  The why’s keep me honest, tracking my numbers keep me sane and the sanity and honesty is adding quality back into my life so now I can say with confidence:

My name is Keith and I used to be a morbidly obese diabetic. Now I’m just a guy doing his best to manage his diabetes and live healthy for the people whom I love and who love me back. Please join me at the American Diabetes Association’s EXPO on Saturday, October 12th from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. to learn, like I did, ways that you can take control of your life and your diabetes. For more information or to pre-register and receive pre-show announcements visit

Comments: 2

  1. Angela October 4, 2013 at 11:02 am Reply

    Wow! This is truly inspiring. Thank you for being so vulnurable in order to benefit the many.

  2. Rhonda October 5, 2013 at 12:44 pm Reply

    I was morbidly obese more than 20 years ago. Even though I am now at a BMI of 24, I still struggle, every day, with my weight and old habits. Keith, you and your words are an absolute inspiration!

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