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From Risky Health Status to a Better Life
Date:1/15/2010

Not just writing about losing weight but doing it takes reporter from the brink of disaster

FRIDAY, Jan. 15 (HealthDay News) -- It's easy to roll your eyes when a doctor prescribes diet and exercise as a cure for what ails you.

But it works. It worked for me.

In the past year, I used diet and exercise to lose more than 60 pounds, beat back pre-diabetes and lower my cholesterol. I did it armed with knowledge given to me by professionals and with a lot of thought and hard work.

My family physician, Dr. Paul Weaver of West Salem Family Practice in Oregon, ordered a blood test for me in February. The results weren't good.

My blood glucose had reached the pre-diabetic stage. My cholesterol was dangerously high. Liver enzymes were elevated. I had the beginnings of metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that combine to greatly raise the risks for serious heart problems.

Weaver told me I had to take steps to save my health or I was going to develop diabetes.

"There's a point of irreversibility, where you've killed off enough insulin receptors that you can't go back to normal even through diet and exercise," he said.

My liver also had become prone to disease and damage. "Your liver is marbled with fat," Weaver said. Heart disease and liver damage were inevitable if I didn't do something.

I knew where all this had come from. I'm 6-foot-2 and have always been a heavy guy, but I'd gained even more weight in recent years. On the day of my exam, the scale hit 268 pounds.

I was sort of active, working out once or twice during the week and going on long bicycle rides on the weekends. But I also was sharing a pizza with my wife once a week, eating fried chicken on a regular basis and indulging my sweet tooth with huge bowls of ice cream.

I knew where it was headed, too. My father had died the previous year of heart disease and lung cancer. I've had
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