In 2005, 35-year old, Reggie Cooper was feeling sluggish, tired and thought he was suffering from the affects of aging. He went to see his doctor and found out his blood glucose level was over 300.
He graduated at 190 pounds. When he started at the fire department in 1993, he weighed between 200-215. Through promotions, he moved to the front office and noticed that he became heavier and his weight jumped to 250 pounds.
Even with three medications, a small change in diet and adding some exercise, his glucose level only went down to 160.
“I kept getting used to my life,” said Cooper who wanted to take the medication but eat what he wanted.
He realized that his approach wasn’t working. He decided to do more baked foods instead of fried and even did the Subway diet. He lost about 15 pounds in three months but his glucose levels had not gone down much. He was averaging blood glucose levels at around 150.
He was discouraged and knew that he didn’t want to go the route of his father and his older brother, both Type II diabetics.
Another one of his older brothers is extremely active and is a third-degree black belt in martial arts and still weighs his high school weight of 155 pounds, but his diet consisted of a standard American diet, which included steak and nightly ice cream.
“Being active kept his weight down but, he wasn’t healthy,” said Cooper. His brother had a 70% blockage to his heart.
These wake up calls were weighing heavily on Cooper.
On a Friday in July 2011, Mayor Ed Smith came by with Rip Esselstyn and Cooper learned about the Engine 2 Diet with the intention of starting on Monday morning.
On Saturday, the local newspaper ran story about Esselstyn’s visit and Cooper’s wife saw the story and said, “Oh you’re going to do this? Yeah, right.” At that point the challenge was on. With his pride at stake, Cooper started the 28-day challenge that day.
Within the 28-day challenge Cooper had to stop taking his medication because it was driving his glucose levels too low. They were in the 50s.
He was encouraged by no longer needing diabetes medication and continued the diet, which was now a lifestyle. He ended up weighing in at 196 and his pants size went from 40 to 34.
“It is the food,” said Cooper. “It isn’t just the exercise.”
“People don’t do preventative. They wait until they are on their last leg and even then, they will say they will only do something just to try it,” said Cooper.
“In my job as a Fire Marshall I do risk reduction. The hazard is always there but we need to work on reducing the risk of serious health problems.”
“Doctor’s don’t cure, they treat. Medicines don’t cure; they’re a bandage that covers it [the health problem] up. It looks good but it doesn’t change the problem.”
“We have two sets of dominoes. Instead of fixing the crisis, we put a bandage on it with medications that cause more problems, which causes a negative domino affect. We can change the food, clean out the slug in our body, the energy goes up and we feel like doing more and that causes the body weight to go down more and then we will have a positive domino affect,” said Cooper.
Being diabetes free for almost two years, Cooper is an advocate for a whole foods, plant-based diet and has helped others reexamine what they eat.
Copyright © 2012 Robin D. Everson. All rights reserved.