Alive and Healthy! A Diabetic Returns from the Brink

Learning to make healthy choices is critical

Veteran with diabetes who uses the MOVE! programIn December 2007, Joseph visited a Connecticut hospital's emergency room, where he had an extremely high blood sugar level of 1,000. "The ER doctor told me, 'Mr. Bray, you should be in a coma,'" Joseph recalls.

The critical moment that led Joseph to the MOVE! program...

At the time, Joseph weighed 350 pounds. He had diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and hypothyroidism. His care team warned that his poor health could lead to even more severe consequences, including premature death. As Joseph himself puts it,"I joined the MOVE! program to prolong my life and end my relationship with obesity."

MOVE! helped Joseph change his attitude about food and dieting.

"The first step was changing my 'all-you-can-eat' mindset," Joseph said. "I had to eliminate my love affair with food. The MOVE! program educated me about food and how to make healthy choices." VA MOVE! dietitians also helped Joseph understand that losing weight gradually was healthier than crash dieting. "I wanted my weight loss results immediately, but I had to learn patience. My destructive eating behaviors had to change first."

MOVE! became a life-changing experience.

Losing over 150 pounds changed Joseph's life. "My waist size was 62 inches; now I wear 32-waist pants and have reached my goal weight of 178 pounds. I no longer take any medication for diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, or hypothyroidism. "My body image, confidence, and self-esteem have increased 1 million percent. It's a natural euphoria that I feel daily."

An environment for success.

"MOVE! provides an environment to educate and support Veterans suffering from obesity," Joseph said. "The weekly classroom meetings, food journals, guest speakers, peer discussions about failures and successes, and weigh-ins all helped make me accountable for my weight loss."

VA health care teams and MOVE! - empowering Veterans.

Joseph has nothing but the highest praise for his VA health care team. "The VA staff empowers Veterans to set healthy goals about their health care concerns and needs. They are committed to serving Veterans." And would he recommend the MOVE! program to other Veterans? "Absolutely! For any Veteran dealing with obesity, it is an asset that will enhance their lives."

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MOVE! Weight Management Program 

Updated October 10, 2019