Dustin Hopson knows firsthand the impact diabetes can have on someone’s life. “I’ve seen diabetes slowly take away my mother’s quality of life over time. As a severe diabetic, she takes multiple shots a day and has even lost vision in one of her eyes. When I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, I was serious about turning my life around,” says Hopson.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition where your body does not make or use insulin well. If not properly managed, it can lead to problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, eye disease, and foot problems. Knowing this led Hopson to the diabetes education program at Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital.
“We provide an American Diabetes Association recognized program that includes one-on-one counseling and/or group classes for patients diagnosed with Type 1, Type 2, prediabetes and gestational diabetes. That includes a customized plan for each patient featuring education on lifestyle changes to help manage their diabetes,” explains Lesa Delcoure, MS, RD, LD, CDE, a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at Memorial Hermann Katy. “We also offer a support group, which many patients find helpful for maintaining a positive attitude.”
Putting What He’s Learned to Work
Along with learning about proper portion sizes and what makes up a balanced diet, Hopson says he was surprised to learn how much sugar can be found in everyday foods.
“By tracking what I ate, I would see how many grams of sugar or carbohydrates were in my food and it was shocking. There’s sugar in almost everything, and there are so many types of sugars, natural and processed,” says Hopson. “By increasing my awareness, I make better food choices.”
Hopson travels for his business, Synergeer Engineering, and often meets with clients over meals. He says making better food choices is at the center of his new lifestyle.
“I haven’t had a problem finding things to eat at restaurants, thanks to the coaching. I make modifications on portion sizes. I get water instead of soda. I can make healthy choices and still live my normal life,” says Hopson.
That normal life also includes a wife and four kids, who have noticed the change.
“My wife has been very supportive of the changes I’m making. The kids ask ‘Daddy, why aren’t you having a soda?’ and I just tell them, ‘there are better choices,’ and I think it makes them think about what they’re eating too,” says Hopson.
His Lifestyle Changes Have Made a Huge Impact
Hopson says by changing his food choices and adding exercise, he’s not only lost 40 pounds, but he’s also gotten his blood sugar levels down to a point where he’s no longer considered diabetic, not even prediabetic.
“I knew I could take medication, but I didn’t want to develop other health problems later in life. I’ve got a lot going on, between my family and my company, and I can’t afford to be sick. I want to be there for my family and for my business, and that meant making serious changes,” says Hopson.
“Not everyone will be able to avoid medication, like Dustin has done. Whether you control your blood sugar with or without medication, it will lead to a dramatic improvement in the quality of your life. The key is being committed to the lifestyle changes. We’re here for support and to encourage people to live the healthiest, fullest life possible,” says Delcoure.