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Success Stories


BeforeAfterAfter losing 69 kg, Butch has improved his blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and many other serious health problems!
Butch lost 69 kg

What motivated you to lose weight?

(Note to readers: Butch Costello joins in our forums from the US). In June of 1999, I knew by pictures of myself that I was in tremendously poor health and had to make some changes. When I went to the Veterans' Hospital here in Phoenix, Arizona, I weighed exactly 350 pounds (159 kilograms). I was diagnosed as a type II diabetic with an A1C of 18+. My body fat percentage was 49.5per cent. My cholesterol was 550. My blood pressure was 200/100! I had an umbilical hernia, full-blown obstructive sleep apnea, and neuropathy in eight of my toes. There were many other problems as well. My doctors (which I call my 'Dream Team') sent me in a direction that would change my life.

What was your weight-loss method?

First I was sent to a registered dietitian and we addressed my dietary needs in order to lose weight and keep it off - the plan was lose small amounts so as not to shock the body. I set a three year goal to lose 68 kilos (150 pounds). My short term goals were 23 kilos (50 pounds) a year or approximately one pound a week. This was to be a lifestyle change and not a diet. Anything in moderation. We figured what I needed to cut back on calorie and fat gram wise and started with a food diary. I had to change my Super Sized way of thinking. Next I was referred to a kinesiotherapist to re-learn how to properly and safely exercise. I started on the treadmill at one mile per hour. That’s all I could do and it was only for a couple of minutes. With exercise I was also taught the importance of water and the role it plays in processing my intake as well as rehydrating my system. From there it was onto psychology. Understanding why I was eating was just as important as what I was eating. I had to establish better coping mechanisms with all aspects of my life and my 'head tune-ups' as I called them were instrumental in helping me understand the big picture. Better health. I had knee surgery, hernia surgery and surgery for my sleep apnea as well. I was on all different types of medicines to include those for my diabetes. The weight started to slowly come off. I could do a few more exercises. My treadmill speed was gradually increased to 1.5 mph...then 2 mph, 2.5 mph and so on. Progress was being made. I was losing weight at an average of 700 grams (1.5 pounds) per week as by design. I started to become almost more auto-motivated. 5 kilos, 10 kilos...25 kilos gone! Not a walk in the park mind you. But strategic. I had all but eliminated alcohol from my life as it was calories I could not fit into my food diary and still have success. To this day I have still not gone to a drive-through fast food dive. It will happen someday but at this point I have no desire to go. 34 kilos in the first year and 12 months of continual positive weight loss. I was fine tuning the plan as I went. The more I learned the more I applied my knowledge. 35 kilos, 40 kilos...and then in a emotionally charged weigh-in... I had lost a total of 100 total pounds (45.45 kilos). Unbelievable. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. I was asked by the V.A to speak to doctors..patients....diabetic classes...weight management classes and other groups as a motivational speaker and share my story so as to help inspire others and gladly did so on a volunteer basis. 50 kilos, 55 kilos, 59 kilos, 64 kilos and 22 months of consecutive positive weight loss.

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What were some obstacles you encountered while losing weight?

One of my biggest problems was eating after hours or in the middle of the night. In psychology I was encouraged to 'do what ya gotta do' but don’t make excuses. I got this idea to put yellow crime scene tape across my refrigerator door at bedtime. The idea was to show me where the scene of the crime was and I made a vow not to breach the tape until breakfast. Son of a gun if it didn’t work like a charm ! I hit a plateau when I was down to 95 kilos. It was a brick wall. I gained a few kilos and my body made another run at going below 95 kilos. Bam! It wasn’t gonna happen. Thank God for my psychology appts! I’d go from 95 to 97 to 96.5...96...95.5...95...Bam! But what I hadn’t realised was that even though my weight wasn’t dropping, my body fat was and lean muscle was being added. It was funny that once I accepted that concept and was reshaping my body, I was able to break through 95 kilos. Then was slow (half a kilo at a time). I could see my three year goal just ahead and it had only been just over two years. I was way ahead of schedule but still being strategic. Then the big day! On the scale for the first time for longer than I can remember....I saw on the scale a body weight of 90.5 kilos (199 pounds). What a ride. But during that period, a few things happened. I discussed with my doctors the risk of backing off my diabetic and other meds. They were skeptical but we gave it a shot. We gradually started decreasing dosages and monitoring. If my system stayed the same, we would decrease and decrease and on May 15 of 2001. I took my last Glucophage tablet.

What tips do you have for others who are trying to lose weight?

I know these are basic tips and cliched as they might be, if I was to tell someone where to start it would go like this: See your doctor! Drink plenty of water. Start by stretching out and walking. Don’t make excuses. I’m also asked what diet I was on and I reply 'The Common Sense Diet'. Seek support from others such as forums like These forums offered me a place to ask questions and get answers from people going through what I was as well as getting professional info from the staff. I feel like a new person with unlimited opportunities! I’ve been fortunate to have been on the local and national television shows (including CNN International). Health will no longer be a deterrent or an excuse that I will use. Life is good. When speaking to the groups that I do, I like to close with a quote from the late great coach Jim Valvano who succumbed to cancer...'Don't give up...don't ever give up'. Thank you for letting me share my story.

How do you feel now that you've lost weight?

I am now a diabetic whose diabetes is controlled through diet and exercise! I reversed my diabetic trend. I lost 69 kilos. My body fat percentage is just over 20 per cent and still dropping. Cholesterol, blood pressure - everything is within normal healthy ranges. No more sleep apnea. Neuropathy in only four of my toes now. No more more meds... no more anything. I’ve since joined a gym and have a personal trainer. My motivation was to control my diabetes. But the residual is that I now have control of my life. People have asked me what am I going to change or do to maintain and the answer is 'nothing'. I changed my lifestyle to one that is conducive to good health.

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