December 19, 2023

Determined to drop the weight and stop the cycle of diabetes

Following a COVID-19-related hospital stay, Robert DeLeon took charge of his health by getting his diabetes under control and starting on a weight loss journey.

From as early as Robert DeLeon can remember, food was always a big part of his life. Some of his earliest childhood memories are of enjoying his mother’s delectable desserts and always being encouraged to fill his plate with more food. This led him to a long-time struggle with weight gain and elevated blood sugar levels.

That all changed for DeLeon, a Kaiser Permanente member, in October 2021 after spending 12 days in the hospital with COVID-19.

Taking action for healthy, lasting change

Once back home, DeLeon realized he was heading down the same path as his parents, who he watched pass away due to complications from diabetes. His primary care physician connected him with a diabetes case manager and pharmacist to help manage his blood sugar and the related medications. With their support and guidance, his blood sugar levels dropped and returned to within the healthy range.

Robert DeLeon

Robert DeLeon has lost 86 pounds and continues to make progress toward his goal weight of under 200 pounds.

Motivated by his progress, DeLeon then turned his focus to addressing his body weight of nearly 400 pounds. He discussed the desire to lose weight with his primary care physician, who referred him to the Healthy Balance program offered by Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Healthy Living in Southern California. This 1-year weight management and diabetes prevention program provided him with the tools and support he needed to succeed. He learned about healthy portion sizes and had access to a professional wellness coach.

"I discovered so many new things about nutrition that I had never given a second thought to before," said DeLeon.

A brighter future ahead

His daily menu now consists of oatmeal, a low-calorie entree, and refreshing salads. He has lost 86 pounds since committing to positive lifestyle changes and has his blood sugar under control.

DeLeon recently celebrated his 55th birthday and is on his way to reaching his goal weight of less than 200 pounds. He continues to improve his fitness and looks forward to returning to bicycle riding, an activity he enjoyed in his youth.

“Eating healthy has to be a way of life and it's going to take time for the weight to come off," DeLeon acknowledged. “I want to praise the Healthy Balance instructors and their whole approach for helping me stay on track.”

The road to a healthier you

Approximately 96 million American adults — more than 1 in 3 — have prediabetes, a serious health condition that occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. If you’re overweight, losing 5% to 10% of your body weight can improve your blood sugar levels and lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Find more information to help reach a healthy weight.