In the fall of 2007 Arthur Payne started noticing a decline in his vision. After a few failed attempts to use glasses to correct the problem, Payne visited an eye doctor — the outcome was a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes.

“I was going to the bathroom more often, out of breath after short walks and thirsty all the time,” said Payne. “I knew I needed to make a change, but I just didn’t know where to start.”

Sharp Rees-Stealy family medicine physician Dr. Theresa Currier put a plan of action together for Payne that included prescribed medication, exercise and a balanced diet — a combination that she said could eliminate his diabetes. Payne wasn’t convinced, and although he was taking the medication prescribed to manage his diabetes, he continued to eat poorly.

“The medication helped a great deal,” explained Payne. “My vision went back to normal and I wasn’t as thirsty as before, but I could not walk very far without becoming short of breath.”

“I was eating three hamburgers, instead of one and taking nine pills of medication a day,” said Payne. “It wasn’t until I took an opportunity to join a boot camp at work in July of 2010 led by Michelle Szames that I began to understand why Dr. Currier’s recommendations were so important.”

Payne started attending boot camp three days a week and working out at home two days a week. In just three months, he lost 12 pounds. As the weight continued to drop, his motivation increased. Payne changed his diet, eating oatmeal in the morning and more green vegetables throughout the day.

Dr. Currier was thrilled.

“A doctor can guide a patient to help them achieve their best health. Ultimately, the patient has to make a personal decision and commitment to change their lifestyle, and that is exactly what Arthur did,” said Dr. Currier. “He lost weight the right way with better eating habits and physical exercise. I’m so proud of him.”

As he lost more weight (a total of 43 pounds in 10 months), his health improved to the point that Dr. Currier was able to reduce and eventually eliminate all of his diabetic and hypertensive medication.

Today, Payne is diabetes-free. Each week he continues to go to boot camp three days and work out at home two days.

“I feel fantastic now; I take 2.6 mile walks on the weekends with no problem,” said Payne.

In 2007, more than 20 million people were diagnosed with diabetes.

“I know there are a lot of people out there that are in the same position I was just a few years ago,” said Payne. “I want them to know that it’s not going to be easy, but it’s important to exercise, eat a balanced diet and listen to your doctor. Find a partner, like I did with Dr. Currier at Sharp Rees-Stealy, to help you get started and hold you accountable.”

Reprinted with permission by Sharp Reese-Stealy.