Weight-Loss Success: Dustin Hopson
35 lbs lost
Location: Katy, Texas
Occupation: Cofounder of Synergeer Engineering
Diabetes: Type 2
Before: 242 pounds
Now: 207 pounds
When Dustin Hopson was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2017, he quickly sought help. He enrolled in a diabetes education program, where he met with a registered dietitian who mapped out a strategy that included limiting alcohol and eliminating high-calorie meals and fast foods.
While Hopson soon grew accustomed to brown-bagging his lunch or carrying snacks such as Kind bars in his briefcase to avoid the vending machine, entertaining his business associates left him feeling awkward in restaurants and bars. “You wouldn’t expect to deal with peer pressure so long after high school or college,” he says. “But clients want—and expect—me to have a few alcoholic beverages or high-calorie meals with them.”
That left Hopson, who prefers not to divulge personal aspects of his health to everyone he encounters, conflicted. Could he maintain his healthy trajectory, or would he slip back into the lifestyle that contributed to his type 2 diagnosis?
“There’s the stereotype that if you’re not drinking, you’re not ‘one of the guys,’ ” he says. “There’s a boys’ club, and at first when I didn’t order a drink, I’d deal with a lot of ribbing and questions like, ‘Why aren’t you drinking?’ That same thinking applies to meals loaded with sauces and finished with dessert.”
Eventually, he decided to camouflage the actions that help him maintain his weight loss and health goals. “I’ll order iced tea or a diet soda in a rocks glass so it appears that I’m having [an alcoholic] drink with everyone, but I’m not,” he says. Or he’ll put a healthy spin on fast-food favorites. He’ll ask for a cheeseburger in a lettuce wrap or without the bun, and will order a side of steamed veggies instead of fries.
“I might eventually tell people I have diabetes when they see me order healthy meals or forgo alcohol,” says Hopson. “But finding a way to overcome the awkwardness to handle these social situations has helped me keep my A1C at 5.2 and keep those extra pounds off for good.”
Safety Note:Check with your health care provider before starting or changing your exercise plan.