Beating Type 2 diabetes

(BPT) – More than 29 million Americans have diabetes and nearly 86 million others are on their way to a diagnosis. Type 2 diabetes has increased in prevalence simultaneously with the increase in consumption of processed foods and the rise in artificial sugars in American diets. Fortunately, evidence has shown Type 2 diabetes (or insulin resistance) can often be controlled – or even reversed – by proper eating and exercise.

A prime example of this is Ryan Nakashima, who after receiving a diabetes diagnosis in early 2014 has been working hard to lose 30 pounds. In doing so, he has reduced his blood sugar back to pre-diabetic levels. Hard work, diet, exercise, accountability and dedication have made a huge difference in his health.

As a child, Nakashima was very active and participated in judo, wrestling and cheerleading. During college, he continued cheerleading and stayed active; however he didn’t pay attention to diet and nutrition. After some post-collegiate life-changing events, Nakashima moved home to Hawaii and stopped exercising altogether. He descended into a deep depression and sought comfort in fast food for the next eight years.

In January 2014, Ryan weighed 200 pounds and was informed at a routine checkup that he had diabetes and dangerously high cholesterol. “I was too young to face the consequences of diabetes and to live with the accompanying problems and complications the rest of my life,” says Nakashima . He saw firsthand what diabetes had done to his grandmother, and both of his grandfathers had heart and foot issues and general poor health, which ultimately led to their deaths.

During this same time, his mom, who also had diabetes, suffered a massive heart attack giving Nakashima a wakeup call. “She was lying in the hospital bed, getting ready for surgery, and she turned to me with tears streaming down her face, and asked me to make her a promise: that if she survived the surgery, I would change my lifestyle and defeat diabetes,” he says.

The day Nakashima returned from the hospital, he drove by Life Time Fitness Lake Houston and immediately joined. He took a health assessment and scored very poorly. He needed to be on a strict diet, one that included fewer carbohydrates and more sources of healthy protein, and he needed to exercise.

Realizing he could not do it on his own, Nakashima decided to work with a personal trainer and also got involved in group fitness.

“I made sure Ryan incorporated variety into his fitness regime. Not only did he take part in one-on-one training sessions, but also several group fitness classes,” says Gavin Blades, Nakashima’s personal trainer. “He did not stick with the exact same schedule week to week either. Each day was different for him thus confusing his body and leading to continued improvements and success.”

Within three months, Nakashima lost 30 pounds, lowered his cholesterol and improved his blood sugar levels. He was also able to stop taking two of his medications and reduced his blood sugar to pre-diabetic levels. His Life Time health assessment score improved drastically, his pant size decreased from a 36 to 32 and his shirt size from a large to a small.

“My trainer and group fitness instructors motivate me to continue leading a healthy way of life. While I have only been visiting the Lake Houston gym for four months, I plan to continue to workout regularly. Once I lose three more pounds and reach my goal weight of 160 pounds, I can focus on getting my six-pack abs,” Nakashima says.

To learn more ways that you can take proactive care of your health, including managing and preventing diabetes, visit

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