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Kyle McAlister no more weighs 220 lbs.  

At 5-foot-7, he had the build of a football fullback. Or maybe a man turning 50 years of age.

However, when he dropped 30 pounds just by skipping some of his Diet Cokes, he believed something else was happening.

It had been.

McAlister referees soccer matches and at one during the spring, he also became severely dehydrated. He drink water but that didn’t help. In fact, he threw the water up.

“I was hungry all of the time,” he said.

Down 30 pounds, he reasoned, “That way, that fast, something is wrong.”

During a visit to a doctor for a physical prior to going on a mission trip to Africa, McAlister said his concern. The doctor ordered evaluations and it had been found the Abilene City Council member and insurance agent had Type 2 diabetes.

His blood sugar level was closer to 500 mg per deciliter than it had been into the normal range of 70 to 140 mg/dL.  

His doctor prescribed several medications, a change in exercise and diet.

“I’m doing now what I should’ve been doing all along,” he said.

Friends commented on his weight loss, sometimes not recognizing him at first.

“I’d say, ‘I am Kyle,”’ he said. They look at him and say, “No you are not. Where’s your other half?”

They even complimented him. How’d you get it done, they had asked.

“Diabetes,” he answered.

He’s continued to lose a few pounds, adjusting to drugs that makes him dizzy and not eager to eat much.

Those who understand McAlister understand he has a fantastic sense of humor. However, while he kept up his spirits, he also took his health matter seriously.

Cutting way back on pasta and pizza.

“I ate a great deal of pizza,” he said. “And I love spaghetti.”

He would systematically gloss off a package of Oreos, back in the afternoon.

“Since May,” he stated, “I have had two.”

About that many scoops of ice cream, also.

A Diet Coke now and then nowadays, and more tea. And lots of water.

Milk is OK, but not chocolate milk. And when he’s got milk late at night, then he understands his sugar level will be a touch higher come morning.

Meats are good, and veggies, although not corn. Fruit is out because of its high sugar content.

“The survivors always envy the dead,” he joked. “Yeah, I cheat. However, in moderation.”

If he’s going to eat carbohydrates, he does so for breakfast and lunch so he can burn off those off as the afternoon goes on.

He exercises more, taking 30-minute treks around the Abilene Christian University campus. He still refs.

He’s noticed the change.

“I feel good,” he said. He is quicker up and down the soccer pitch, not hauling those 60 lbs around.

McAlister is one of 27 million Americans with Type 2 diabetes.   They don’t need insulin but they need drugs and also a change in their lifestyles to compensate for a pancreas which makes insulin but their cells don’t use it to turn sugar from the food they eat into electricity.

McAlister’s plan to would be make his eating and exercise adjustments regular enough that he can get off his meds. His father was a diabetic, subsequently found to have pancreatic cancer. McAlister does not possess the latter worry.

“I am good there,” he said. “When I first discovered, yeah, I freaked out.

However, he is taking better care of himself.

“An wonderful amount of people have told me, ‘I am diabetic,”’ he said.

There’s one other drawback to all this: Today 60 pounds lighter, McAlister’s clothes don’t fit.

His 40-inch midsection now is 34, and his suit jackets, he said, hang him off.

He’s become, he joked, Tom Hanks’ character from the film “Big.”

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