John Cooper was out running errands one day, picking up a 28-pound bag of dog food, when he realized he had been carrying the equivalent amount around his waist for years.
Like many men his age, the busy Vancouver CEO had accumulated a few extra pounds, along with two angioplasties along the way – but lacked the time or energy to make the necessary lifestyle modifications.
That was until Cooper, 65, was faced with a choice of either battling diabetes or making a change. He chose a change.
Long work days, countless restaurant meals, and the high levels of stress associated with holding an executive role had caught up to him. Cooper had always been active but lacked the knowledge or understanding of what constituted a healthy, balanced diet. This led to high cholesterol and blood glucose levels as well as cardiac issues.
Time to take action
Enter Christine Shaddick, Cooper’s registered dietitian and lead support at Copeman Healthcare, a comprehensive healthcare center focused on disease prevention, early detection and lifestyle change. After he was referred to her following a diagnosis of prediabetes in February 2015, Cooper received, for the first time, an education of the changes he needed to make, and why they would work.
“After my first visit with Christine, everything about losing weight finally just clicked,” says Cooper.
Shaddick not only discussed daily calorie needs, but also explained the role of protein, fiber, and fruit and vegetables, including why, when and how he should be incorporating them in a healthy lifestyle. It was this knowledge that helped him to adapt to every situation, control his blood sugar, and ultimately facilitate weight loss.
“I loved that while Dr. House gave me the diagnosis, he referred me to other members of my care team who have the specific expertise and education to help me make improvements to my health,” says Cooper.
Support for healthy lifestyle change
To support his challenging lifestyle changes, his care team was available in person, on the phone or by email throughout his journey. Cooper also utilized Carebook™, the Centre’s convenient online health management system, to track progress, check test results and stay motivated. This high level of personalized care and attention along with support from his wife and family helped ensure his changes were sustainable.
“Christine warned me that the weight loss would be slow because I was making a lifestyle change, but I wanted it to be slow. This was not a quick fix, this was a permanent change,” says Cooper, who also upped his exercise regime to a minimum of one hour of cardio per day.
“I began planning what I would eat every day and sometimes even weekly. If I knew I had a client dinner coming up, I would check the restaurant menu in advance to pre-select a healthy option,” he says.
Effort pays off
Only four short months since his Prevention Screen, Cooper was 28 pounds lighter with significantly improved health numbers. His good cholesterol levels were up; he had dramatically lowered his triglycerides and brought his blood sugar back down to a normal, healthy level. He no longer had Metabolic Syndrome, nor was he at risk of Type 2 diabetes.
“It was a total game changer,” says Cooper. “I feel 100 per cent healthier. I have more energy, strength, and better stress management – I feel like a success story!”
Looking to the future
Cooper plans to continue along his healthy path indefinitely, and looks forward to making further improvements to his health and fitness, while inspiring others to do the same. It was thanks to his healthcare team, who provided the right motivation, necessary support and knowledge, that he was able to change his game.
He couldn’t be more satisfied with the return on his investment in Copeman Healthcare, he says.
“It’s like a five-star hotel experience and it’s worth it. Most people spend more on 2 dinners out a month or a new outfit. They just need to decide what is more important: life or a pair of pants?”