Get inspired by four women who turned their lives around with only a few key moves.
'I didn't want to die like my dad'
- Name: Tammie Hamilton, 34
- Residence: Maplewood, N.J.
- Risk Factor: Family history
- Biggest temptation: cookies
- Highest A1C: 6.1
- Lost: 151 pounds (From 344 to 193 lbs. in 3 years)
"My father had type 2 diabetes, so I always figured it was in the cards for me. Then when I was 23, I started missing my period and gaining weight. The doctor found that my blood sugar levels were elevated. He also diagnosed me with polycystic ovary syndrome, an imbalance of female hormones that is linked to diabetes. I had to go on two medications for my blood sugar, plus birth-control pills."
The Turning Point
"In 2009, my dad died from complications of type 2 diabetes and obesity. He was only 58. Two years later, my doctor gave me an ultimatum: Join Weight Watchers or get gastric bypass surgery. I was 31 years old and weighed 344 pounds. I was, like, 'Am I going to see 35?' I was afraid of surgery, so I joined Weight Watchers with a friend. It was the first time I ever evaluated what I was eating: I'd ask, 'This cookie or my health?' Within a year, I had lost 75 pounds, and my doctor took me off all medication: I was no longer prediabetic! At my last checkup, a nurse asked if I was a runner because I have the heart rate of someone who is athletic. I said, 'Are you talking to me?' "
"I've lost 151 pounds by eating better and walking 15,000 steps a day. It's sad to think about the milestones in my life that my dad will never get to see. I want to do better."
"Enlist a buddy. My friend and I lost weight by working as a team, taking walks together and keeping each other accountable."