Lighter and healthier: Man maintains weight-loss, rids himself of diabetes
Since Bill Kesecker changed his lifestyle and lost about 90 pounds, he has been able to stop taking medication for diabetes. He has worked with Jeanne Rhodes of Rhodes Preventative Health Institute in Hagerstown to lose weight and maintain healthful habits. (Kevin G. Gilbert / / May 22, 2013)
For most of Bill Kesecker’s 64 years, he struggled with his weight.
He lost and gained, lost and gained — but kept trying to maintain.
There were high-protein diets, liquid supplements, South Beach, Slim Fast and visits to dietitians.
Most of his attempts at shedding excess pounds were successful, he said.
He lost weight quickly but would then return to his old eating habits, undoing all of his hard work.
The last time Kesecker dieted was in the early 1980s, when he lost 100 pounds while participating in a university-sponsored program in Baltimore.
“Within weeks of reaching that mark, I was gaining it all back and more quickly,” he recalled. “I was disgusted and demoralized. I promised myself I would never diet again.”
And from 1982 to 2003, he didn’t.
Instead, he watched his weight continue to climb until he had reached 344 pounds.
“When you begin to reach the weight I was at, you start feeling hopeless,” Kesecker said. “You think, ‘nothing will work.’ So, emotionally, I felt humiliated, out of control and I reached for a cookie to feel better.”
When it came to being overweight, the Hagerstown man said he doesn’t remember a time when it wasn’t an issue.
As a teenager, he shopped for clothing in the husky department and always was on a mission to be thin.
But, the older he got, the harder it became to lose weight. And as the numbers on the scales increased, so did related medical issues. He was diagnosed with diabetes in 1991, as well as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and joint issues.
“I moved less, did less, moved more laboriously and with some discomfort, if not pain,” he said. “I had trouble getting down on my knees, so gardening, working around the house and doing projects were harder. I walked more carefully and deliberately, conscious that with my size, a fall could be devastating.”
Kesecker said he did fall in 1997, breaking his left ankle.
“I stepped off a basement step, thinking I was at the last step. But I wasn’t,” he noted. “So, I began concentrating more. I readjusted how to get into a car, too. Most people put one leg in, swivel in position to the seat and bring in their other leg. My knees wouldn’t tolerate it. So, I backed up to the seat, sat and swung my legs in.”
In late 2002 and early 2003, Kesecker said he began having more trouble with his legs — “stumbling, feeling like my legs weren’t as responsive as normal, sluggish. I didn’t have a clear picture of what was wrong. But I knew I needed to do something.”
During a visit to his physician, Dr. Stephen Metzner of Potomac Family Medicine, Kesecker asked about using Slim Fast for breakfast and/or lunch and eating a regular meal for supper.
“His reply was to reach into his pocket and hand me Jeanne Rhodes’ business card and say ‘Why don’t you try her?’” Kesecker recalled.