People have many different reasons for starting a weight loss journey, and for Bethany Dingman, it was to reduce her diabetes risk. She began to gain interest in a healthier lifestyle in October 2017, deciding to go to the gym one day to help with depression symptoms. Bethany was going through a rough patch and needed something to ease her mind. Little did she know how much that one day would change her life for the better.
“I actually went to the weight section, which was brand new to me,” she said. “I’ve been fighting obesity pretty much my entire life, and it’s been a journey.” Since Bethany didn’t know much about weightlifting at the time, she watched others lifting weights to get an idea of the correct form. Even though she had never lifted weights before, she quickly fell in love with it.
“I left the gym that night feeling like a hundred times better. I consistently kept going for the next month and a half, and then, towards the end of November, I went for my check up with my diabetic doctor because I am a Type 2 diabetic.”
The decision to reduce diabetes risk
Bethany had never been on insulin before. But a few months earlier, her doctor said she’d have to start if she didn’t lose weight. That motivated her to workout and eat healthier so she could improve without the need for insulin. She said she dropped 12.5 pounds in a month and a half by simply changing her lifestyle. “My highest weight was 250 pounds, and my levels were returning back to normal, so from then on, I decided to fully go for it.”
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Bethany didn’t start working out just to lose weight or lower her diabetes risk – she was also training for the Police Academy. She had dreams of becoming a police officer, so she wanted to get in shape to start her career. To kickstart her weight loss efforts, she began carb cycling and committing to regular workouts. While this worked at first, she said the restrictions became a problem down the road.
“I started binging a lot and creating other unhealthy habits,” she said. “It wasn’t sustainable for me, and then I ended up getting hurt. I got my 4th concussion in January 2019 from my car accident. At that time I was told that the Police Academy just wasn’t going to happen anymore because I was too much of a liability.”
Do not let a setback stop you for good!
While she understood, Bethany had a hard time letting go of the dream she had worked so hard for. After getting the devastating news about the police academy, she turned to the one thing she could always count on – food. She said she ended up gaining around half her weight back, but didn’t let that stop her.
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“That was December 2019, and at that point I had to sit down with myself and literally look myself in the mirror. I was like ‘You have a choice!’ You can either continue eating and probably end up reaching a new highest weight, or you can control your food because that is something you can control.”
She knew that her body would heal in its own time, but that could never happen if she didn’t take charge of her eating habits. In May, she finally received clearance to start working out again, but Bethany says she’s taking it slow this time. Because of her car accident, certain exercises and movements cause her back to hurt. However, she remains grateful for the fact that she can still move at all, and she says she’ll never take that for granted again.
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Here’s her advice to anyone looking to lose weight or reduce diabetes risk:
Bethany says the following about starting to lose weight:
“If you’re thinking about starting a journey or if you’re on a journey already and you’re feeling discouraged, please just keep going.” Bethany says consistency, trusting the process, and finding what works for you will greatly help your efforts. No matter how hard it seems, all the work you put in will pay off. She adds that you should look at the process as a lifestyle change, not a quick fix, because you want it to remain sustainable in the long-term. Fad diets or extreme workout plans may seem appealing because of their fast results, but your body will end up rebounding.
If you want to see long-lasting results, just remain consistent with your efforts. If you have just started, add workouts into your routine slowly. Eliminate problematic foods one by one, rather than all at once. In life, no matter what your goals, the journey matters more than the destination. When you look back on all your hard work, you’ll see that all the healthy decisions you made led you to a new place physically and mentally. We all have different challenges in life, and we must overcome them in our own way. However, with enough determination and willpower, anything is possible. Just know that you can do it.”
Final Thoughts: We will leave you with this inspirational post from Bethany’s Instagram page:
“This is a lifestyle change. I’m not on any special diet anymore and I refuse to start one. I fuel my body for the goals I have for myself and the workouts I put my body through. I’m 238.9lbs but I can move this body better than I’ve ever been able to even at my smallest which was 187lbs. The scale is a tool. A number will NEVER define your worth. Strength has no size. Fight me on it all you want but you won’t change my mind. I’ll continue doing me. I’m not where I want to be but I’m not where I used to be. I’ll continue to fight for my goals. And I hope you, whoever is reading this continues to fight for you too because darling you’re worth it!”
Bethany found that she could reduce diabetes risk by managing it by working out and losing weight–and she knows that you can, too!