Hopper testifies to the benefits of exercise and diet in the fight against diabetes

By Kathryn Rice

Sharon Hopper, 71, Maryville, overcame type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise.

Hopper, like many people, only goes to the doctor when he feels compelled to do so. When she had symptoms of blurred vision and uncontrollable sweating, she went to see Dr. Pat Dawson. After blood work was done, Dawson came back with an insulin injection because her blood sugar had been tested near 500.

Shortly after, Hopper had a heart attack and had to have three relays implanted. After recovering, Hopper began his regiment of four insulin shots and two metformin tablets a day to control diabetes.

She was overweight for her body structure at 178 pounds. She examined her black and blue stomach from insulin injections one morning and decided she had to do something. She took Debra Hull’s LiveWell diabetes prevention course for the second time. She cut out bread, rice, white potatoes and all baked goods at Hull’s encouragement to change her diet.

“It was really difficult to change my diet, but carrying the insulin in a cooler bag and determining the timing of the injections was more difficult,” she said.

She got a membership at the Maryville Community Center in January 2021 and started walking two to nine miles a day.

“I asked everyone and their dog to walk with me,” she said.

She and her husband calculated that she had walked 1,000 miles in March 2022. She was also taking tai chi at Nodaway County Senior Center, an exercise routine she had been doing for 10 years. Through diet changes, walking, and tai chi, she had lost enough to weigh 133 pounds. She had also controlled her blood sugar to the point that she had not had to take any insulin or pills for the past six months. Her favorite snack is a boiled egg.

She always watches what she eats, “if I want something sweet, I eat it at noon, then I walk to lower my blood sugar.”

“If you don’t take your blood sugar seriously, a heart attack will,” she explained. “I try to maintain my weight. I have more energy than I have had in years.

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