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Weight Loss Lessons From a Stroke Survivor

Posted by Ann Ahlers Sep 27 2013

Until recently, 2012 Faces of StrokeSM Ambassador Charles Louis weighed about 350 pounds. But over the last year, he has dropped to 230 and is still going—that’s a 120-pound loss.


Charles in May 2012 Faces of Stroke Ambassador photo shoot.

Before his stroke eight years ago, Charles knew nothing about stroke. But he was overweight and had uncontrolled high blood pressure, both risk factors for stroke. His weight was also causing other problems for him, such as putting a strain on his knees and back. “I spent a lot of money on knee therapy and braces before the stroke,” he says.

In 2012, Charles developed a new problem. His doctor told him he had “pre-diabetes.”

Charles was disgusted with the news: “It was a very sad day.”

Charles in the summer of 2013, after losing 120 pounds.He determined to make changes in his life and lose weight. When asked what exactly he changed, he replies, “The way I thought.” He explains, “Losing weight is a mindset, like quitting smoking. If you want something different, change the way you do things.”

Charles used to eat conveniently, stopping at fast food restaurants before a work shift, for example. On his weight-loss journey, he began using diabetic menus and recipes.

On the advice of a nurse, he eats his vegetables and greens before eating carbs and proteins, which the nurse suggested would affect the body’s metabolism. “It starts the engine, so to speak,” he says.

He has noticed the physical differences of his weight loss—although degenerative arthritis has taken its toll, his back and knees feel better. But he also feels better mentally.

Before his weight loss, he felt unattractive. Now he no longer feels like “the ugliest duckling.” He has noticed, “Women look at me more.”

Charles volunteers with National Stroke Association, answering the Stroke Help Line on Mondays and Fridays.

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