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Adventures in Food and Fitness: Sister's 200-pound loss inspires brother to reverse his type 2 diabetes

Just one year ago Quinton Horton's doctor told him his blood sugar was the second highest she'd ever seen. But he lost 85 pounds in seven months and reversed his diabetes.
Just one year ago Quinton Horton's doctor told him his blood sugar was the second highest she'd ever seen. But he lost 85 pounds in seven months and reversed his diabetes.
Quinton Horton turned to his sister Brittany Horton for help when he needed to lose weight to reverse his type 2 diabetes. Brittany, who lost more than 200 pounds, shared her story on national TV when she appeared on
Quinton Horton turned to his sister Brittany Horton for help when he needed to lose weight to reverse his type 2 diabetes. Brittany, who lost more than 200 pounds, shared her story on national TV when she appeared on "The Harry Show" in February.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

He lost 90 pounds through lower-carb diet and exercise.

Monday, April 24, 2017 12:01 am

When Quinton Horton was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in April 2016, his doctor told him that his blood sugar reading was the second-highest she'd ever seen.

She put him on insulin right away. But she also told him it was possible he could reverse his diabetes with diet and exercise.

“That rang in my ears for days,” the Lincoln Financial service processor said.

With three kids and a fourth on the way, Horton, 33, knew his situation was dire. He has two grandparents with diabetes, one on his mom's side and one on his dad's. He was already experiencing numbness on the tops of his thighs and shooting pain in his feet. Those complications would only get worse if he didn't do something about his weight, which had topped out a few weeks earlier at 395 pounds.

But Horton also had a secret weapon: A younger sister who'd lost more than 200 pounds.

A 2005 Snider graduate who's now a respiratory therapist in Nashville, Tenn., Brittany Horton shared her story on national TV in February, when she appeared on “The Harry Show” as well as in The News-Sentinel.

Brittany was the first person her brother called when he left the doctor's office last April.

“As broken and depressed as I was, I knew she'd have the right words,” he said.

Though Brittany Horton never had to deal with diabetes herself, she quickly put together a customized diet plan for her brother. His fiancee, Jenni Jones, made an emergency run to the grocery store to stock up on low-carb staples like broccoli and ground turkey.

With their encouragement, Quinton Horton gave up soda and sugar. He started walking at Parkview Field – one lap during his 15-minute work breaks and two laps during lunch.

“Those first few weeks were the hardest thing I ever went through,” he says now, noting that he gave up caffeine as well as sugar when he switched from soda to water.

But he was also seeing rapid results.

“The weight was just falling off,” he says. “It felt like my body was just releasing everything that wasn't supposed to be there.”

Before, Horton would come home from work and collapse on the couch until bedtime, asking his kids to fetch him whatever he needed so he didn't have to get up. Now he was increasingly willing and able to get down on the floor and play with his kids.

By November, just seven months after his diagnosis, Horton had dropped 85 pounds and brought his blood sugar levels down to normal. His doctor took him off insulin. He felt like a new man.

“November was a big month for me,” he says.

As he'd put on weight, he'd given up performing with the Hometown Hooligans, a local hip-hop band he'd been with for years. He was afraid he might pass out on stage from overexertion.

But last Thanksgiving, feeling more confident, he agreed to a reunion show.

“My band told me it was the best I'd ever sounded,” he says now. “I felt like I was in my early 20s again.”

Horton knows he can't go back to the way he used to eat. He will always need to keep an eye on his blood sugar, just in case.

“It's something I'll have to watch for the rest of my life,” he acknowledges.

But he's grateful that the numbness in his legs and pain in his feet have subsided. The heartburn that used to require a pack of Tums a day disappeared within 24 hours after he gave up soda.

Though he continues to watch his carbs and count calories in hopes of losing more weight from his 6-foot, 3-inch frame – so far his total is at 90 pounds – Horton does allow himself an occasional treat. When his sister was in town for a recent visit, for instance, both saved up calories for their mom's Sunday brunch.

“If you get off track, you just get right back at it,” he says. “That's something I learned from Brittany. I can't emphasize that enough.”

He and his sister went for a 4-mile walk with their dad that afternoon at Kreager Park to help work off the extra calories. It felt good knowing that among them, they're more than 300 pounds lighter these days.

“I can't even put into words how much I owe her,” Horton says.

Tanya Isch Caylor blogs about postfat living at www.90in9.wordpress.com. Contact her at tischcaylor@gmail.com. This column is the personal view of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel.

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