Valley Residents Face Risk of Diabetes while Combating Obesity

Posted: Updated:

WESLACO – A big reason for the diabetes epidemic in the Rio Grande Valley is obesity, but it’s not a choice.

Two years ago, Johice Wyant would never imagine she would find herself working out in a gym.

“I stayed in bed most of the time. I didn’t get up, I didn’t hardly do anywhere. I’d go to like Walmart. That was my exercise,” she said.

After two back surgeries, Wyant found she was unable to pick herself up off the floor. She was nearly 300 pounds and her blood sugar level was at an unhealthy level.

She thought this was her life until she made an appointment at South Texas Metabolic Diabetic Institution where she met Dr. Monzer Yazji.

Dr. Yazji is an internist and obesity medicine specialist, the director at the diabetic institution and president of the Rio Grande Valley Diabetic Association.

“Obesity is not a choice a lot of people think because we are overweight because we eat a lot, we no exercise a lot; it’s very complicated,” he said.

Dr. Yazji says about 70 percent or more of people are obese or overweight in the Valley. He says that genetics, hormonal influences and your lifestyle can be contributing factors.

“Because of the hormonal imbalance, because of the toxicity high insulin level, because of the lack of GLP1 hormone, your body craves for something sweet. It was not a choice for you, it was physiologically feeling this way,” said Dr. Yazji.

Wyant knew she would have to change her diet no matter what she did, so she decided to fully commit and start to educate herself on taking care of her overall body.

“Look at the problem as all look at the whole problem and as broad as function as I’m gonna change my life, I’m not just gonna take a pill,” said Dr. Yazji.

Wyant started with the diet, she started paying attention to what she was fueling her body with and then as she became stronger, she started to push her body further.

“We find what condition they may have and then structure the exercise to fit their need,” said Isaac Medina, an exercise interventionist.

Medina has been working with Wyant for some time. He tailored a workout regime that would prove a success.

“If we can’t do that exercise, he teaches us a way to do it our way,” said Wyant.

With the help of Dr. Yazji and the staff at the South Texas Metabolic and Diabetic Institution, Wyant has lost more than 60 pounds. She believes it’s saved her life.

“I think it’s helped me a lot. It’s made me feel a lot better. I’m not laying in the bed,” said Wyant.

All it takes is one step in the right direction to get you on your way to a better, healthier quality of life.

Para leer noticias en español, visite nuestra sección Español.
CURRENT CONDITIONS
/

CHANNEL 5 NEWS is dedicating two weeks of coverage to diabetes. Learn more on the Heart of the Valley page.