Slimming Down and Shaping Up

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Kevin Collins


Kevin Collins thought his extreme fatigue was merely the result of his demanding lawn cutting job. When he fainted at work, he again blamed it on the demands of his career.

A month later he was at his mother’s house when his sister, who had a blood glucose meter, checked his levels. His glucose level was dangerously high at 572. The normal level for a person without diabetes should be less than 140, even after eating.

Kevin’s pancreas had stopped producing insulin, which is essential for the body to process sugar. His family rushed him to the hospital, where it took three days to lower his glucose level.

Kevin, who is now 49, says years of eating Little Debbie snack cakes were his undoing. He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and referred to LSU Health Mid City Clinic, a division of Our Lady of the Lake, where nurses and physicians taught him about his disease and how to manage the symptoms.

“The nurses taught me how to count carbs, what foods to avoid and healthy portion sizes,” Kevin says. “I thank God for them. If I didn’t have them to encourage me, I’d still be off track.”

Now, he checks and records his blood sugar levels multiple times a day. He meets with the nurses at the Mid City Clinic every few weeks, and they go over his results and make adjustments to his insulin doses and schedule, as well as his diet.

“It’s not hard at all, I just have to broil my fish, avoid fried foods, eat a lot of green vegetables and keep away from the snack cakes,” says Kevin.

“Another thing I found out is that when your glucose is high, it robs your blood cells of oxygen,” he says. “This was enlightening to me—I was wondering why I was so tired. With excess sugar, your bloodstream doesn’t have enough oxygen, which can cause fatigue, dizziness or even a stroke. It’s important to keep your numbers down.”

Before his diagnosis in 2012, Kevin weighed 260 pounds. Today he’s about 230 pounds and has a goal to weigh less than 200.

“My message to anyone worried about their health is to watch your sugar intake, avoid snack cakes, pies and sodas. There’s a lot of sugar in them,” he says.

Becoming healthier with a diabetes diagnosis is a process, Kevin says. “I had to learn how to count the carbs, what foods to avoid and how to manage it.”

Today he feels much lighter on his feet and healthier.


Are you concerned about your blood sugar levels? For National Diabetes Awareness Month, the Diabetes and Nutrition Center at Our Lady of the Lake Livingston is hosting a free educational seminar on Thursday, November 7, at 6 p.m. Click here for more information.

You can also contact one of our LSU Health clinics for an appointment:

  • LSU Health MidCity, 1401 N. Foster Drive: 225-987-9000
  • LSU Health North, 5439 Airline Highway: 225-358-2280
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