LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Lose weight or die. That’s the wake-up call one Arkansas man says he got from his doctor a couple of years ago, and he knew he had to make a change, and quickly.
At age 35, Isom had reached a low point in his life. He weighed 380 pounds and was just diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
“That diagnosis sent me into a depression and I didn't know how to deal with it, so I kind of just checked out for a lot of years,” said Isom.
Isom struggled to exercise and stay on a diet and instead shut himself off from friends and family.
“About the time I turned 40 a doctor I was working with told me if you keep going like this you're going you're not going to see 50-years-old,” said Isom.
Knowing he had to make a change, Isom decided to go forward with a procedure called gastric sleeve surgery, which removes a large portion of the stomach.
“I wanted to get better. That was the only thing that was going through my mind,” said Isom.
Six months after surgery Isom had lost about 50 pounds. As a way to keep the weight off, he turned to cycling and what started as a hobby, quickly turned into a lifestyle.
“It was like riding a bike. You don't forget, but still I was scared because I hadn't been active in so long, but the more I did it the better I got and I felt so great. It was fun. I felt like a kid again.”
Less than a year after his surgery, Isom rode in his first competitive ride, 50 miles in the Tour de Cure, which benefits the American Diabetes Foundation.
“That was amazing. That was one of the best feelings I had had probably since my kids were born,” said Isom.
However, Isom didn't hit the breaks there. The next month he took on Arkansas' biggest cycling tour, riding 50 miles in the Big Dam Bridge 100.
“It was amazing. I felt so strong. That was the best feeling in the world. I couldn't believe I was doing that,” said Isom.
This year he's kicking it into high gear.
“I’m doing 68 miles, so that is my big goal this year,” said Isom.
Isom hopes to encourage others to keep pushing and enjoy the ride.
“Every time you do it, it feels better and better and soon you are doing amazing things you would never have imagined you can do,” said Isom.
Isom has lost 150 pounds since his surgery in September of 2015. He says he now rides about 40 to 50 miles each week.
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