IMG_9154Spotlight on: Mike Cullen

Mike and I first met at the Assiniboine Athletic Club where he is a member. I noticed Mike right away as he was always so friendly! He exudes a love for life and fitness, oh ya and the Winnipeg Jets (Go Jets, Go!). I also quickly noticed Mike’s efforts in his training. One day Mike and I got to talking about nutrition and that’s how we began working together. It has been a joy and enriching experience working with a person who is so dedicated to improving his health. Here’s Mike’s story. 

Q. What was your lifestyle status when you first decided to make a lifestyle change?

‘After suffering a major knee injury 12 years ago, my activity levels dropped significantly and my food choices became exceptionally poor. As a direct result I developed Type 2 Diabetes. Being in my 20’s and at nearly 400lbs, this diagnosis was the trigger I needed to make big health and activity changes in my life’. 

I had my knee surgically repaired and worked with my doctor to get back into better physical shape. While my doctor was able to prescribe diabetes medication, I was left largely on my own to make nutritional and physical activity changes. Through these changes I was able to lose 170lbs. I maintained the weight loss through participation in sports, regular cardio training and overall increased activity in my day-to-day life. In that time, my blood sugars were also normalizing and eventually I was able to maintain healthy blood sugars without medication. 

Q. What prompted you to seek out the support of a Registered Dietitian? 

Almost two years ago my blood sugar levels began to rise again. As my activity level and weight were being maintained, I thought that my diet was a key piece that needed professional evaluation. I was referred to you through the Assiniboine Athletic Club and I reached to have you evaluate my current habits and make recommendations. I liked that you carefully took my medical history, my short and long-term health goals and asked me to maintain a food journal so you could create a nutrition plan specific for me. 

Q. What was your experience working with a dietitian on your nutrition goals? 

Our first meeting was incredibly beneficial! You were able to identify many of my eating habits that I thought were positive for my diabetes but were actually doing me harm.  You introduced me to the Canada Food Guide for people who have diabetes, but you were also able to modify it to meet my needs based on my activity levels.  Your advice to not “eat less”, but more to regard food as fuel for my body really struck a cord. In a very short time after our first meeting, my blood sugars began to regulate again. 

During our nutrition sessions, you also recommended that some new physical challenges would benefit my body. You were able construct a number of personal training sessions focusing on strength, endurance and cardio training.  Through a detailed history of my activity levels, past injuries and fitness goals I felt you built sessions that pushed me right to the edge!  Each activity was challenging but you were right beside me with encouragement and support.  It was awesome!  The results have been outstanding – 20lbs lighter, stronger, faster and more confident in the boxing ring and on the basketball court.

Q. What has been the best thing that came from working with a dietitian and personal trainer?

I would have to say through our follow up sessions, your feedback and support has been the most important part of this process. The programs are as successful as the work you put into them, but your support and dedication to my success is that extra push I need to help me to achieve my goals. Regardless of your journey, you are never alone.  I feel enlisting the help of a dietitian and personal trainer has provided me an invaluable support system to help me to succeed. 

Thanks Chinwe!