02/05/2014 08:32 am ET | Updated Feb 05, 2014

Hoping To No Longer Need Diabetes Treatment, EK Ray Lost 180 Pounds

EK Ray

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Name: EK Ray
Age: 39
Height: 6'3 1/2"
Before Weight: 406 pounds

How I Gained It: It started when I was a kid. I was little, lanky and skinny. I remember wanting to play with the older kids and they wouldn't let me play with them. My mom would give me something to eat like a slice of pie, cake or ice cream -- things you would normally only get on special occasions or after dinner. My mom would give me these things in hopes of making me feel better and it did, for the moment.

I discovered over the years that I was turning into an emotional eater. I remember my first real crush on a girl in my class. I would pass her notes and have her friends ask her if she liked me. I even had my best friend at the time speak to her on my behalf. After weeks of this, I was crushed to learn she liked my best friend. I remember eating a whole large bag of chips in one sitting. I equated happiness with food. It carried over into my adult life, resulting in packing on weight until I was over 400 pounds!

Breaking Point: The breaking point for me was being in the I.C.U. and getting insulin injections in my stomach to the point I was black and blue. Getting needles every hour to test my blood sugar levels and realizing how close to death I was changed me going forward. The one thing I would ask at every doctor visit was, "When can I stop the needle injections?" Finally, my doctor told me I would have to buckle down and lose the weight.

How I Lost It: I was determined not to take insulin injections anymore. That became my motivation! I would go to the gym and work out, starting with 15 minutes of cardio, then 20 minutes. Before I knew it, I was up to an hour of cardio, five days a week. Next, I got my diet under control: no carbs and no sugar of any kind. I remember being at the gym, and I had lost so much weight, my workout clothes were falling off me. My waist was 52 1/2 inches and it is now 36. As they say, I did it the old-fashioned way with hard work and a healthy diet.

Now, I eat healthy, work out regularly and run 12 miles every other weekend. I even ran my first half marathon. My goal now is to raise the level of awareness of diabetes by sharing my story in my book Diabetes: The Silent Killer, How I Survived and letting people know they can win their weight loss battle and get healthy.

Current Weight: 226 pounds and counting down

"After" photos by James Hicks Photography

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