Over the last few weeks I have introduced you to the people I found fascinating in 2016. Up until now these names have been presented in no specific order. Let’s be honest though, we are all fascinating. We all have things about us that are interesting and I like getting to know people.
Up until now the people I have presented have been famous in some sense. But when it comes to the Most Fascinating Person for 2016 I didn’t have to look very far. I just had to look in my family tree.
While my father is and always will be the most fascinating person I know this year I will actually name someone else the Most Fascinating: the person who had the biggest impact on me this year, Tony Heayn. Yes, Tony Heayn.
I have a cousin named Raquel, a wonderful woman who has had my back since day one. One of her many good decisions in life was marrying a gentleman by the name of Tony Heayn. Now unfortunately I don’t see my cousin and her family (which also includes their two boys) often but we try to stay in touch.
I saw Tony in 2009 at a family event and we chatted and caught up. We always got along but weren’t super close. At the end of the family event they went back home and Raquel and I went back to communicating through text and Facebook. Fast forward to 2016, Canada Day weekend and Raquel, Tony and one of their sons is coming to town to visit Raquel’s old friend Nathalie. (Nathalie isn’t old, she and Raquel have just been friends for a very long time…just to clarify)
They asked me to come meet them, which I did, and when I got there I saw Raquel, her son, Nathalie and some guy I assumed was Nathalie’s boyfriend.
Raquel said to me ‘Aren’t you going to say hi to Tony?’
I looked at this skinny man in front of me and thought ‘that’s not Tony’. But it was. I had remembered Tony as a gentleman of larger stature, but in the period of one year Tony had lost 100 pounds. That is pretty impressive, but what is scary is the reason for the weight loss: he was diagnosed with diabetes. Tony and I took a car ride back to Nathalie’s which lasted about 10 minutes where he explained everything to me.
In 2015 Tony went to the doctor and was informed he had a blood/sugar level of 30.6. To put that in perspective the normal amount is between 4-8. He was admitted immediately and tests were run. Tony should have been dead. What is even more scary is that he had no symptoms whatsoever. At the time he weighed 270 pounds, and after his diagnosis he began to make immediate changes to his life. He began watching what he was eating, started exercising regularly, brought his weight down to 170 pounds and brought his blood sugar levels to 4-6.
In 2016 Tony met the doctor who believes he may have cured his own diabetes. Now this may sound crazy since there is no known cure for diabetes, but the main thing is he is in much better health than he was a year ago. He is back to running marathons, and while some food is now off the diet including Roti (oh Lord, not Roti) he is in a better place than he was in 2015.
When Tony told all of this to me I was shocked, proud, inspired, and grateful. The following Monday I signed up for Weight Watchers and started making changes in my own life. I lost 30 pounds in three months. Truth be told I have regained some of that weight but am focused on reaching a goal by July.
One of the hardest things to do is lose weight and there a gazillion ways people will tell you to do it. His advice to me was simple:
- Write down everything you eat
- Cut back on your portions
- Weigh yourself every morning first thing (after nature calls)
- Drink lots of water
I’m not recommending any specific program one should use but Weight Watchers worked for me when I followed it.
I don’t identify with ridiculously fit people on an infomercial but when you see you someone you actually know and observe them through the before and after it’s a lot easier to relate to.
I am obese. I don’t say that for sympathy but because that’s what my scale tells me. Tony’s story has inspired me to make changes in my life.
That 10 minute car ride was probably one of the most important drives I have ever had. Tony saved his own life and inspired me to make changes to improve mine.
Tony Heayn took the worst possible news one could get and did something about it. He changed his life and thus saved his life. He didn’t do it looking for attention but because it needed to be done. He showed that one can lose weight over a period of time but they have to be dedicated to it.
These are the reasons why Tony Heayn is my Most Fascinating Person of 2016.