Man who weighed 299 lbs now trains for marathon after participation in diabetic research study

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) -It was just 18 months ago Nathan Hale weighed nearly 300 pounds.

Now he's training for the Blue Ridge Marathon after participating in a research study on diabetes prevention.

This Roanoke native spent his lunch hour jogging.

If you met him a year and a half ago, you may not have recognized him

"My doctor said you're on your way to getting diabetes if you don't change the way you live," says Hale.

He says his self esteem was low, and didn't know how to lose weight.

Hale became one of 600 participants who went through an 18-month learning period in a research study, to help people who are at risk of becoming diabetic.

In the study, no medicine was involved.

"In the study we're using life style change to begin to help people prevent having diabetes. so things like nutrition and exercise," says Dr. Mark Greenawald, principal clinical investigator of the research study.

Dr. Greenawald explains that just because something looks simple, doesn't mean that it's easy, "What the "Diabeat-It" program does is provide structure and community."

Through his participation, hale says his path to losing 130 pounds had much to do with accountability. He would receive weekly phone calls for updates on what he ate and how much he exercised.

"Just knowing that once a week i had to report what I had done, and I gradually made the changes i looked forward to the phone call," says Hale.

Hale participated in group classes, and was given two basic health books that discuss the basics of nutrition, which helped him to change his every day eating and drinking habits.

As Hale trains for his first Blue Ridge Marathon next month, he's using every minute in the day to be as active as possible.

If you're concerned about becoming diabetic, researchers encourage you to see your physician to learn about healthy life style changes.