Local man cycles past Type 2 Diabetes at the Metro Parks

WBNS Molly Brewer

COLUMBUS — A diagnosis doesn’t always mean a life sentence.

One local man proved that when he turned his Type 2 Diabetes into motivation to turn his life around.

“You have to make a life change,” said Matthew Neal, who told 10TV a change was necessary after his health took a backseat to other priorities a few years ago.

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“One of the reasons this all happened was my daughter was born prematurely in June and so we didn’t have much time of anything,” Neal said. “We were eating fast food almost daily, two or three times a day, going back and forth from the hospital.”

When Neal’s A1C blood test came in at 7.1, his doctor said it was time for medication to treat Type 2 Diabetes.

Neal had something else in mind.

“I had an old bike at home that I grabbed and started biking because it was the only thing I had available and it was free,” Neal said.

Neal rode mile after mile, shedding the pounds and lowering his A1C.

“I live four miles from Pickerington Ponds’ access to the Metro Parks,” he said. “Being able to get on the Greenway Trails at the Metro Parks helped me feel safe because I didn’t have to ride a lot in traffic. Especially being new to cycling, I didn’t feel comfortable on the roads in the beginning.”

Now, Neal told 10TV he rides around 30 miles, two to three times each week on the Greenway Trails, burning anywhere from 1,200 to 1,300 calories.

“It’s a lifestyle change and having great support from my wife and family of that lifestyle change at home helped do it as well,” Neal said.

A healthy combination of biking and a low carb diet led Neal to lower his A1C to 5.3, beating diabetes altogether.

But Neal didn’t stop there.

Neal road 100 miles in Pelotonia as a tribute to his uncle who died of cancer as well as the 100 lbs. he lost.

“I would say the sense of accomplishment was overwhelming last year doing 100 miles in Pelotonia for somebody who’s never exercised,” Neal said.

Neal is competing in Pelotonia once again this year.

Find the nearest Metro Parks Greenway Trail near you by clicking here.

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