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Published on July 18, 2022

Making the Healthy Switch From Sugary Snacks and Beverages + One Patient's Success Story

Making the Healthy Switch from Sugary Snacks and Beverages + One Patient's Success Story

When doctors told her that her life was in danger, Crystal Avinger took control of her health with healthy eating. She had the motivation she needed: "I had to lose the weight because I had two children here that really needed me."

In this 2 Your Well-Being discussion, listen to Avinger's inspiring story and get tips for cutting out sugary snacks and beverages from registered dietitian Kate Watts.

Taking Control of Her Own Health: Crystal Avinger's Story

Doctors told Crystal Avinger that she needed to lose weight -- or she could lose her life. Avinger took this advice to heart, and immediately started making changes.

"It's crazy to not know what's happening inside of you until a doctor tells you, like you're almost on the brink of death," says Avinger. At the time, Avinger was 30, 307 pounds, pregnant, and battling congenital heart failure and type 2 diabetes.

"I was in the hospital for two weeks in the ICU after having the baby with all the health issues," Avinger says. When she came out of her medically induced coma, she decided enough was enough. It was time to make a change -- and thinking of her children motivated her.

"I had to lose the weight, because I had two children here that really needed me. My mom died when I was 17 from heart failure and asthma. I couldn't let that be me," she says.

Eating Habits That Impact Your Health

According to registered dietitian Kate Watts, a healthy, balanced meal will be very colorful because it contains a variety of foods from different food groups. Anyone aiming for a healthy lifestyle should use the portion plate as a guide, says Watts, because it encourages us to fill half of our plates with colorful fruits and vegetables, and splits the other half of our plate with grains and proteins.

It's also important to pay attention to what's in your cup. "A really good first step for a lot of people is to look at what they're drinking... drinking just one 12-ounce soda each day increases your risk of dying from heart disease by almost one third," says Watts.

Avinger did exactly that -- cutting out sugar, adding in exercise, staying away from processed foods and following the healthy, low-sugar plan set out by her doctors and dietitians. Today, Avinger is grateful to be alive.

"You have to want it. You have to say enough is enough. I don't want to die. I want to be healthy. I want to walk up steps and not feel tired." 

So far, she has dropped 140 pounds. "It was a slow process, but before I knew it, the weight was just falling off... To make right choices, making the best choices that you can, one good choice after the next is going to get you where you belong."

2 Your Well-Being

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