Weight Loss Winners: Former U-M football standout makes radical change

Marc Ramirez went to a plant-based diet and changed his life.
He's a former University of Michigan football player,  but the big man on campus couldn't control his health. 

Until one day Marc Ramirez made a radical change. 

"I was sick of being sick," Marc said.

In 2011 Marc is battling weight and diabetes- taking pills and shots everyday - until he does something that completely changes his body and life. 

Growing up in southern Texas, Marc loved football and food. 

The taller of the twin boys in his family, his size and skill land him a football scholarship at the University of Michigan. 

"I played for one of the best  legendary coaches ever, Bo Schembechler," Marc said.  

But the big man on campus graduates to the big man in the real world. 

"When I was playing at Michigan I was 305 pounds," Marc said. "I was a right guard. And once you're done playing, I was still eating." 

Marc marries his love, Kim and assumes that he will fight the same demon every member of his family battles, diabetes. 

"The way I was brought up," he said. "'You're Mexican, Hispanics have a high rate of diabetes and it's just part of your life. It's in your genes."

In 2002 Marc  is diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, the same year the same disease kills his mother.

Eventually he's taking five medications a day - for high cholesterol, high blood pressure pills and shots of insulin for diabetes. 

His doctor gives him a dire prediction. 

"I remember vividly, I asked him will I ever get off insulin and he said, 'No, you will never get off insulin.'" 

But Marc proved that doctor wrong, after watching a documentary called "Forks Over Knives." 

In it, doctors and others explain the benefit of a vegan, plant-based diet. 

After watching it, Marc and Kim decide to do something radical.

They get rid of all meat, all dairy, all junk food. 

After reading Dr. Neal Barnard's program for reversing diabetes and they wonder if simply eating a plant-based diet could reverse Marc's type-two diabetes. What happened next is incredible. 

Marc immediately starts losing weight, but is most excited by his sugar levels. 

"Within three to four days my sugars start to plummet," Marc said.

Then just two months after starting this vegan life, Marc's doctor takes him off all medication.  

 "I am off all my medications," Marc said. "January 30th of 2012, was the last time I have taken any medication whatsoever. So I've been medication free for almost three years."

Kim gets the credit for cooking all the food and coming up with new vegan recipes.

Kim and Marc, now the parents of two college students,  feel empowered by this way of eating. 

"We thought that diabetes was going to be a way of life," Kim said. "And we would make the best of it. Then when we found out we could get rid of it and ultimately reverse it, it was very empowering."

"Today I weigh 210 pounds and it is the same weight I was, when I was in 7th grade or about 13 years old," Marc said.

Marc lost a total of 45 pounds, but he feels like he gained the rest of his life. 

"We're trying to share this because we don't want to see you go through what my family has gone through," he said.

Marc and Kim created a website, it's filled with their favorite vegan recipes, they're not selling anything. It's called "Chickpea and Bean."   

They are also involved with a support group called the Plant-Based Nutrition Support Group. 

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