As a public health nurse at the County Health Department in Victoria, Reuben is constantly telling patients how to eat right and exercise to manage their diabetes and high cholesterol.
But at 5’8 and 350 pounds, Reuben is not exactly the picture of good health. When he saw a commercial on TV for H-E-B’s Slim Down Showdown competition, he seized on the opportunity to get his weight under control.
“(As a nurse), I tell people what they should do. I thought it was time to practice what I preach,” he said.
Reuben’s weight has never stopped him from camping, traveling, bicycling or swimming, but those activities cannot keep up with the calories he is packing in.
“My snacking between meals is bad and I have a sweet tooth. That’s where I have gained my weight,” he said.
If Reuben wins, he plans to take a close friend who has been diagnosed with malignant melanoma to Europe. He is bolstered by the support of his partner, a musician, and the Victoria community, where he educates to raise awareness about sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, and volunteers and assists in hosting fundraisers for the American Red Cross.
For inspiration, he looks to his mother, who is nearly 70 and lost 170 pounds by changing her lifestyle and eating habits.
“I decided this is it. We are getting older and I want to live. We have so many goals, my partner and I.”
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