Mom Loses More Than Half Her Body Weight After Diabetes Scare
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Whitley Yates understood the complications of diabetes. 

The 34-year-old mother from Indianapolis, Indiana, said all the men in her family have it, and her grandfather had an amputation as a result. 

When Yates was 300 pounds in 2018, she began losing feeling in her legs, a known diabetes complication.

Her blood test indicated she had Type 2 diabetes

Black Americans are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes compared to white Americans, and it’s most likely due to biological risk factors.

Thinking of her daughter, Yates began a life-changing weight loss journey. Today at 5-foot-2, the political commentator is now 120 pounds – losing more than half of her body weight through a major lifestyle change, surgery and a renewed perspective on food. 

“I didn’t know if I could walk,” Yates told “I’m a single mother and I had to make a change, not just for me, but for (my daughter) as well, so that I could be around to raise her.” 

Yates began gaining weight after giving birth in 2015. She sank into a depression after leaving an abusive relationship, where she said she began “emotionally eating” to cope. 

Whitley Yates weighed as much as 300 pounds in 2018. Her daughter motivated her to lose 180 pounds after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Photos:

“It was really about portions,” Yates said. “I was eating like two dinners a day – two really large meals.” 

As her weight increased, she developed sleep apnea and needed a CPAP machine. She felt lethargic, and eschewed full-length mirrors at home because she didn’t want to face her appearance. 

The Type 2 diabetes and nerve damage in her legs motivated Yates to hire a personal trainer. She also sought bariatric surgery, a weight loss surgery that alters the structure of digestive tract, at her local hospital, but was set back upon discovering her insurance would decline the procedure. 

She regained the 60 pounds she lost at this point following the heartbreaking news. 

I had to make a change, not just for me.

Whitley Yates on how her daughter motivated her to loss more than half of her body weight

Her now 8-year-old daughter was the center of her determination, so Yates re-enrolled in weight loss classes at the hospital. The program educated her on effective nutrition and people’s relationship with food and stress. 

She began keeping a food diary, working out and meeting with a dietician. 

Woman stands outside in workout gear
Many people regain pounds after weight loss surgery. Whitley Yates was determined to keep it off and stay healthy. Photo:

Yates later switched insurance plans and in June of 2020 underwent a vertical sleeve gastrectomy. Doctors removed most of her stomach during the surgery. 

Three years later, Yates is no longer diabetic and has no need for a CPAP machine.

She’s continued workouts to tone and build muscle, and sees food as a living essential, not stress relief. 

When friends invite her out to restaurants, she suggest activities such as walking or axe throwing instead. 

She cooks at home and has cut out fast food. 

“My entire life has completely changed how I approach situations and how I plan,” Yates said. “I’m not afraid to create what I need to stay on my path.”