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East Rockaway bank manager loses 110 pounds after two health scares

Dan Caracciolo, 38, of East Rockaway, at left

Dan Caracciolo, 38, of East Rockaway, at left in December 2017 when he weighed 343 pounds, and after his more than 100-pound weight loss. Credit: Liz & Joe Schmidt Photography; William Perlman

Dan Caracciolo, 38, East Rockaway

Occupation: Global relationship manager at a middle market bank

Before 343 Dec 2017 After 233 Jan 2019

It was after two serious diabetic episodes, blood sugar readings near 650 and being put on medication that Dan Caracciolo started researching reversing type 2 diabetes on his own. It was the end of March 2018 when he got interested in the philosophy of Dr. Neil Barnard, a longtime advocate of a plant-based diet to reverse type 2 diabetes.

Caracciolo says he always liked chicken and beef, not so much fish, but really loved cheese and other dairy products. “So I started watching [Dr. Barnard’s] videos and learning about others who had successful reversals. I asked myself if I could do it for a week. I did it and struggled but survived. Then I asked myself about doing it for 30 days, and I did that, too,” says Caracciolo.

He lost 30 pounds the first month and a total of 56 pounds after 90 days. Now down 110 pounds, Caracciolo says he wants to lose 33 more pounds.  

He says his A1C level (the average blood sugar level for the previous two- to three-month period) went from 9.4 in December 2017 to 6.7 in July to 4.9 in October. Under 5.7 is considered to be non-diabetic, according to the Mayo Clinic.

When asked about sustaining such a strident eating regimen, Caracciolo says “It’s hard to know. I don’t have any plans on stopping. I’m worried about my blood sugar spiking.”  

Caracciolo’s breakfast is often oatmeal with chia seeds, fresh fruit and a tablespoon of minimally processed peanut butter plus an orange. Lunch can be “mock tuna salad,” which is mashed chick peas with half an avocado and some chopped jalapeno pepper on Ezekiel-brand bread. Examples of dinners include cooked lentils and sautéed kale over mashed sweet potatoes, red lentil cauliflower curry over rice or acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and a black bean mix. Dates, some nuts and maple syrup are sources of sweetness for Caracciolo.

“The internet is great. There are so many recipes out there.”

Caracciolo goes to Orangetheory Fitness for one hour five days a week for group training workouts that involve high-intensity interval training combining cardiovascular and strength training. He uses a treadmill and a water rower and does floor exercises using free weights.  

“Doing research was the biggest thing for me. Find what’s right for you. And realize that social media offers a lot of support….There are people on the same path looking for others they can relate to.The lifestyle is difficult at times, but I really appreciate my wife and family supporting me. I know it can be hard on them.”