Jerry Mathers owned a successful catering business in Hollywood in 1997 when he received a devastating diagnosis from his doctor.
Mathers, 69, told Fox News doctors told him he only had three to five years to live if he didn’t manage his Type 2 diabetes.
“I was living the good life,” he said. “I had side businesses and one of them was a catering business. And I was doing a lot of motion picture and television catering for crews, which is for about 100-200 people. It’s like setting up a whole restaurant.”
The Leave It to Beaver actor was eating five to six full meals a day while mingling among those working on sets.
“I was around food all the time and I was a very good cook,” he explained. “I was making a lot of money, everything was going great, and everyone around me was at least as fat as I was.”
In addition to being diabetic, Mathers was diagnosed with high blood pressure and bad cholesterol. He began working out and lost 55 lbs. after selling his catering company.
“I’ve been controlling my weight with diet and exercise ever since,” he said. “I walk every day about 6-8 miles. And I am now pre-diabetic because of that… dying from diabetes is a terrible way to go. It’s a really horrible death. It basically burns different parts of your body.”
FROM PEN: Half Their Size: Christina Jordan on the Moment She Decided to Lose Weight
Mathers said it’s still difficult to maintain control and portion his food intake when he goes out to eat. Despite temptations, he is taking it one day at a time.
“It’s really tough,” he said. “But I think, ‘I can have this, but do I want to run further to get the weight off? Could I even get it off?’ It’s a daily struggle. I’m not cured. This is something I have to deal with all the time. And I’m hoping that by going out to educate people on diabetes, I can save my fans.”