RedHawks manager changes lifestyle after diabetes diagnosis
FARGO Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks manager Doug Simunic wasn't shocked when he was diagnosed with Type II diabetes last August. He knew his weight had spiraled out of control due to years of poor eating habits. He was feeling rundown from a lack of sl...
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks manager Doug Simunic wasn't shocked when he was diagnosed with Type II diabetes last August.
He knew his weight had spiraled out of control due to years of poor eating habits. He was feeling rundown from a lack of sleep, was having vision problems and there was a history of the disease in the family.
Simunic was prepared for the news. But it didn't make it any easier to hear.
"Anything healthwise that puts you in a stressful, unhealthy situation will always be a wake-up call," said Simunic, whose team opens the season against Gary SouthShore at 7:02 p.m. today at Newman Outdoor Field. "... My doctor told me, 'Don't stop living.' He wants me to make the choices I need to make. It's worked out for me so far - knock on wood."
Simunic, 53, admits to indulging in a free-wheeling, fast-food lifestyle for the past several years.
It was anything goes.
He ate whatever he wanted and his weakness was desserts.
"Just for the fat content, I should have been aware of not eating some of the things I like to eat," he said. "... It was no-holds barred. Whatever goes, goes."
Simunic knew it was finally time to see a doctor when his vision began to deteriorate - which is a common symptom of Type II diabetes - late last season in Fargo.
He was immediately placed on medication to control his blood sugar level.
Simunic was told it was time for some changes.
No holds barred eating was out and exercise was back on the menu.
"It's a different lifestyle," said Simunic, who has led the RedHawks to three Northern League titles in 13 seasons. "I have to tell myself I can't (eat fatty foods)."
Simunic began a regimented meal and exercise plan following his diagnosis.
He began walking at least an hour a day during the offseason near his home in West Virginia.
He's eating smaller portions, more fruits and vegetables, and he's cut out bread and potatoes.
The changes have led to a shrinking waistline. Simunic said his weight has dropped from above 300 pounds to the mid 200's.
Simunic's goal is to get his blood sugar to a point where he no longer needs medication.
He said he's not far away.
However, Simunic knows it's won't be easy to maintain his new regime during the season.
"I just have to watch it, not do anything crazy," he said. "And try to maintain my exercise."
That hasn't been a problem so far.
Simunic has been walking for an hour each morning near Newman Outdoor Field and the Fargodome.
He says he's feeling much better these days.
In fact, Simunic has been regularly throwing batting practice to his team for the first time in about five seasons.
And 18 holes of golf, which the past few years has been taxing on his body, have been a piece of cake. Make that a piece of grilled chicken.
"I'm a little more limber than I was the last few years," Simunic said. "I can participate with my team and feel like I want to."
Others have noticed a difference, too.
"He's just been more energetic and more hands on with the team," RedHawks general manager Josh Buchholz said. "... What happened last summer just made everybody step back and say, 'This is serious.'
"I'm happy he's dedicated to making a change. He's back to doing what he loves to do, which is being out there with his team."
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.