EASTON — Dave Tuthill says when he was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, the diagnosis both saved and changed his life.

The owner, president and CEO of Hearthstone Health and Fitness in Easton, Tuthill advocates for Diabetes awareness on the Eastern Shore. On Tuesday, March 25, Diabetes Alert Day, Tuthill held an event at Hearthstone to draw attention to the disease.

Inside Hearthstone, a representative from the University of Maryland Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology provided diabetes risk tests, a member of the American Diabetes Association offered information and Jordan Lloyd, executive chef and co-owner of the Bartlett Pear Inn, cooked diabetic-friendly dishes. Outside as snow fell, Tuthill placed a red flag in the front lawn every 18 seconds, measuring how often someone in the U.S. is newly diagnosed with diabetes on average.

“Diabetes is really important to Hearthstone. We have a lot of clients who are both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetic,” Tuthill said. “I am Type 2 diabetic. I was insulin dependent, but I am no longer as a result of proper nutrition and exercise.”

Tuthill, now 56, has exercised routinely since he was about 30.

“Much of that time was wasted with exercise that was not effective for my condition,” Tuthill said. “My gym in the D.C. suburbs ... trained clients in a ‘one-size-fits-all mode.’”

Tuthill is a certified public accountant and said when he was diagnosed he was a controller for a publically traded national commercial real estate company in Washington, D.C.

“My weight and lifestyle were out of control,” Tuthill said. “I was constantly stressed from a high-powered job and that stress led me to feeling like I needed to constantly reward myself for making it through the week. My rewards were all centered on food.”

Tuthill said he weighed 340 pounds at his heaviest. When he was diagnosed as diabetic at 41 years old in 1998, he began to change his lifestyle.

“After diabetes, my life began to be centered around the disease,” he said. “I gradually learned many important lessons about living with the disease and, ultimately, how to control it. I might still be 340 pounds if it hadn’t become a necessity to take control of myself and get healthy.”

The transition wasn’t easy. He was initially prescribed oral medications that immediately helped.

About two years after the diagnosis, he was referred to an endocrinologist, “who put me on about four more medications while never offering me any advice on either exercise or nutrition,” Tuthill said. “I was simply told to ‘eat less of everything.’ So instead of eating six chocolate chip cookies, I would eat four. I was that naive.”

Tuthill and his wife, Martha, also 56, moved to Oxford from the Washington, D.C. area in 2006. In 2010, he suffered a life-threatening event.

“In December 2010, I was given two rounds of Prednisone for a case of bronchitis. This severely elevated my blood sugar levels to over 500,” Tuthill said, noting that normal blood-sugar levels are between 100 and 120. “My blood pressure was off the scale and I wound up hooked up to a crash cart with a doctor fearing I would stroke out over night.”

Tuthill said the incident was his “wake-up call to action.”

“I vowed never to go back to that state,” he said. “The day after Christmas, I started a new nutrition and exercise program supervised by a cutting-edge doctor.”

Tuthill said his doctor focused on his hormonal balance and he immediately felt the results. He began exercising two hours per day, and maintained a better diet. Within three months, he was no longer dependent on insulin.

“Since then I have used myself as my own science project trying various types of nutrition programs and exercise programs,” he said, “and have finally found one that has really given me astounding results.”

Tuthill opened Hearthstone on May 21, 2012 — the inaugural week of the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure in Talbot County. He has put together a staff that offers comprehensive health, fitness and dietary expertise.

“I started Hearthstone out of frustration with the fitness industry in general,” he said. “Most gyms today only care about membership levels and money. ... Many gyms offer personal training but frequently those trainers lack formal education and important certifications.”

According to Tuthill, all of Hearthstone’s trainers have bachelor’s or master’s degrees in exercise physiology or an equivalent degree.

“They all hold current certifications from nationally accredited organizations that require in-person testing and ongoing classes to ensure they have mastered the knowledge of how to coach people on fitness,” Tuthill said. “We have two certified nutrition coaches on staff. We have a certified life coach who helps people confront the barriers that are getting in the way of achieving their goals.”

Tuthill said he wants his staff to know all of his clients’ names, and that they’re greeted personally when they come in.

“First and foremost is that we truly care about the individual circumstances of every single person that comes through our doors,” he said. “We’ve created an environment that is clean, professional and friendly and manned by the most educated and talented staff around — bar none.”

Hearthstone is at 102 Marlboro Ave. in Easton. For more information about the health and fitness facility, visit www.hearthstone

healthandfitness.com, or call 410-690-3838.

Follow Business Editor Bob Zimberoff on Twitter @stardem_biz

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