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David Corrie recently lost 55 pounds so he could better take care of his 3-year-old son

Angela and David Corrie play with their 3-year-old son Luke while their 6-year-old son Malachi plays with one of the family's chickens.

CROWN POINT — David Corrie had a good reason for wanting to lose weight.

His 3-year-old son, Luke, requires near constant attention and likely will for the rest of his life. Corrie's family needs him around, and healthy.

He had an epiphany one day watching a friend care for an older son with autism.

"I said there's no way I can do this 10 years from now in my current health," said Corrie, 38, a fifth-grade teacher in Lansing. "At some point, Luke is going to have the strength of a man but still have the mentality of a child."

Corrie's son has isodicentric 15, or idic 15, a rare chromosomal abnormality that leaves him unable to talk, with seizures and low muscle tone.

To prevent the seizures, the 3-year-old has to eat a diet high in fat and low in carbs and protein. Corrie always tries whatever supplements his son is prescribed to make sure they don't have adverse side effects. He decided to do the same thing with Luke's diet.

The more he researched it, he learned it might be able to help him as well.

Under the so-called ketogenic diet, he eats two calories of fat for every one from carbs or protein, consuming no more than 30 grams of carbs a day. He said the diet essentially "fools the body into thinking you're starving," encouraging fat burning.

"I eat a lot of eggs and meat and sausage and low-carb vegetables, bacon, cheese, cashews, avocados," he said.

He said the diet makes him feel full, cutting down on snacking.

"I've been hungry my whole life," he said. "People always say if you eat now you're going to spoil your appetite for dinner. That was not the case for me."

Starting at 311 pounds, Corrie is now down to around 255. He hopes to eventually get to 220.

Besides the changes on the scale, Corrie says he is less grumpy and has lowered his high blood sugar and liver enzyme levels. And he has already noticed the difference in his ability to care for his son.

"I can get to him faster," he said. "My endurance level to carry him around is greater."

He has done some cardio and strength training along the way, but figures the diet is about 80 percent responsible for his weight loss.

"It's improved my health massively," he said.

Corrie has been soliciting sponsors for his weight-loss journey, already raising more than $14,000 that will go toward home modifications for his son. Corrie and his wife hope to build a "Luke-proof room," an addition off the kitchen where he can safely play while his parents watch him through the glass. A contractor, E&K of Chicago, has agreed to donate construction and materials to make the addition a reality.

Corrie's wife, Angela, has been impressed by the improvements her husband has made in his life.

"It's a big change," she said. "He has been diligent to stay on it in a way I couldn't. The weight just melts off him."

"We're really involved with our church. We go to a lot of potlucks, and he's been really good," she added. "We need him around for lots of years."

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Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.