We are thrilled to share a testimonial from Kathy, a recent Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes participant. Kathy began the program last February and since then has adopted healthy strategies, incorporated more physical activity (hiked through Alaksa!), and has even gotten her husband on board her journey with her. She shares her story below. Way to go, Kathy!
My Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes Experience
The story of committing to make good choices for my body in order to curtail, or possibly prevent, the onset of diabetes began a year ago, February 12, 2017 . . . the night I met Lauren, my online instructor, and 40 like-minded, like-purposed classmates . . . who had come together to begin the Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes program. I am sharing this glimpse of my year-long health journey in hopes that it might encourage you as you consider embarking on the same adventure as we did!
This past year’s journey of health has been both reactive and proactive in nature. Reactive, as I witnessed first-hand the ravages of diabetes on my dad’s body and to a lesser extent, the challenges other diabetic family members face. Also, reactive to my lab test numbers inching their way right up to the threshold of prediabetes. So, the opportunity to participate in Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes came at the just-right time for my need and my motivation! The two biggest challenges I faced at the onset of the class were the commitments to journal my food consumption and to exercise consistently. My instructor, Lauren, made a statement during our very first class that really struck a chord with me in regards to the journaling. I’ve used the MyFitnessPal app in the past to journal food and exercise, and have started off strong but then eventually fizzled out. Lauren stated that one way or the other, we would be charting numbers . . . either in a food journal . . . or, in the future as we pricked our fingers mornings and evenings and charted those results for our doctors. Soon after that class, a quote posted on Facebook caught my attention. While the quote’s context was about losing weight, it fit my goal to become more healthy. It read, “Being fat is hard; losing weight is hard; maintaining weight is hard; choose your hard.” That quote, in context of the commitment to create these new habits, challenged me . . . Choose My Hard!
“Measuring and journaling food is hard.
Exercising consistently is hard.
Reaping the consequences of diabetes is hard.
Choose your hard.”
While I knew working through the Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes class would more than likely result in some weight loss, losing weight was not my main motivation. The driving force for this process was to be healthier. My husband was an amazing buddy for me through this journey . . . in food preparation, maintaining portion control, and exercising! He was, and truly still is, my forever-encourager. He even started journaling his food and exercise mid-way through the year and was excited about the results he saw, as well.
Somewhere in the process, as the strategies introduced and discussed in the classes became a part of my daily routine and thought process, my reactive state of mind evolved into a proactive state of mind. I know that success in becoming healthier, and maintaining that improvement, is all about daily choices; and so I have to be diligent about being mindful. The Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes classes were structured to provide that scaffold of support and then move us through different levels toward more independence for being responsible for our own healthy lifestyles.
Here is a list of things that I loved about the program and my experiences through the year:
- Participating in each live online class from the comfort of home . . . no excuses for not making it to each session.
- Developing practical strategies that help me make wise decisions relating to healthy food and activity choices.
- The personalization of the course via conversations with my instructor as we discussed issues and questions using students’ individual message boards.
- Setting SMART goals for exercise and achieving those goals (for variety, I changed my SMART goal about every two months). Four of my favorites involved:
- Hiking trails with grandchildren when visiting Alaska
- Kayaking throughout the summer
- Hiking Looking Glass Rock Trail near Brevard, NC
- Participating in the 2017 Holiday Challenge, specifically the Paris Virtual Marathon. (Logged 100.2 miles of walking between November 20 – January 2.)
- Lowered A1C out of the “prediabetic” range; lowered blood pressure; lost 7 inches from waist; and lost 40 pounds.
What now? The challenge is to find an even keel for my maintenance level. I have learned to really use the data from the MyFitnessPal and Fitbit apps to keep a balance, not only in caloric input and output, but also in consuming suggested percentages of carbs-fats-protein each day . . . I’m finding that “choosing my hard” is truly worth every effort made!
Thank you, Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes ~ I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this program!
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