At the Y, we spend a tremendous amount of time and energy focusing on the health and well-being of our members and program participants that, sometimes, we neglect to turn that focus back on ourselves. Helping others is tremendously rewarding, but it often leaves us with little left to help ourselves. One of the biggest health challenges our community, whether in or outside the Y, is Type 2 Diabetes. Over 86 million Americans have pre-diabetes, but sadly 90% of them do not know it. Between 15% to 30% of people with pre-diabetes will develop Type 2 Diabetes within five years. Some of the potential complications of diabetes include heart and blood vessel disease, hearing impairment, skin conditions, Alzheimer’s disease, and nerve, kidney, eye or foot damage.
That’s the sobering, unpleasant truth.
Another truth is that Type 2 Diabetes is largely preventable and Y associates now have free access to the YUSA Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) that we’ve been running across the community.
Here’s one Y DPP participant’s story:
The Diabetes Prevention Program has changed my life and health. I want to thank my co-workers Patricia Watkins and Ruth Heltne for helping me to get into the program. I have gone through many programs where I have lost weight, only to gain it back. This has been a challenge from my 20s to my 30s.
I have to say that the Diabetes Prevention program has taught me to look at food in a different way, thereby both jump-starting my weight loss and giving me the tools I need to maintain my progress. I learned that the primary function of food is to provide nutrients to fuel my body. Yes, we can all enjoy food; but the nurturing of our bodies is what is most important.
There were several ideas presented at the program that stuck out for me the most. The first is that food is not a reward; it is something that we need to keep moving. Another is, ‘we are what we eat, so if we eat unhealthy food, it can make us feel sluggish.’ The third is that exercise is a weapon that helps you through your weight loss journey. Finally and perhaps most importantly, is the idea that you have to make time for yourself. This last one is very challenging for me, as I am a working parent, and often my own health is one of my last priorities. But when Christie Ryan broke it down and said ‘if you do not think about yourself, then who will?’ it made me stop and think, which made me want to work harder to protect my health.
This experience has changed my whole thought processes around weight loss, and has helped me get through my first hurdle. I still have a ways to go, but this is a great start that has helped me make a lifestyle change. Many thanks go to my Coaches, Diana and Christie. You do not know how much you have inspired me in my journey!
- Rhea Butler, Regional Coordinator, Reach and Rise Mentoring Program
Thank you Rhea for sharing your inspiring story and to all the Y associates, including Ruth Heltne, Diana Beeson and Christie Ryan and many others who have helped bring this critically important program to life. Change takes courage and I commend Rhea for taking such an important step to improve her health and well-being. For anyone who knows her, Rhea Butler is one of those Y people who is ALWAYS helping others achieve their goals. I’m so glad, Rhea, that you’ve taken Christie’s advice by taking some time to help yourself too! It’s so important!
With a curriculum approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), DPP motivates participants to work together to make healthier food choices and increase physical activity levels to help reduce the risk for diabetes. The YUSA DPP is offered free to Y associates who qualify. Sessions are led by a trained Lifestyle Coach. Participants learn to make gradual, healthy and reasonable changes to food choices and physical activity levels over time. Participants make measurable progress and receive unlimited support!
I urge any Y associate who has interest in participating in DPP to join the information session scheduled for February 22nd from 7pm-8pm at the Y’s Association Office in Towson.
Learning to manage weight and achieve good nutrition habits is fundamental to your health and impacts virtually every aspect of your life. I sincerely hope that any associate who struggles with weight, as so many of us do, will strongly consider this program.
All the best,
John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland