I took this picture the last day of class. I paused on my way out the door, letting the impact of the empty room and happy memories linger for a moment more…
I became a YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Coach in 2016. Aside from my general agenda for healthy and fit living and my grandfather recently being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I was shocked by the staggering statistics of this disease plaguing America.
- 29.1 million people suffer from diabetes (27% don’t know it)
- Another 86 million people have prediabetes (90% don’t know it)
- Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15-30% of those with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years
- Risk of death for adults with diabetes is 50% higher than for adults without diabetes
- In 2012, reported total medical costs and lost work and wages for people diagnosed with diabetes was $245 billion
- Type 2 diabetes is a “lifestyle disease” – which is preventable and should be fought
The YMCA’s program helps adults reduce their risk for developing diabetes by taking steps that will improve their overall health and well-being. Participants qualify for the program by being 18 years of age or older, overweight (BMI of 25 or greater), and diagnosed with prediabetes via a blood test or gestational diabetes. The program is a one-year commitment – meeting as a group weekly for the first 16 sessions, meeting every other week for the next 3 sessions, and meeting monthly for the final 6 sessions. The YDPP emphasizes two primary goals: reducing body weight by 7% and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes per week.
Thanks to the company AFL and their wellness initiatives, I was able to start facilitating a class at their Duncan, SC, campus in December 2016. Some might have questioned beginning our program near the end of the calendar year, but – lemons to lemonade – I was convinced that my participants could learn a tremendous amount in 3 weeks and go into the holidays more prepared than ever.
Day One, we were all a little nervous, I think. But our small group of 4 bonded quickly and proved to be a candid and effective setting.
We powered through Y curriculum. We shared our triumphs and struggles and made action plans. We practiced fitness and nutrition challenges like a week without fried food, pizza or chocolate; cooking a new recipe, buying a piece of gear; and working out with a buddy.
We had “lapse” but not “relapse.” We had birthdays, weddings, travel, bad weather, office deadlines and so many other life events – that, under other circumstances, may have held us back. But we learned.
We actually looked forward to seeing each other. The “power of the group” was valued and motivational. They definitely had a coach who cared. And I had participants who would get REAL. That’s how we managed our year together.
I would be remiss to not say that as of December 2017, all 4 people did prevent diabetes!
So, to Angie, the HR lead who championed YDPP, and to John, Rich, Candice and Tammy, the hard-working, fun-loving folks I am grateful to know…
“Go forth and be successful!”