Taking Control

By Denise Woodin, Rye Y Director of Community Impact & Social Responsibility

Denise-ScottLast July, after a routine check-up, I discovered among the test results a number that made me sit up and take notice.  My A1C—or average blood sugar number—was slightly high and the note at the bottom of the page said “At risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  Lose weight and exercise more.”

I wasn’t terribly surprised—I’ve had trouble with blood sugar ups and downs for years—nor was I terribly worried. After 18 months of marketing the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program and writing countless pieces that spoke of how “life-changing” the program is, I would enroll myself.

The YMCA’s DPP is a lifestyle change program that helps adults reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes through healthier eating and increased physical activity. Developed in partnership with the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, the YMCA’s DPP has helped more than 12,000 people at 600 sites across the country, to date.  Our YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program was launched in July 2011 and has since helped 60 program participants take control of their health.  Thanks to a partnership with Open Door Family Medical Center in Port Chester, we expanded our reach in 2012, training bilingual lifestyle coaches and bringing the YMCA’s DPP to at-risk Latino adults.

Now you see what I mean about the marketing. But I can also say unequivocally that the program works. And quite frankly, I’m a little astonished that it worked for me. I’ve gained and lost weight most of my adult life.  But I’ve never been able to lose weight on purpose. I’ve never been able to stick to any kind of diet for more than…oh, say three days.  For any reason. (If you look closely at photos of my 50th birthday bash, you can see how I’m stuffed into that little black dress.)  One of my YMCA DPP compatriots remarked during the second class, “Remember, nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”  Silently I begged to differ.  Chocolate tastes at least as good as skinny feels.

But our lifestyle coach Scott and the other program participants have taught me a lot.  I thought I knew how to lose weight—eat less and move more. But it took tracking every single thing I put in my mouth and sharing my successes and failures with others to see where I had gone wrong in the past.  Our group is now in week 12 of our 16 weekly sessions and I’ve come tantalizingly close to reaching my goal.  More importantly, my A1C number has dropped by several points, bringing me back into the normal range.

While health issues and the holidays have set me back a bit and I’m still struggling to increase my physical activity, I know now that I have the tools to take control of my health.  The YMCA’s DPP has become more than another program I tout as part of my job. It has become a personal triumph, and dare I say—“life-changing.”

A new YMCA DPP class is starting on January 28.  For more information, or to find out if you are at risk, contact Tanya Stack at: tanya@ryeymca.org or 967-6363, ext. 206.