Like many others struggling with prediabetes, Claire Gallagher, 66, had tried everything to lose weight and get healthier.
Encouraged by her nurse practitioner, she enrolled in CentraState’s Diabetes Prevention Program. After a year of education, support, and sustainable lifestyle changes, Claire lost more than 45 pounds and gained a fresh relationship with healthy living.
“This program completely transformed my attitude toward food and exercise,” says Claire, a Spring Lake resident. “Small changes that I made became a part of my daily life.”
According to Alison Cleary, MSN, population health manager at CentraState, the Diabetes Prevention Program is part of a national effort under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) designed to help reduce a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Untreated type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health complications, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, and kidney failure.
But being at risk for type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. There is a period of time—known as prediabetes—when a person may have elevated blood sugar levels, but they have not developed type 2 diabetes.
“This time period is when the Diabetes Prevention Program can help, giving people the advantage to possibly prevent or delay this chronic condition,” says Alison.
Skills, Strategies, and a New Mentality
Over a year, program participants like Claire learn the skills and strategies for healthy eating and physical activity. The group setting is led by a lifestyle coach, who encourages participants to set new weekly health goals.
“Participants become more confident in their ability to sustain the changes they worked so hard to make,” says Cindy Kinsella, CHC, CTTS, CPT, lifestyle coach for the Diabetes Prevention Program.
Claire followed the program and modified her diet. She committed to walking her dog, Maeve, every day for 30 minutes and joined an organic produce delivery service. As the months passed, she noticed she was dropping weight and feeling more energized than ever before.
She credits Cindy’s support for challenging her “I can’t” mindset. Instead of focusing on restriction, she learned how to enjoy treats in moderation and forgave herself if she missed a day of physical activity.
“I learned to let go of preconceived notions I had about myself, my food and exercise choices, and what I was capable of achieving,” says Claire.
Freedom with Healthy Living
After the program, she visited her nurse practitioner and cardiologist for check-ins; all were impressed with the results of her bloodwork—and she is no longer at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Now a graduate of the program, Claire continues to put her health first. She enjoys cooking nutritious meals and staying active through bike riding, kayaking, and agility-training her dog. She is not bothered by her arthritis and chronic back pain anymore. And Claire and Cindy still swap recipes, tips, and tricks.
“Claire is a shining example that the program works,” says Cindy. “She was committed and it shows.”
Learn more about CentraState’s Diabetes Prevention Program – now offering both in-person and virtual programs: livelifewellnj.com/diabetes-prevention