Debbie V.

YMCA Center for Community Impact

With a history of eating her way through the holidays with the plan to begin dieting on New Year's Day, Debbie discovered at her annual checkup in 2014 that her lab results were worse than the year before. After this, she got serious.

"I knew everything I was supposed to do to be healthy but I wasn't doing it," said Debbie. Familiar with weight loss programs, she felt they were too concerned about their financial gain and not about her well-being.

Debbie's niece told her about the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program and this is where everything started to come together. With 34 years experience as a caregiver in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, drug and alcohol treatment programs and hospice, Debbie watched how lifestyle choices play out. She says, "I was 61 and headed for self-inflicted pain that I could avoid if I took responsibility for myself."

She liked the program's structure of weekly group meetings and exploring triggers that effect health - food choices, activity, emotion, work, family, stress, and the like. The small, achievable goals were a comprehensive plan to support real life transformation. Debbie says, "I use the word 'transformation' because once you transform something, it can never go back to the way it was. Change, to me, reflects what so often happens with 'diets.' People often regain the weight. I wanted transformation."

She began setting and achieving goals. "The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program offered me a year's support to lose weight and address my lifestyle issues. I knew I needed that kind of support to get healthy and more importantly, stay healthy."

Debbie never missed a session, lost 13% of her body weight, dropped two sizes, significantly improved her lab results, and even made some sweet friends. She looks forward to further lab result improvements and the continued journey of living a healthy life. She's glad her future holidays and life will be spent in good healthy with her family.