Greg G.

Mel Korum Family YMCA

Greg has lived with a prediabetic diagnosis for the past 20 years. This year, when he went in for his annual physical, his A1C levels were high, putting him at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes. He knew he needed to get healthier.

“A light bulb switched on. After my back fusion surgery, I felt I needed to make a change,” says Greg. “I was gaining weight, not moving around much, and limiting my physical activity. I spoke with my doctor at MultiCare. We discussed that I needed to make a lifestyle change.”

His doctor referred him to the  YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program, a one-year program that helps participants reduce their risk as part of a supportive small group, where they learn strategies for healthier eating and physical activity. Through 16 weekly sessions, followed by monthly maintenance, participants aim to reduce their body weight by 7% and get 150 minutes of exercise per week. The program is offered at YMCA facilities across Pierce and Kitsap Counties and at locations throughout the community. Through a partnership with MultiCare Health System, providers can refer patients directly to YMCA chronic disease prevention programs.

When Greg arrived at the Mel Korum Family YMCA in Puyallup for his first session, he wasn’t sure what to expect. As group to know each other, they were able to celebrate their successes, discuss their failures, and motivate each other. Greg gives a lot of the credit to Health and Well-being Director Yvette Lyons, the program facilitator, for creating an environment where participants can learn from each other.

“We share recipes, how we deal with our barriers regarding our health when we age, grow,” says Greg. “The support we give each other really helps with making right choices, decisions with our health. Our group wants to continue to have sessions once the program ends, to support one another for living healthier lifestyles.”

Greg now comes to the Y three times a week to use the treadmill and the elliptical. He also tries a variety of group exercise classes, including Water Aerobics and Stretch and Stability.

“It’s really been fantastic. I love exercising and the Y is a great place to do it. I want to continue to push myself to lose more weight, to strengthen my back, and to get healthier.”

By exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet, he’s lost 32 pounds. Since starting the Diabetes Prevention Program, his A1C count has dropped from 6.1 to 5.4. For the first time in 20 years, Greg is not prediabetic. Looking forward, Greg is excited to continue to make progress on his health journey.

“I feel better about myself, how I look when I go out, and interact with others. My children mean a lot to me and I want my children to have a father that will be around for a while, living a healthier life and being there for them. I feel the YMCA Diabetes Prevention program has given me a new extension with life!”

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