Preventing diabetes: Local woman shares weight loss story

A basket with a variety of fresh produce is pictured. The Upper Peninsula Diabetes Outreach Network is spreading the word about diabetes prevention weight loss programs, which can offer support and encouragement for those wishing to make lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes. (Stock photos from PxHere)

MARQUETTE — Do you feel like you could stand to lose some weight? Do you have a close family member who lives with diabetes? Do you know if your blood sugar levels have started to creep up? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be one of the 100,000 Yoopers who has prediabetes and are on the path to developing diabetes. Joining a diabetes prevention program weight loss program is a way to get support and encouragement to make lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes. That is what Lynn St. Aubin, who lives in western Marquette County did. Here is her story:

“I joined DPP because I had many risk factors for diabetes in my future: weight, waist size, diet, inactivity, family history, race and sleep. Since I couldn’t change my family history, race or age, I had to turn my focus on the rest. Doing this with the support of the U.P. Diabetes Outreach Director, Ann Constance, seemed like the best place to start.

I didn’t know that attending Ann’s classes would also lead me to meeting some wonderful women struggling with many of the same problems. I have relied on them for help for many of my trying times. They held me up and helped me through.

I have become much more aware of what I am eating and also of when and why I might eat things that don’t help my goal to lose weight. I am exercising more and trying to get 8 hours of good sleep each night.

In March of 2017, I weighed 190 pounds. I was still managing to hike, backpack and ride my bike, but I was struggling to keep up with my friends. And recovery after any activity was taking longer and came with more aches and pains. I knew I needed to lose weight but couldn’t find my ‘why.’ You can rationalize a weight gain when it slowly creeps up on you and you’re still able to do things you enjoy.

I started Ann’s class after taking the prediabetes risk factor test. That gave me my WHY big time! I watched my mother struggle with diabetes and knew I didn’t want to face the same thing! (You can take a simple 1-minute online prediabetes risk test at http://nmu.edu/ruralhealth/diabetes.)

When Ann said a 5% weight loss could impact those factors, it resonated with me. Instead of telling myself I needed to lose 60 to 70 pounds, I had a goal of 9.5 pounds.

I think my biggest challenge was really understanding my triggers for eating and finding my reasons for overeating. It took a long time for me to get to a point where food was not a reward, a friend or an enemy.

My biggest success is being healthier. Knowing I wasn’t alone through this has been the biggest help. My classmates are now my friends.

As of November 2020, I weigh 160 pounds. Would I like to lose more? Yes. Can I do it? Yes, by starting with a 5% goal, which is only 8 pounds.’

Most Diabetes Prevention Programs are only being offered online right now – MSU Extension is offering them via Zoom in the U.P.

There are also national programs like Noom, Fruit Street and Hope 80/20 that cost on average, $25 to $35 per month. For more details about Diabetes Prevention Programs dial 2-1-1 or go to diabetesinmichigan.org.

About UPDON: UPDON, a program of UPCAP, has been forming partnerships to strengthen diabetes detection, prevention and care since 1986. In addition, UPDON has been nationally recognized for improving the health and care of people with diabetes across the U.P. of Michigan. diabetesinmichigan.org


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