With a family history of diabetes, Pat Lorentz was worried about her health. When she received her pre-diabetes diagnosis and was advised to take prescription medications to help her avoid being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the Wadena native knew she had to make some lifestyle changes. After hearing about a new, free program called I-CAN Prevent Diabetes (offered by Tri-County Health Care in partnership with the University of Minnesota Extension) she decided to give it a try.
Utilizing a group approach, participants in the ‘I CAN Prevent Diabetes’ program find support and offer encouragement to one another. The trained program facilitator educates participants about pre-diabetes and shares practical approaches on how to feel better and become more active in every part of their life.
The class met for 16 weeks and continued with individualized monthly support and additional learning sessions to round out a year of support.
Within 16 weeks of weekly sessions, Pat lost 12% of her weight, nearly double from the original goal shared by Marilyn Hofland, U of M program coordinator. She is down two dress sizes and with daily walks at Sunnybrook, Blacks Grove and the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center she continues to lose weight.
“The sessions were very informative and motivational,” said Pat. “Most days I get a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise a day, instead of the 60 minutes of weekly exercise I was getting prior to this program.”
In addition to losing weight, Pat was very proud to learn at her last appointment that her A1C had gone down enough for Shaneen Schmidt, MD, to take her off her pre-diabetes medications. “It is nice when other people notice the weight loss,” said Pat. “But, the main thing is that I am off my medications and I can tell a difference. I want to be healthy and watch my grandchildren grow up.”
Each session consisted of a weigh-in, a healthy snack and general information and sometimes exercise activities. Pat’s favorite part was the accountability that came from meeting others with the same battle. The group supported each other, celebrated accomplishments and kept one another accountable.
“I have learned that label reading, portion control and journaling what we eat is very important for consistent weight loss,” said Pat. “The main thing was being aware of what we were eating and being less nonchalant about the food in our mouth. I learned when times were stressful to make better food choices.”
Pat believes that we should be accountable for what we put in our mouth, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our food. She is an advocate of the 90/10 philosophy – 90 percent of what you eat should be good for you. “And, if you don’t enjoy it, don’t eat it!”
If a doctor is telling you that your numbers are creeping up, or if you are pre-diabetic, Pat encourages you to learn more about “I Can Prevent” program. “There is so much to live for, and these sessions are held in a positive environment and really focus on teaching us to make balanced choices. It made a huge difference for me,” said Pat.
Do you think you may be at risk for diabetes? Take this short, 10-question CDC (Center for Disease Control) questionnaire to assess your risk. Always speak with your doctor about any medical decisions.
About this program:
Tri-County Health Care is pleased to partner with the University of Minnesota Extension to offer the ‘I CAN Prevent Diabetes’ Program. In this FREE program, participants learn how to create a healthier lifestyle and to help them prevent the onset of diabetes. Participants will meet with a trained life-style coach to learn how to lose weight, eat healthier and increase physical activity.
The I-CAN Prevent Diabetes program will be kicking off with a new group later this fall. You are invited to be part of this exciting opportunity! If you are interested in participating, please contact Sara Stone, TCHC Medical Social Services Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch other participants speak about the program…