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  • Writer's pictureSusan K. Blank

Meet the Winner of February's $1000 BEATDiabetes Drawing



When told that she needed to lose weight to qualify for knee replacement surgery, Audrey sought resources to help her make healthy lifestyle changes. With help from a Diabetes Prevention Program and BEATDiabetes, she was successful in losing weight and getting her A1C back into the normal, non-prediabetic range. She was able to get the much-needed knee replacement surgery and is enjoying being active and looking forward to doing lots of walking on a vacation this summer. In addition to improving her health, Audrey qualified for the $1000 BEATDiabetes Drawing and was the lucky winner of the February drawing!


We spoke with Audrey about how she was able to reverse her prediabetes, what advice she has for others trying to make healthy changes, and what she plans to do with the $1000.


How long have you had prediabetes?

For several years, my A1c hovered between 5.3 and 5.7. When I was trying to eat more healthfully, It would inch down and I’d deny that I was at risk for developing full blown diabetes. As the years passed, I started to develop additional weight related difficulties (joints and resulting poor mobility, hypertension).

 

What are the biggest challenges you face in trying to eat healthy and be active?

In spite of being a highly educated healthcare provider (ICU nurse and clinical nurse specialist, ACLS Instructor and on our hospital’s primary stroke team), I’ve made poor dietary choices for most of my life. I’ve been a super snacker and hid treats to avoid challenges or judgment from friends and family.


Additionally, I’ve been an all-or-nothing yo-yo dieter who lost >100 pounds 3 times in the past, only to gain it all back. I knew most of the fast food places on my routes to and from work, including the ones with sweets and fat laden foods.

 

What changes have you made that have helped improve your health?

In January of 2023, my knee finally rebelled completely. Just walking short distances became very painful and I returned to the Orthopedic MD, ready to accept knee surgery. Unfortunately, I was told that I had to lose weight to qualify for knee replacement surgery and the medical options (steroid injections and NSAIDS) were not helpful.


I returned to the Weight Watcher’s program in January, but weight loss was very slow, especially with such limited mobility. I heard of the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) being offered through my hospital and thought it might be helpful. I spoke to the program coordinator who agreed and signed up to start in April. In the interim, she suggested BEATDiabetes as I way to improve my motivation, so I registered for the program. I began receiving helpful text messages in late February, and all efforts worked together to help me lose 60 pounds. I was thrilled to have successful surgery in November. My A1c initially rose to 5.9 in June but was down to 5.2 by October. I still do daily exercises taught by PT and walk daily (not at goal but up to 5-6,000 steps/daily). I love my Fit Bit which also keeps track of my heart rate.

 

What motivates you to make healthy choices?

I’ve become quite a label reader in the store. I’m much more aware of choosing foods with little/no added sugar and that achieve the Whole Grain label designations. I enjoy choosing new fruits and veggies at our local farmer’s markets. I belong to several on-line groups that share recipes with trimmed down amounts of fat/simple carbs. In addition to making healthier food choices, the Diabetes Prevention Program and the BEAT Diabetes program both offer great suggestions such as “eating slower-putting utensil down between bites” or “short exercises during TV commercials” that contributes to weight loss and improvement in A1c levels.

 

I’ve found a new goal for healthy eating and activity. I’m going on a “Sister Trip” to the Canadian Rockies in August with lots of hilly walking and am excited to show off my bionic knee and slimmer body.

 

What advice do you have for others trying to prevent their prediabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes?

 For anyone who struggles with preventing diabetes, my best advice is to try everything possible. I read as much as I can about a variety of different topics, enlist my family to try new things, keep track of my weight, try to beg/borrow new clothes that fit. I consider managing my choices to be a lifelong journey.

 

Why did you decide to sign-up for BEATDiabetes?

 It was suggested by the DPP coordinator.

 

How has the BEATDiabetes program helped you?

BEATDiabetes is a great motivator in small bites. Since the messages come in as text messages, I can scroll back through them easily when brief periods of time exist.

 

What do you plan to do with the $1,000? 

I’ll use some of it on my Sister Trip. I also plan to donate a portion to DC Central Kitchen’s Healthy Corner’s Program (facilitates fruits/vegetables to local corner grocers in underserved areas).


Congratulations to Audrey for all she has done to improve her health!

Take steps to improve your prediabetes or type 2 diabetes control and the next $1000 BEATDiabetes Drawing winner could be you!

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