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  • Writer's pictureSusan K. Blank

Meet the Winner of the October $1000 BEATDiabetes Drawing

Getting Healthier Together

Anna knew that she was at risk for type 2 diabetes because of her family history, so when her husband, Mark, was diagnosed with prediabetes, they decided to commit to improving their health together. They joined a Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) through VHC Health and then signed up for the BEATDiabetes Prediabetes Program after learning about it through their DPP.

One of the biggest challenges they faced was finding the motivation and energy to make and consistently stick with healthy changes. “Change is hard,” Anna admits. They found the DPP to be very helpful because it provided a community of people who were struggling with and working on the same things and could provide suggestions and positive reinforcement. They also liked that the DPP presented lifestyle change in a way that felt very doable, by recommending small changes that were gradually layered on top of one another instead of wholesale, unrealistic changes. Anna says, “I would recommend the DPP to anyone with a prediabetes diagnosis or diabetes risk factors.”

BEATDiabetes added an additional layer of support by providing text message tips and reminders between DPP sessions. Anna appreciated that the messages were tailored to her needs and found the reminders to exercise and shopping tips especially helpful. “We were already following the Healthy Plate method”, says Anna, “but the text message ‘In order to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, fill half your grocery cart with fruit and vegetables’ really stuck with me and I keep it in mind when grocery shopping.”

Anna and Mark have successfully made and maintained a number of healthy changes. Some of the ones they think have been the most impactful are consistently walking at least 150 minutes a week, switching to whole grains, and monitoring the “added sugar” content of foods. Paying attention to the added sugars had made them aware of some of the hidden sugars in their diet and helped them transition to healthier options. They say that tracking their steps via their phones or a pedometer has helped them to stay motivated and consistent in reaching their walking goals. They also credit the support of each other and their DPP community with helping them to stay motivated and on track. When asked what she would recommend to others with prediabetes or diabetes risk factors, Anna says “Do your best to find a community to help provide motivation and support.”

Over the course of the year, the changes that Anna and Mark made in their eating habits and activity levels resulted in weight loss and lower A1Cs. This earned Anna an entry in the October $1000 BEATDiabetes Drawing, where she was chosen as the lucky winner. With the money that she won in the BEATDiabetes Drawing she and Mark are planning a trip to Philadephia to celebrate their success. In keeping with their healthy lifestyle, they have designed the trip so they can do lots of walking as they explore the city on foot.

Even better than winning the drawing is knowing that they have made steps towards a healthier future and done it together. Anna says, “Success with a partner feels really good.”

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