YMCA Stories

May 01, 2012

Preventing Diabetes: Kathy Spitzer

I taught spinning classes at the North Area YMCA when I was 50. At that time, I was at my ideal weight and had an excellent BMI. Unfortunately, I injured myself and tore my right hip labrum. For two years, I was in so much pain that I couldn't even walk without a walker.

All those muscles go away very quickly when you are not exercising. After surgery, it took another two years of physical therapy, chiropractic care, and therapeutic massage to get my strength and coordination back. I had to relearn how to walk. While I was in so much pain I had trouble eating and at one point was very thin.

Once I regained my strength, I was able to maintain my weight for about two years but then bad eating habits and a lack of exercise took its toll and before I knew it I was at an unhealthy weight. I lost twenty five pounds but I was still at an unhealthy weight. Then I heard about the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.

Our program coach, Donna, Chillemi, was very positive and encouraging. She was well prepared to discuss the topic of the week with our group and always used relevant and understandable examples to illustrate the point of the lesson. Participation in the program comes with a 16-week YMCA membership and many in our group were able to take advantage of the wonderful YMCA facilities. We were weighed each week and it was great to have the group support.

What I learned in the program will stay with me for the rest of my life. It is making a difference in my health decisions such as when and what I eat.

I've been walking an hour at the mall each day and it is making a difference in my outlook and on my weight loss. I'm eating vegetarian and loving it. Since the program ended, I've already dropped a size and that feels very satisfying. The other members of the group had similar success and we all cheered each other on.

I'm committed to hit my target weight. When that happens, it will be in large part due to the education I received in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.

- - Kathy Spitzer of Liverpool

Filed under Health
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