Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Week 1: The Meet and Greet

You would have thought that I had walked into happy hour as I rushed into the hospital foyer. People laughing, talking, weighing in, getting blood pressure cuffs off of their winter layers, coats lying on chairs and others filing into the meeting room.

I can't remember a lifestyle-change class ever being so chipper.I took it as the first positive sign of the next four weeks, four months and eventually 10 month program. Nothing drastic and everything positive was happening here: slow, consistent changes, thoughtful planning, and mindful living. A wide spectrum of participants: male, female, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 somethings sitting side by side, and participating in the class discussion kept it lively.

As part of a larger national effort, this program has had a 58% decrease in Type 2 Diabetes on-set in the participants. Additionally the lifestyle choices that affect diabetes also affect cardiovascular health. Turns out, small changes over long periods of time tend to produce better results than big changes in a short period of time. There's lots of coaching, options to participate, and mostly, help getting up and staying on track.

I think for me, the most positive aspect is that in a small community, most of us know and care for each other to varying degrees. When someone falls ill or dies, the impact is felt widely. Conversely, with this proactive program of health, when many of us (46 to date!)are making small changes, our lifestyles will rub off on others and we can gather together to enjoy our vitality rather than funeral sandwiches.

Homework this week: journal our eating habits.

Stay tuned!

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