Guedy Arniella, 52, lost 38 pounds and reversed her pre-diabetes after participating in a workshop focused on gradually making healthy lifestyle changes.
Q: What got you started on a lifestyle change?
A: Last spring I was developing a Healthy Eating, Active Lifestyles Workshop for overweight Harlem residents to help them develop or delay diabetes. But I knew I wasn't living a healthy lifestyle myself, and in fact, had just learned that I was pre-diabetic! I had gained 50 pounds in five years because my hectic, stressful lifestyle caused me to eat all the wrong things and I wasn't physically active.
Q: How did you do it?
A: The workshop showed me how to make small, achievable changes. I began by cutting out one snack each week and started walking five minutes during lunch twice a week. I increased me physical activity gradually and began wearing sneakers all day so that I would walk. I kept track of how many steps I took by always wearing a pedometer - it motivated me to beat my own record. I began to eat yogurt with fruit for breakfast instated of buttered bagels. Lunch always includes salad (dressed with olive oil and lemon) and leftovers like chicken or soup. I decreased my portion sizes and added more vegetables into the foods I was already eating. I also began eating whole wheat bread and brown rice. When I crave something sweet, I reach for a piece of fruit instead of cake or ice cream.
Q: What keeps you going?
A: Habits are hard to change so I'm patient with myself. I got lots of encouragement from my workshop participants who were great at coming up with creative ways to overcome obstacles. I am still working toward my final goal, but now I have the tools to live in a healthy way for the rest of my life.
For more information about participating in a pilot study Healthy Eating, Active Lifestyles Workshop, contact Guedy Arniella, LCSW, Director North General Hospital Community Outreach at 212-423-4796.