Diabetes Prevention & Prediabetes

AADE DPP Patient Success Stories

Therese Shiffler | Holland Hospital Participant May 2013-April 2014

Mar 14, 2017

Therese ShifflerWhen I was initially asked to share the story of my journey with the National Diabetes Prevention Program, I was hesitant because I didn't think that I had really been all that successful. I am still overweight and my BMI is still not in a healthy range. Then I began to look back as to what my true goals were for joining the program—my three beautiful daughters and I realized that I could share the story.

I have been monitored for diabetes for well over ten years now. Both of my parents and all five of my siblings are diabetic and my physician had stated that we were just waiting "for the dam to break." Then it happened, I went in for an A1C test and it came back higher than it ever had been. He was still not calling me diabetic but wanted me to work at controlling it with my diet. I was feeling pretty down and happened to casually mention my findings with our school nurse. She immediately began to talk about the seriousness of diabetes with me and told me about a program being offered through Holland Hospital's Center for Good Health. Again, I wasn't feeling very empowered or optimistic and it was a yearlong commitment that I wasn't sure I wanted to begin. My thoughts were that "the dam had broken," I would now just join the rest of my family and the cycle would continue.

That's when I thought about my daughters. I have loved being their mom. I have tried, along with my husband, to always provide for them the best that we could and I thought about that family diabetes cycle. I wanted better for them! So, I went to the informational meeting with the mindset that it really was already too late for me to change the course of my life but I was going to do this for my girls.

Since the program has ended, I have maintained the weight loss of almost 30 pounds that I achieved with the program; and my A1C continues to be within the normal range 

Wow, was I in for a big awakening... the National Diabetes Prevention Program, along with instructor Julie Husmann, MSM, RD, CDE, has indeed changed my life. With Julie's knowledge, support and presentation of the program, I learned how to take control of my life to make the best, healthful decisions. The whole program is set up to support you step-by-step in an easy to follow format that is all about encouragement, but for me, the nutritional knowledge was key. I had attempted other weight loss programs in the past, but now I have a better understanding of what my body needs for fuel and how it is used. The other part of the program that was paramount for me was our group. We developed a very close bond which allowed us to readily share our trials, our successes, and a lot of recipes! We became so close, that after the program was completed we continued to meet for six months.

Since the program has ended, I have maintained the weight loss of almost 30 pounds that I achieved with the program; and my A1C continues to be within the normal range. I still need to lose more weight to be in a healthy BMI range and I found that I can easily slip back into old, unhealthy habits. Maintaining a daily food journal is very helpful for me but it is also very time-consuming to keep it up so that is also one of my challenges. But, one of the most important lessons that Julie taught was that "slipping-up" is going to happen and to remember that it is not permanent and it is less than what it would have been before embarking on the National Diabetes Prevention Program journey.

Since participating in the program, I have taken every opportunity to share with people the benefits to finding out about diabetes; to seek the knowledge that can be gained through participation in the program; and to make changes in their lives now and not to wait for "the dam to break." However, my real successes are that those three wonderful daughters of mine who are making daily lifestyle choices—from physical activities, to healthy eating, to participating in their own Diabetes Prevention Program—that will help prevent diabetes in their lives. They are my source of strength and encouragement to continue to work to meet the challenges and make the changes. They are my successes!

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