Success Stories

Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes
Success stories can be found on our website

YMCA of the Triangle

“After having gestational diabetes and pre-diabetes for 17 years, I enrolled in the Weight Loss Program in 2019 and began the Diabetes Prevention Program in 2020, with a starting weight of 231 lbs. My total weight loss to date is 70 lbs.

I’ve lost so much weight I’m being retested to see if I still have sleep apnea and to look at the possibility of discontinuing my CPAP. My blood sugar is finally in a healthy range. My physician is so pleased she wanted to know what my secret is, and I told her it was the medical membership programs at the YMCA.”


“At the end of one of my doctor appointments, my physician encouraged me to join the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program and I figured, why not? I had nothing to lose—except weight and bad habits. My starting weight was 207 pounds. I still have a few more pounds to go for my own personal weight loss goal of 50 lbs. that I plan to reach by the end of this year. The YMCA Diabetes Program has proven to be a life changer for me. (My A1c and my blood pressure have both gone down.)”


YMCA of Avery County

“Thank you for being such a fabulous life coach. You have encouraged me to be more disciplined and to establish a healthy eating lifestyle. When I first started the Pre-Diabetes Prevention Program, I thought it was a challenge. This was a yearlong comment to change my eating habits and to exercise more.

This year has flown by!  It is hard to believe that there are only a few more weeks left in the fabulous program. It was not hard for me to take one hour a week to attend classes.

In the classes we were instructed on the benefits of having a healthy lifestyle. I learned what foods have the best and worst nutrient values.  This was an eye opener for me.  The book “Fat and Calorie Counter” showed me these facts.  We were taught how to do a food journal. We kept a record of the foods that I ate with the fat gram and calorie count. I had never thought or done that before.  Also, in the class, we have formed lasting friendships among the participants. We were free to share our ups and downs and goals. I enjoy going to the YMCA and exploring all the different classes that are offered. There were a couple of surprises that have come out of me while attending these classes. One was that my husband got on board with me. He encouraged me and even joined me in the exercises. He has even become competitive in the amount of walking steps and food count.  Additionally; we get together outside the class time to encourage and keep up with each other. But the very best surprise of all was the amount of weight that I lost, the boost in energy and self-esteem. I have had a lot of people to ask me how I lost all my weight. I have recommended this program to several people.”


“I was raised in a family where Type 2 Diabetes was considered a near certainty. I even experienced gestational diabetes myself as an expectant mother. Because of this, I had decided that for me, a Type 2 diagnosis was not a matter of if, but when. At 41 years old, I was battling fear of the “inevitable” with yo-yo diets and fast food drive-thrus.

I’d heard about the Diabetes Prevention Program—it sounded great—but not for me. It wasn’t until I spoke with a program participant, and saw the life changes that she was making, that I began to think about taking part myself. The first thing I did was reach out to Lauren Wilson. After a short conversation, I discovered that having been diagnosed with gestational diabetes automatically qualified me for the program. I walked out of her office a bit tearful, but cautiously hopeful.

I am currently entering the final month of the Diabetes Prevention Program. I will be the first to admit, it has been a tough year. We have worked together to make life changes. We’ve learned about food, nutrition, and physical activity. We’ve learned to be accountable for our actions, and take control of our health wherever we are able. We’ve been armed with the tools to plan for the expected, and mentally prepared to face the unexpected. We’ve shared our successes, and our stumbles—and I firmly believe we are walking away stronger for it.

Next week is my 42nd birthday. I feel better than I have in 15 years (I actually didn’t realize how “bad” I felt until I started feeling good). I’m no longer afraid of a Type 2 diagnosis. I am a work in progress; but armed with a year of education, I feel confident, and more in control.”


YMCA of Western North Carolina:

Members of our group thank the YMCA [Western NC] staff who made this program possible for us. Without funding from the grant you procured, many of us would not have been able to take part, due to financial limitations. We pooled ideas during our meeting today, in order to provide a testimonial from the entire group. Participating in this program has brought many benefits we never anticipated. Our hope is that we can help make future programs like this available for others at risk of Diabetes.

“The comradery of our DPP community draws me to each weekly meeting. Being part of a ‘family’ of people facing the same challenges gives me motivation to continue onwards. We share the ‘hidden truths’ about our own successes and failures in the privacy of a trusted group.”


“The support of others who share this journey gives me a sense of belonging. In isolation, weight loss makes me feel like I am travelling alone. Over time, our group has become more honest with each other — which empowers me to be more honest with myself. I can now openly admit that I have been addicted to sugar all my life. We can only confront our demons when we deal with them face-to-face.”


“I value the support and motivation that participating in our DPP group gives me. Sharing a specific goal for the next week connects one member with the whole group. This week, I decided to walk more laps on the indoor track at the YMCA, and on the football field at a local high school. Saying my goal aloud to others makes it feel like a pledge to valued friends.”


“It’s good to have a group to share with. This week I found a recipe for apple cider vinegar and honey, in hot water, with cayenne pepper. My mother has a book of recipes based on apple cider vinegar — vinegar suppresses your appetite and helps you lose weight. I also carry a lot of firewood into the house to build fires in the hearth. When it’s raining or snowing, I watch TV using my treadmill and my cycling machine.”


“Since our DPP meets every Tuesday, and I know I’ll be weighed every week. Discussions with ‘fellow-travelers’ have made me more keenly aware of my own eating habits. I have realized that I am vulnerable late in the afternoon — when blood sugar levels drop, and after 9pm when I’m watching TV. We’ve shared what approaches have been helpful to each of us. Our group leader, Shannon, has helped us see that preventing diabetes goes far beyond just diet. Exercise and self- knowledge lead to self-empowerment; we’re building a better self-image on this journey.”


“I would like to thank the YMCA, for offering me this class.  It has been a great experience.  I try to think more about what I eat. I have lost around 18 pounds. I have also learned it’s not about the weight, but about the health. I am learning about a positive outlook on life- to me- that’s the most important thing.  When I first started this class, I thought I will go to a couple of them just to see what it is about. I didn’t realize I would look forward to each class.”


“As a group facilitator I have seen the tremendous benefit of the Diabetes Prevention Program.  I've led two groups so far and in both of them it was so heartening to see the growth and group support participants gained from completing the program.

Lifestyle changes are both difficult to make and difficult to sustain.  It does not take much for participants to put off attending a program like the Diabetes Prevention Program.  By waiving the cost we are able to remove at least one obstacle to help participants begin taking steps toward making needed changes.

Often participants are struggling with work (sometimes multiple jobs) and family commitments.  Finding time to cook healthy food, shop, and attend a weekly Diabetes Prevention meeting is a struggle.  By providing the program at no cost we are able to allow participants to devote more of their available funds to purchasing a YMCA membership, buying healthy food, and doing other things—like paying for childcare so they can attend meetings.

The reason I continue to work as a Lifestyle Coach is the tremendous fulfillment I get when I see a group of participants helping one another by sharing a new low-fat recipe they've discovered, making plans to meet for exercise class, or supporting one another after they've had a slip. This program is a lifesaver, both physically and emotionally.”


“I just want to say I really appreciate being able to have the DPP program at the Y. It is a program that has helped me a lot in preventing type 2 diabetes. it is giving me the tools I need. Helping me to eat a healthier diet, teaching me also about how important it is to exercise. Being a class with others as a support group is also very helpful.”


“I am very fortunate to be a part of a community like the one I am in with Shannon. Being in groups has been a very difficult thing to get used to throughout my Breast Cancer journey. This journey has been going for over a year and a half, and I am so thankful to have found this group along the way, and for what I am learning from everyone. Every single person's story is similar to mine, if not exactly the same, and it helps to know that I am not the only one who has experienced so many life changing events. The amount of support I get from everyone, principally in them just listening and understanding what I am saying, is a significant part of what makes this group so special to me. Even more so, learning the proper way to eat is another important part of my journey, especially at this stage. This group gives me not only a place to be, and discuss the struggles and triumphs I have faced, but it also offers an accountability I haven't had before. I would highly recommend this course to anybody who needs to have a better understanding of the importance of the food we eat and knowing the difference in what we should and shouldn't eat for the benefit of our bodies. I am honored that I was given this opportunity to be a part of such an amazing group of people, and I tell others about it as much as I can. This group has further inspired me to collect donations, and potentially coordinate a fundraiser so more people in need can be helped by this program. Thank you to all who work so hard to make this program happen for people, like us, in need of a group like this.”


“I wanted to take a minute to say thank you for offering this program at the Y.  Since I have been coming I have already gained a new perspective on being proactive with all the things I can do to help prevent diabetes, heart disease, obesity and improving my overall health. Being with a group of people who have the same goals makes such a difference. Shannon is a perfect leader for this class as she lets the whole group participate and share their struggles and their triumphs.  We all get encouragement and strength from each other.  The weekly handouts and class discussions take us step by step on a progressive journey to our ultimate goals.  I love the program and am so grateful for being included.  I feel like I have been given a lifeline.”


YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina:

“Thank you for keeping on. This is so helpful for me. I’m keeping on. It’s like my secret source of power right now.”

“Thanks for the Zoom call!”

“Thanks again for your extra effort in keeping our DPP class connected!”