Health educators in Craig help to create lasting lifestyle changes | CraigDailyPress.com

Health educators in Craig help to create lasting lifestyle changes

Year long program focuses on preventing and managing type 2 diabetes

Coaching people who want to make lifelong changes to improve their health is the job of Northwest Colorado Health Community Health Educators Krystal Baker, left, and Bryanna McFadden.

— Community health educators at Northwest Colorado Health in Craig are helping individuals wanting to prevent or manage type 2 diabetes create lasting lifestyle changes.

"It's a program to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, but really anyone wanting to make lifestyle changes can come," said Northwest Colorado Health Aging Well Coordinator and Community Health Educator Krystal Baker.

Northwest Colorado Health, with support from a grant from Colorado Heart Healthy Solutions, provides the free program that runs annually from January to October.

Jan Rogers was diagnosed as obese and pre-diabetic two years ago and is returning to take the class for a second year.

"It's certainly helped me. On my own, I lost close to ten pounds. When I went back for another test I was still obese and pre-diabetic," Rogers said.

Upon seeing it advertised in the newspaper in early 2016, Rogers started attending the lifestyles change program.

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"I decided to sign-up for it. After the first few weeks of introduction we recorded everything that went into our mouths and the calories and grams," Rogers said. "Maybe because I am a math person, that works for me, and I lost 40 pounds."

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.

When the body does not use insulin properly causing blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise and when glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can starve the cells of energy and, over time, this may damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves and/or heart, according to the American Diabetes Association website.

The condition may be prevented and controlled through diet, exercise and/or medication.

The course taught in Craig by Baker and Northwest Colorado Health Community Health Educator, Bryanna McFadden, is modeled on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's "Prevent T-2" program.

"The first 16 weeks includes a lot of information including food activities and then how to make your life more active. We talk about shopping and cooking, managing stress, coping with triggers, getting support and staying motivated," Baker said.

Those first weeks provide the tools necessary for participants to manage lifestyle changes, but coaching is still available if needed.

"I think the support system and having us as lifestyle coaches helps, it helps them to be accountable. They become close and supportive of each other and that is a great help," Baker said.

This is McFadden's first year to coach participants through the program.

"I've always been a strong motivator for healthy lifestyles, trying to help people get on a health track is really important to me as it's a big impact on people's lives," McFadden said. "I'm really excited to see what it brings out. I think it will turn out great for everyone."

Loosing 40 pounds and going from size 18 to size 12, Rogers has enrolled for a second year.

"I am still pre-diabetic. I want to do the class again and work more. I am going to add counting carbohydrates," Rogers said. "It's great. It's not only the information, it's about being with other people."

The first session was held on Thursday, however, people may still join, Baker said.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

Are you at risk?

The American Diabetes Association’s “My Health Advisor” tool will calculate your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Take the survey at:

http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk

Free lifestyle change program

Work with lifestyle coaches in a group environment, learning how to set realistic, achievable goals focused on nutrition, exercise and stress management.

Who: Individuals with pre-diabetes or those managing type 2 diabetes.

When: January to October, 11 a.m. to noon on Thursdays


Where:
Northwest Colorado Health at 745 Russell Street in Craig

Free individual lifestyle counseling sessions are also offered.

For more information or to sign up, call 970-870-4118.