Healthy lifestyles class in Craig empowers people to make healthy choices
CRAIG — A medical diagnosis of pre-diabetes, high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol can be devastating. But what happens when a medical diagnosis calls into question a lifetime of unhealthy habits, and the prescription is for change?
A small group of people taking Northwest Colorado Health’s Healthy Lifestyles class is learning how to take small steps to make big changes in the way they approach food and exercise.
“Last year, 14 people completed the course, and all those involved improved their weight and/or sugars,” said Community Health Educator and Certified Personal Trainer Bryanna McFadden.
The class is free for individuals who have pre-diabetes or are at risk of developing type 2-diabetes, including those who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or are overweight. The class meets weekly for six weeks, then, every other week for an additional six weeks,
McFadden coaches participants as they make long-term lifestyle changes.
“For example, if someone is trying to lose weight, we will look at daily diet and stress eating. Once we figure out their daily diet, we will look at how they are cooking their food,” McFadden said. “If we have someone eating McDonald’s every day of the week, then maybe our first goal is to cut one of those meals out of the week.”
She believes the key to success is starting small and working up to bigger goals, so participants are not overwhelmed.
“We are not going to overwhelm them with big changes. It’s more gradual and slow, to allow people to make changes that will truly benefit them as an individual,” she said.
A version of the class has been offered for at least four years, but this year, the total duration has been shortened and the depth of information increased.
“Last year was a 12-month course, and it was hard to keep people on track. We are hoping that 12 weeks closer together will help keep people on track, and we are also hoping to offer a second 12-week program,” McFadden said.
Topics covered include nutrition, exercise and stress management to prevent or delay diabetes and complications. The program is grant-funded and approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Classes accommodate 15 to 20 people. Drop-ins are welcome, as are people who have participated in the past. People who sign up in advance will receive a weekly reminder call for the class every Wednesday, McFadden said.
“Most diets are short-term, and individuals think that, once it’s finished, they don’t have to keep at it. With us, it’s more focused on changes that you can keep throughout your life,” McFadden said. “It’s about achieving small goals rather than sweeping changes.
There is still plenty of time to join for a single class or the rest of the course. For more information and to register, contact McFadden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-870-4103.
Editor’s note: During the coming 12 weeks, the Craig Press will follow up with some of the people participating in the Healthy Lifestyle course to learn firsthand of the challenges and opportunities they face as they break, then remake, habits formed through a lifetime.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.
When it opens later this year, the Memorial Regional Health medical office building will recognize supporters with a hand-forged iron tree of life.