What is your Y story?

“My name is Cathy Rodriguez-Contreras and I live in Phoenix, AZ. Some of my interests are reading, martial arts, and my three dogs. I have been with the Y off and on for about 10 years. My husband went to the Y and got me interested in it. I fell away from it and came back to work out again. I have a weight problem, and one day I saw the flyer for the Y’s Diabetes Prevention Program. I thought that the class would be good for me, even before I found out that I was prediabetic.

It’s a great program and it has really helped me– I have lost about 30 pounds in a year. The weight loss was not difficult– what was difficult was the changing my habits. The Diabetes Prevention Program and the Y put the class together in such a way that learning how to eat and how to change my habit as a prediabetic was not that difficult. I was once a registered dietitian and the way they taught diabetics to eat in the past was very different than it is now. The Y does a very good job in guiding you to incorporate healthy living into your life. Its about finding balance in what you do and how you live your life. I like to come to yoga twice a week. I like to use the ARC trainer in the fitness center and use the boxing gym as well to practice my boxing. I have a friend who comes to the Y who is also interested in boxing so we come at the same time and practice our form together. We are both in our sixties, so we do not spar anymore, but we enjoy working out together.

How has the Y’s Diabetes Prevention Program helped you reach your goals?

The Diabetes Prevention Program has helped me create healthy habits by what they have taught me. The information is not difficult and anyone can understand it. The class is broken into sessions that are easy to manage and each session has a different topic about healthy living– from physical activity to protein. The process is slow and it takes a long time, but that’s what makes it successful– it is about commitment. I did my first session over one year ago and what I am finding I am able to do is think ahead about what I am eating and what I have eaten and adjust that to be healthy every day. It has taken me over a year to be able to do that.

What would you tell someone who is new to the Y?

I would tell someone new to the Y to start with something non threatening and easy to manage. If you are prediabetic, talk to the program coordinator and work with your doctor to get started. Start small and build into creating healthy habits. Diabetes runs in my family and by enrolling in the Y Diabetes Prevention Program, I have the knowledge and the tools to keep myself healthy and prevent disease. My healthy lifestyle is a commitment to me. If you are overweight or struggling with prediabetes, you will have to learn to be healthy and maintain it for the rest of your life. Learning healthy habits is hard, but it is still easier than developing diabetes and losing your sight or a limb. It is important to take control of your life and your health as soon as you can.