I was asked to share my experience with the Crow Wing Energized "My Energized Year" program.

I admit that I was hesitant to share this journey at first. Weight loss and personal fitness can be fairly private, and putting it in print was a scary thought. But ultimately my desire to encourage others won out over keeping the story to myself.

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In December 2015, my physician encouraged me to set a goal to lose weight. My blood sugar was border line as was my blood pressure. As a nurse I was frustrated with myself, but knew that she was correct. In January, I attended the Crow Wing Energized Summit. The speaker, Tony Schiller, was inspiring and I left feeling that maybe this was my year to make a change.

I enrolled in the Your Energized Year National Diabetes Prevention Program, and I am very grateful that I did. I admit I joined with very minimal expectations. I knew that I needed to get more active and thought maybe this program could be a start.

The program meets weekly for 16 weeks, and then monthly for the remainder of the year. The classes provided a program for diabetes prevention by participants making simple lifestyle changes. Having the support of the other participants, as well as our class coach was so valuable, and key to my success. I am still on a lifelong journey to better health. What has changed is that I don't look at this program as a "diet" or a "quick fix."

I understand that this is the beginning of a healthy new lifestyle. I am happy to say that since joining the program I went from getting no exercise to walking more than 600 miles this year. At a recent physical I had normal blood sugar, normal blood pressure and my resting pulse went from 90 to 64. I have also lost more than 55 pounds! I guess it's true; it's not too late to make a fresh start.

I encourage anyone struggling with improving your health and wellness, and whose doctor has mentioned prediabetes, to participate in one of these community sessions starting in 2017. I am sure that my story is only one of many lives that have been changed by the Crow Wing Energized program.

Go to www.CrowWingEnergized.org to get more information on the 14 lifestyle change classes being offered at various times and places throughout Crow Wing County and register for a class.