Making a lifestyle change: Upcoming classes help get the ball rolling

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At 65 years of age, Charlie Johnson is enjoying an active retired life after a career in teaching.

He’s involved in photography, writing, walking in the Northland Arboretum, and participating in music and theater.

But he realized he needed to make some lifestyle changes -- lose some weight and eat better. A couple from church had some great outcomes with the National Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Change program, so he and his wife Sue decided to join.

“I was surprised by how quickly we learned to make changes in my eating habits. ... Once I saw the facts that applied to me (potato chips have WAAAAY more fat than pretzels) I was able to make that switch. We decreased portions of what we eat ... and we eat more fruit ...and we get out and move more,” Johnson said.

He found the experience taught him a lot. “The weekly meetings, the weekly lessons, the journaling (at least at first) of everything you eat ... and once this kind of diet is your body's main working plan, then it all comes naturally.”


For Johnson, lifestyle changes had a noticeable impact. “I took away 25 pounds. I waver a little, but I will never go back to the pre-program weight I carried. I feel better, I have more energy. I sleep better. All surprising and all welcome. I get asked how much weight I lost and what did I do .... so I just tell them about Crow Wing Energized. The program works.”

Currently 1 out of 3 people have prediabetes -- but 9 out of 10 times people don’t know it. Prediabetes involves blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diabetes. An individual with prediabetes can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes by making simple lifestyle changes. Diet and moderate exercise resulting in a 5-7% weight loss (usually about 10-15 pounds) often work to bring blood sugar levels back down to a healthy range.

The Lifestyle Change Class is a National Diabetes Prevention Program that offers diabetes prevention education and support for people with prediabetes. Participants learn how to create a healthier lifestyle and prevent diabetes in a 22-session diabetes prevention program.

Groups meet with a trained instructor to help participants lose weight, eat healthier and increase physical activity. Groups meet for 16 sessions over a six-month period, and attend six monthly follow-up sessions for the remainder of the year. Each session is one-hour long.


  • Session 1: Welcome and Getting Started.

  • Session 2: Be a Fat and Calorie Detective.

  • Session 3: Ways to Eat Less Fat and Fewer Calories.

  • Session 4: Healthy Eating.

  • Session 5: Move Those Muscles.

  • Session 6: Being Active: A Way of Life.

  • Session 7: Tip the Calorie Balance.

  • Session 8: Take Charge of What’s Around You.

  • Session 9: Problem Solving.

  • Session 10: Four Keys to Healthy Eating Out.

  • Session 11: Talk Back to Negative Thoughts.

  • Session 12: The Slippery Slope of Lifestyle Change.

  • Session 13: Jump Start Your Activity Plan.

  • Session 14: Make Social Cues Work for You.

  • Session 15: You Can Manage Stress.

  • Session 16: Ways to Stay Motivated.

Upcoming Lifestyle Change Classes

The following classes are starting in September:

  • 5 p.m. every Tuesday at Essentia Health St. Joseph’s-Brainerd Clinic, starting Sept. 10.

  • 10:30 a.m. every Wednesday at Essentia Health St. Joseph’s-Baxter Clinic, starting Sept. 18.

  • Noon every Wednesday at Essentia Health St. Joseph’s-Baxter Clinic, starting Sept. 18.

  • 4:30 p.m. every Wednesday at Essentia Health St. Joseph’s-Baxter Clinic, starting Sept. 18.

There is no charge for this class thanks to the work of Crow Wing Energized ($429.00 value).To register for one of the classes, which are led by a trained lifestyle coach, go to .

For more information, contact Kara Schaefer at or 218-454-5901.

Interested in becoming a volunteer lifestyle change trainer?

Become a certified lifestyle coach by taking a two-day course to teach others how to create a healthier lifestyle and prevent diabetes in a 22-session diabetes prevention program.


When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 10-11.

Where: Crow Wing County Land Services Building.

Register: Training is free ($750 value), but registration is required. Visit to register.

Related Topics: HEALTH
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