My name is Francine, and I’m a participant in the YWCA’s Diabetes Wellness & Prevention program.
I’ve lived in Asheville all of my life, and I have a 26 year-old son. I’ve been a bus driver with Asheville Regional Transit for 16 years.
My doctor had been telling me for some time that being overweight and having high blood pressure was putting me at risk for diabetes, but I never exercised. Then my friend Robin told me about the YWCA’s program, and I thought – that sounds like something I want and need to do.
Since I was accepted into the program in August I’ve made huge changes to my lifestyle. I go to wellness classes at the YW every Thursday, as well as support group meetings every week. I exercise three times per week – I take Zumba on Mondays and Tuesdays, and have personal training with Sean, who’s not afraid to challenge me. He’ll come over when I’m on the elliptical and say- “You wanna pump it up a little?”
In the group classes I’ve learned quite a bit. For example, I now check out the labels on my food – if I can’t say the name of the ingredient it’s not supposed to be in there!
Everyone is friendly at the YW, and everyone is helpful – whether they’re staff, other participants, or gym members. A barrier I always felt about exercising at other gyms is having the feeling of: “I don’t fit in here.” I didn’t feel comfortable exercising on my own in those situations. But I’ve realized I can’t wait on anybody – and at the YW, I don’t have to. As soon as I walk in the front door I know that people are happy to see me, and they care about my health.
I had a physical a few weeks ago, and although I haven’t lost much weight yet, my blood pressure has gone down. My doctor told me: “I’m proud of you.” That felt good.
My goals for the rest of my time in the program are to continue lowering my blood pressure – it would be nice to be off all, or at least some, of my meds.
Another goal of mine is to try a water aerobics class. This may not seem like a huge deal, but I don’t know how to swim. I am so scared. But when I get into that water aerobics class I’ll know for sure that nothing can stop me. I’ve always been terrified of swimming… but you know what? I ordered myself a swimsuit.