Chemical engineer gets a health science lesson from the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program
“Because I lost weight, activity became easier and my strength and energy increased.”
That may sound like a no-brainer, but for 59 year-old Weyman Dunaway, that basic concept has been a life-changer.
Weyman has lost 42 pounds as a participant in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. He heard about the program through his insurer, United Health Care. “Because both my father and his brother had diabetes, UHC offered to pay for the program. I had to qualify and found out that my BMI was 37. I was naïve and uneducated about the connection between BMI and type 2 diabetes. I just figured I needed to lose some weight and thought it was worth a try.”
The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, supported by the Centers for Disease Control, has shown that with lifestyle changes and modest weight reduction, a person with pre-diabetic symptoms can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by 58%. The program strives to help participants reduce body weight by 7% and engage in regular physical activity.
“I was really encouraged to know that simply reducing your weight by 7% would cut your risk for type 2 diabetes by half and that kept me motivated,” said Weyman.
Weyman recognized he needed to make some changes to reach his weight loss goal and quickly “got into the regimen of journaling his diet and weighing in each day.”
Through the program, he found that he enjoyed cooking and looking at recipes. “I am fortunate that my wife was supportive and happy, as long as the food tasted good. I got interested in gardening and that became my activity,” Weyman says.
“I started reading labels and was surprised at how much fat and calories were in foods that were being touted as ‘healthy.’ I am a chemical engineer and part of what we thought we were doing through our work was improving the quality of people’s lives by developing chemical processes that made goods (including food) available at lower prices. It was a real disappointment to see how creating convenient food sometimes resulted in products that are high in fat, calories and salt. This is not what we intended. The busy lives we lead have really affected what we eat,” Weyman states.
He is proud of his weight loss and believes 80% was through diet modification, 20% through physical activity. He says one of the struggles he continues to face is trying to eat healthy while eating out.
Weyman has made some big lifestyle changes, but he maintains, “I’ve done it gradually and consciously and with the support of my wife, the YMCA and United Health Care.”