When Tom Swedenberg learned he was pre-diabetic, he wanted to be proactive, not only for himself, but for his family.
The 62-year-old Michigan City man and his high school sweetheart recently celebrated 43 years of marriage and have two grown children.
When his doctor told him he needed to lose weight and eat healthier, Swedenberg, a registered nurse in the cardiac catheterization lab at Franciscan Health Michigan City, decided to enroll in the year-long Franciscan Health Diabetes Prevention Program.
“I had started to drop weight but wanted to do better, so I thought, why not try this?” Swedenberg said.
Franciscan Health’s 12-month virtual, online Diabetes Prevention Program follows guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that have proven to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., impacting more than 37 million American adults. Few realize type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with lifestyle changes, like those implemented through the Franciscan Health Diabetes Prevention Program.
Throughout the course of the program, participants work with a certified healthy lifestyle coach who guides them in practices to help build energy and confidence, lose weight naturally and reduce stress and anxiety.
The program is only open to participants who are prediabetic, not those who have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
When Swedenberg enrolled in the program, he began working with Franciscan Health Wellness Specialist/Health Coach Rosa Hernandez, NBC-HWC, CIC.
Hernandez said the program helps provide an important starting point for those who want to make a change but aren’t sure where to begin. Information such as what food groups to incorporate into a diet, portion control, coping mechanisms and understanding food labels are only part of the process.
“It not only provides the necessary educational information, but it also offers a safe haven where people can make those changes,” Hernandez said. “They are able to have someone to hold them accountable and a support group of other individuals that may be in the same boat as them.”
The Diabetes Prevention Program aims for participants to lose between 5-7% of their body weight and increase exercise to 150 minutes per week. Swedenberg exceeded the goal, losing 13% of his body weight - 32 pounds -- since beginning the plan.
He also now exercises a minimum of two and a half hours a week and is “eating a better diet than I ever had.”
Swedenberg said he owes his success to the program’s structure and his coach’s guidance.
“Rosa is obviously doing what she was meant to do,” Swedenberg said. “I would not have the same level of success I achieved without her.”
The year-long, virtual Franciscan Health Diabetes Prevention Program runs online for 16 weeks each Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Central beginning Nov. 2, followed by monthly follow-up sessions with a trained lifestyle coach.
An informational Webinar will take place on Oct. 19 from 5:30 to 6 p.m. Central. More information and registration for the informational session is available online at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1976446243666718732.