Article author Judy Meibach
Obesity has been an issue for me for most of my life. Unfortunately, I have not taken my weight and my health as seriously as I should, and that has caused a change in the quality of my life. I’ve been encouraged by many people at Fountain House to partake in the wonderful activities that the Wellness Unit provides, and I’ve often declined due to frustration and fear. Seeing how the change in my quality of my life has impacted the things I want to do, I’ve been very inspired by the pre-diabetes group (YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program) that is offered weekly at Fountain House.
On Wednesdays, the pre-diabetes group meets in the Wellness Unit at 10:00 am. It is led by a woman named Judy, who is an employee of the YMCA near Lincoln Center. Her specialty is working with people who have eating issues that have led to a pre-diabetic condition. With her support and the methodology she teaches, she hopes that we can adjust our eating habits and thereby prevent the onset of diabetes.
Each week, Judy discusses a particular topic, teaching us how to eat properly. It is my belief that diabetes is caused by poor eating habits, many of which we as Fountain House members possess.
The first week she showed us how to track our food by writing down everything that we ate. That meant we had to be honest, even if we were eating high carbohydrate snacks that were detrimental to our health. She gave us each a package with very well defined instructions as to how to go about this. We needed to log our weight daily and keep a graph to monitor our progress. Often people with eating disorders are unaware of what they are eating, and they put things into their mouths that are not good for them. It was through this that we could get a gauge of what we were doing.
She then went on to have us track the fats in our food, learning how to decipher the various contents of any of the foods that we were eating. We were all prone to snack, so she brought in a series of delectable snacks and showed us how to decipher which was the better of the pack. It was not necessarily the one that we wanted to pick when we were hungry.
It is still at the beginning of the group, so there is so much more for us to learn. Changing the way we eat is a learning process. However, we are learning that what we do with our lives today impacts how we live our lives in the future. We have an opportunity to discuss our issues in a safe, supportive environment, where we can learn from our peers – other Fountain House members - as well as from Judy, who is trained in this matter.
I am very grateful for this group. It is very hard for me. Tasks like writing the paper and doing unit work are far easier, but learning how to be honest with the food and exercise that I do in my life has allowed me to look forward to a much healthier life, with a higher quality of life.
Communication Unit, Fountain House