Congratulations to the recent graduates of the first lifestyle change program class at Rose Hill Church of Port Allen Youth Village Restoration Center, who collectively lost 86 pounds in one year!
Through the CDC-recognized National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP), this year-long lifestyle change program teaches participants about healthy behaviors and how to make behavior changes that can help them in either avoiding or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes.
The program was brought to Rose Hill Church of Port Allen by member Myra Lowe, who is also one of the deputy assistant secretaries at the Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Public Health. Having learned about the National DPP from Well-Ahead Louisiana and being a type 1 diabetic for more than 20 years, she understood the struggle to maintain healthy eating and lifestyle habits.
Myra was so passionate about bringing the program to her community that she got permission from her Pastor James Morrise and First Lady Treniece to offer it at her church. She and fellow church member Etha LaCour took the lifestyle coach training, and they worked together to organize and lead the classes at Rose Hill.
“It has been great to partner with someone like Etha who is equally as passionate about being healthy and helping others to live a healthy lifestyle”, Myra said.
The class began meeting in person on Mar. 4, 2020 but soon moved to virtual classes due to the pandemic. Phone sessions were also conducted for those participants who were not equipped to meet online. Although meeting virtually, the six class participants enjoyed sharing with each other week-to-week.
“They would always tell me they enjoyed the support from the group, and how they were learning together to live healthier lives,” Myra said. This group was also very eager to provide testimonials of their success in the church’s newsletter.
To keep up momentum, Myra and Etha gave the group challenges and offered small incentives. Myra would also send motivating text messages throughout the week, and the group members would encourage each other in the group text, too. “We told them not to focus on pounds or BMI [Body Mass Index], but to focus on making healthier decisions,” she noted.
A graduation ceremony was held in March 2021 to celebrate these participants’ decision to take control of their health and their commitment to making the changes necessary to live a healthier lifestyle. The graduating class was also featured in the church’s newsletter so that others in the congregation could celebrate their success and see what is possible through this life-changing program.
“I am excited not only by the total of 86 pounds the group lost, but by the knowledge they gained and will carry with them,” said Myra. “We had a group of people from their 30s to their 80s. It was exciting to have that range of ages and still be able to communicate their information to all of them, and they all got it.”
The next lifestyle change program began at Rose Hill on May 19, and Myra is just as excited about this group as she was her first.
“Diabetes is something that you can control, unlike other diseases,” she noted, “but you have to make smart decisions. We can all learn from each other.”