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Cindy York, LVN, Dermatology, The Vintage Clinic

Living about 50 miles outside of Houston on two acres of land, Cindy has always been active – doing yard work and tending to her garden. But even after being diagnosed with diabetes, it wasn’t until after her bloodwork indicated she was on the brink of a medical crisis that she adjusted her lifestyle. So she walked more and changed the way she ate. Now she is 30 pounds lighter and happily celebrating being a Kelsey-Seybold employee for 30 years.

What led you to make healthy changes in your life?

I became diabetic in 2012. Despite my diagnosis, I just kept on doing what I had been doing. But my hemoglobin A1C level rose to a critical level a year ago – and that was a reality check. That’s when organs begin to fail. By making changes in my diet and exercise routines, my hemoglobin now is within a normal range.

What method of weight loss worked for you?

I replaced unhealthy, simple carbs with natural, unprocessed complex carbs and meat. In addition I exercise every day.

What form of exercise do you do?

A coworker and I walk around the parking lot during our lunch break. We figured out that walking twice around the parking lot was equivalent to 1 mile. More recently we started walking at this little park that is near the clinic. That walking path is about 1.7 miles, so we do that twice a week after work. I never take the elevator – I actually run up and down the stairs!

We live out in the country, so my husband and I do a lot of yard work anyway – so that remains part of my regimen.

Regarding your diet, what specifically did you change?

I was an avid milk drinker – so giving that up was difficult. And everybody loves potatoes – but I stopped buying them. I’ll use spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti noodles, and I only bake or grill – I don’t fry food any more. I still eat red meat, but not as frequently. I also don’t eat as big of a meal as I used to late in the day. I bring my lunch to work four days a week.

Do you have any special treats you like to enjoy?

I still go out to eat – there is a barbcue place nearby and I like their turkey sandwich. I just only eat one piece of bread of my sandwich. I still eat cake – just maybe a one-inch piece of cake rather than a three-inch piece of cake, or half of a cookie. I mean, you have to have some treats in order to survive!

What advice would you give someone else who is on a similar journey as you?

Make sure you are in charge of your disease – don’t let it have control of you. Also, have a support system, somebody who can encourage you as you make these healthy changes.