“I was drinking a 12-pack of sugar soda a day – so you know something had to change!”
Meet Beverly Bell. Recently diagnosed with diabetes, the Milwaukee resident vowed to take steps to manage her condition. After getting information from the local VA hospital, Beverly learned about Healthy Living with Diabetes and saw it as an opportunity to learn more.
“I needed it,” says Beverly. “My A1C level was 17 – really high – and my blood sugars were over 400 consistently so I knew I had to do something.” Her father had diabetes that went unmanaged until his death. Watching his struggle made a lasting impression on Beverly. “He just ate what he wanted,” says Beverly. “It was almost like he gave up. I don’t think he knew how to make changes. I wish I knew then what I know now. I may have been able to help.”
Beverly saw a different path for managing her diabetes.
She started the Healthy Living with Diabetes workshop in January 2016 and it didn’t take long for the class to have an impact on her. “I got so much information. I was amazed. And it turns out, I was doing plenty of things I needed to change – so I did.” Beverly says that almost immediately she became much more conscious of what she ate and drank. “No more sugary sodas for me,” says Beverly. “I learned how to read labels and understand what to watch for in different foods. It’s amazing how sugar and carbohydrates can hide in places you don’t expect to find them.”
She has changed her diet and lost some weight since taking the workshop. But most impressive – her blood sugars have dropped into the 100s. Those dramatic improvements and her experience with her father’s illness served as the catalyst for her decision to give something back. Soon after completing the workshop, Beverly took the training and became a Healthy Living with Diabetes leader.
“There are a lot of people out there who need this kind of information,” says Beverly. “They need to know that they can take better care of themselves – eat better – and there’s help for them to do that."
"There’s one thing I know for sure - if you’re not aware of what you’re doing and what you’re eating, it will cause you problems,” says Beverly. “No doubt about it.”