Chesterfield mother getting help from YMCA to lead a healthier lifestyle and fight diabetes

Healthy eating

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — Some people workout to look good, others do it to be healthy. Janet Espana’s motivation comes mostly from her family.

“I just want to be around for my kids,” Espana explained.

Like millions of American’s she is fighting to beat what some refer to as the silent killer, diabetes. It affects the blood sugar levels in her body. Symptoms can include being thirsty all of the time, constant trips to the bathroom, dizzy or blurred vision, or being hungry even after you’ve just had something to eat.

Janet was diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes 10-years ago, but today she is determined to take control.

“I’m learning how to change everything in my life.”

Janet Espana

The working mother of two is getting help from the local YMCA on her journey to maintain the disease.

“A lot of people are afraid to admit that they are dealing with this because for some reason they are embarrassed,” said Caitlin Catella, the director of the Diabetes Programs of Greater Richmond.

The course offered at the YMCA teaches people that ignoring the problem because of shame or anything else is dangerous.

“It can lead to heart attack, amputations, or even death,” said Catella.

But with the YMCA’s coaching they learn healthy eating habits, how to exercise, and they even take trips to the grocery store to learn the best ways to shop. It’s helping Janet and her classmates take their lives back.

Janet Espana

With the YMCA’s coaching they learn healthy eating habits, how to exercise, and they even take trips to the grocery store to learn the best ways to shop.

“They realize it’s not this huge scary thing, it is controllable and they can manage,” said Catella.

One day at time, one workout at a time, and with each good food decision, Janet is beating diabetes.

“I just have to continue with what I’m learning right now,” Janet said.

A healthy lifestyle, she believes won’t just change her, but hopefully her entire family.

“I want them to see me doing things, and say, well I remember my mom always exercised, always took care of herself, so I have to too,” said Janet.

If you’d like more information on the YMCA’s 12 week diabetes program click here.