Small steps can reap big rewards. That’s what David “Biscuit” Edwards, of Boone County, Ky., discovered when he decided to take control of his health four years ago. Since then, he’s lost 187 pounds and gained control of his diabetes.
It took a while for Edwards to commit to improving his health. In 2008, he had to get a physical for a new job where the nurse told him he was unfit for duty because he weighed 450 pounds and had “too much sugar in his blood.” One day at work, he collapsed on the job and was taken to the hospital where he was put on insulin and given an insulin prescription that he couldn’t really afford. Even with the insulin, Edwards still wasn’t taking care of himself and felt bad all the time. He was a self-described food addict and had no idea how to manage his diabetes.
In 2014, Edwards finally decided that the extra pounds were causing too many physical problems. So he took his first step and met with a doctor who specializes in diabetes and recommended gastric bypass surgery. Edwards looked into it, but then he figured, ‘’Why would I want to have surgery if I haven’t even done the work yet and been honest with myself?” He wanted to try changing his eating habits and exercising first.
Edwards started exercising daily at a local fitness center, slowly building up to a half-mile swim every other day. When he wasn’t swimming, he worked out using weights and an elliptical machine.
Edwards decided to take the next step in his health journey by enrolling in his first diabetes education class at the Northern Kentucky Health Department in March 2018. The classes are part of the “Healthy Living with Diabetes” program, which is accredited by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). “The class motivated me to do better,” said Edwards. “It was also helpful listening to questions from other people with diabetes, and setting behavior goals in class to eat right and use portion control seven days a week.”
Part of the program also includes post-class follow-up with participants to assess their behavior goals and changes in A1C test results. An A1C test measures how well a person’s diabetes has been under control in the past three months. Before Edwards started his weight-loss journey, his A1C level was 9. Four months post-class, his A1C had decreased from 7.6 to 6.9 percent – which is within normal limits.
After losing weight and learning to control his blood sugar levels, Edwards says he now feels like a new man — and he’s still losing! Best of all, Edwards no longer needs to be on insulin and can manage his diabetes with oral medications. This is real progress.
Edwards recommends that anyone with diabetes should enroll in a diabetes class. The Northern Kentucky Health Department and St. Elizabeth Physicians Regional Diabetes Center offer classes, support groups and many other resources to help people with diabetes manage their health. It all starts with a small step. Check out these sites for more information:
DIABETES RESOURCES IN NORTHERN KENTUCKY
- Northern Kentucky Health Department offers free classes, self-management programs, support groups, supermarket tours and other activities. You can also find out your risk of developing diabetes and ways to prevent it. Go to https://nkyhealth.org/individual-or-family/individual-health/diabetes-education/.
- Elizabeth Physicians Regional Diabetes Center provides diabetic care as well as classes. Go to http://www.stelizabethphysicians.com/our-services/diabetic-care.
- Northern Kentucky Diabetes Coalition posts information about diabetes and upcoming area events on their Facebook page (“Northern Kentucky Diabetes Coalition”).
- The Kentucky Diabetes Resource Directory lists diabetes classes and events for every county in Kentucky. Search for events in your county by going to https://prd.chfs.ky.gov/KYDiabetesResources.