Pam Acito, 59, of South Bend, Ind., is one of our survey respondents who is another diabetes success story. But it wasn't always that way. After learning that she the condition in 1993, Acito said she was eventually taking three different medications and still having trouble controlling her blood sugar. "It was a hassle, a real pain," she recalled. "The worst parts were the constant testing and having to be so careful about everything you eat."
But about a year and a half ago, Acito got serious about changing her lifestyle. She joined Weight Watchers and learned dietary strategies that worked for her, such as reducing portion sizes and adding more fruits and vegetables to her meals and snacks. "One of the big things I learned is that restaurants usually serve twice as much as you need," she said. "Now, when we eat out, I eat all my salad, but take half my meal home for lunch—sometimes two lunches!"
Much to the delight of her German shepherd, Acito also started walking, gradually working up to three miles daily. Then she joined an exercise class for people age 55 and up, and when that went well, she added water aerobics. "The classes are my motivation to get up and move," she said. "For instance, in one class we do line dances. I just think that's fun."
Thanks to those new habits, Acito has dropped more than 50 pounds and is proud to say that she wears the same dress size she did in high school. She's also seen a significant improvement in her health. She has been able to cut back her diabetes drugs to just one, metformin, and no longer has to monitor her blood sugar frequently. She says that other health measures, such as her blood pressure, have also improved.
Acito's husband, two children, and four grandchildren have provided moral support. "They are very proud of me," Acito said, beaming. "My granddaughter tells me, 'Oh, Grandma, you are looking soooo good.' When a 4-year-old notices, you know you've done something."