June 27, 2016
Three months ago, Karil Gibson tipped the scale at 219 pounds. Now he weighs in at 195-pounds after shedding 24 pounds over 12 weeks of nutritional education, health coaching and exercise in Jemi Health and Wellness "In Control" program.
"In Control" is Jemi's culturally-sensitive adaptation of "Why Weight", a weight management program developed by Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, Massachusetts for overweight and obese individuals with pre-diabetes and type two diabetes.
"In Control is exactly what it means - taking control of yourself," said Gibson. "It all starts with you. I have taken in a vast amount of information but these are the ones that stick out further in my mind: firstly, get rid of the great white hazards, which are all the bad carbohydrates like white rice, white bread, white flour, white grits and so on. I learned the importance of exercising; how to portion my food; how to read the ingredients label located on the back of food boxes or packages; and how important the intake of fiber really is."
Gibson was one of 25 at-risk (pre-diabetic, overweight and obese) individuals insured at Atlantic Medical Insurance, who were given the opportunity to take control of their health through the weight management program.
Another participant, Michele Fields, said the program was an eye-opening experience. She lost four percent of her body weight (which was not disclosed) and saw a marked reduction in her A1C levels -- from 8.9 to 7.2. She has also become more aware of food consumption and increasingly conscious of how regular exercise impacts her health statistics.
"For three years, I'd been a diabetic in denial. But now I am a diabetic in control. I feel better and I think I look better," said Fields.
"There is some debate about whether it takes 21 days or 66 days to form a habit. In this program, we've passed both of those thresholds. What I'm aiming for now is to achieve mastery, which [author] Malcolm Gladwell suggests takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve. So now I want to turn that into 10,000 days. I'm on a journey for the next 10,000 days to use the information which I've learned in this program to ensure continued improvement and to have maintenance thereafter," she said.
Dr. Sheena Antonio-Collie, internal medicine specialist and In Control medical team member, described the participants' statistics as "awe-inspiring and interesting" at the beginning of the program. Six weeks into the program, she noted the impressive reduction in participants' initial statistics.
The program had a 98 percent completion rate. By the end there were significant reductions in HBA1C results (a blood test providing information about a patient's average blood glucose levels over three months), weight, inches, blood pressure and total cholesterol. Fifty-eight percent of participants experienced a decrease in HBA1Cs from the highest being 14 percent to an average of 7.5 percent, while 42 percent experienced reduction in HBA1Cs below seven percent.
The overall average weight started at 215 pounds and after 12 weeks had dropped to 207 pounds. Blood pressures dropped from 137/84 to 124/73 (generally a normal reading is a round 120/80). Total cholesterol went from an average of 200 to 174 (a normal cholesterol reading is less than 200), and blood glucose went from an average of 196 to 118.
Dr. Antonio-Collie congratulated the participants for the work they put in, which she said took a lot of effort.
"You did what you had to do and made a lot of sacrifices. What you've accomplished has done so much for your health. Knowledge is power. What you got out of this program is a way forward into your life," said the doctor.
The Jemi president and behavioral therapist for the In Control program told the participants that people have to take responsibility for their own health, hence their theme of responsibility and self-love, for the program.
"All of these participants came into this program in a different form, but now they are in a healthy form. We guided them, but they did it all on their own," she said at the recent graduation ceremony at St. Matthew's Parish Hall.
The graduates survived a program which challenged not only their physical stamina but their mental fortitude.
Completing the program with Gibson and Fields were Mavis Delancy, Varinca Tate, Samantha Major, Paula Strachan, Joan Knowles, Deborah Seymour, Ellamae Collie, Sacario Leadon, Althea Gibson, Suzette Johnson, Jan Knowles, Franklyn Strachan, Kim Adderley, Christopher Wallace, Cheryl Miller Russell, Felix Delancy, Gidget Turnquest, Renaldo Thompson, Katherine Cartwright, Olive Hanna, Pethrel Virgil and Desiree Bain.
The inaugural session of In Control was achieved with the help of corporate sponsors. Lowe's Pharmacy provided participants with meal replacement drinks during the first month. Atlantic Medical Insurance joined Jemi in providing the meal replacements for the remaining two months. Nassau Agencies Limited donated glucometers to all participants. All participants had their HBA1C testing done at Dr. Antonio-Collie's office. During health education classes, Dr. Antonio-Collie also gave presentations on diabetes and management of the disease.
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