When Lisa Dumas married her husband Charlie in 1987, she promised to love him in sickness and in health.
By Denise Woodin
When Lisa Dumas married her husband Charlie in 1987, she promised to love him in sickness and in health. They couldn’t foresee that middle age would bring cancer for Charlie, and a renewed commitment to healthy living for them both.
After receiving treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011, Charlie learned about LIVESTRONG at the YMCA through the wellness representative at Mt. Kisco Medical Group. Although he and Lisa live in Briarcliff Manor — a 20-minute drive — Charlie signed up for the Rye Y’s free, 12-week program for cancer survivors. Encouraged by the support and warmth he found at the Y— “the two trainers were wonderfully cheerful and helpful” — and under a doctor’s order to lose weight, Charlie enrolled in the Y’s Diabetes Prevention Program at the Rye Y. He convinced Lisa to join him.
The 16-week program for adults at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes focuses on healthy eating and physical activity in a supportive, small group setting. When they walked through the door together for the first meeting, both Charlie and Lisa were overweight and leading a sedentary lifestyle. In addition, Lisa’s blood pressure was high.
“One part of me didn’t want to do this, but I knew I’d have to face the music and lose weight,” said Lisa. “Before signing up for the Y prevention program, I knew I had to eat less, move more. But this program builds. You start writing down what you eat, adding more information each week. The program gives you the time and the tools to get you were you need to be.”
Always a challenge, exercise became even more difficult for Lisa after she fractured a bone in her foot twelve weeks into the class. Still, she has developed a new appreciation for spinning, cardio workouts, and walks with her family. “I’m once again getting back to exercise,” she noted.
Lisa completed the Diabetes Prevention Program’s weekly core classes in September and attends monthly meetings to help her maintain her new lifestyle. “The thing I love about this program is that when the 16 weeks are over, it’s not. The Y keeps a lookout on you for eight months,” she said.
Asked about the program’s impact, Lisa answered emphatically, “Life-changing! I’ve lost 16% of my body fat. I have more energy. I’m sleeping better. And, Charlie and I have formed new habits. We’re more conscious of how and what we eat.”
Charlie remarked, “The Rye Y’s program turned my life around. I had stopped going to the gym. I wasn’t eating correctly. I had let myself go. The supportive atmosphere at the Y made a big difference. I’ve been so pleased with my results and progress.”
For Lisa and Charlie Dumas, one of the best parts of the Diabetes Prevention Program was going through it together.
The author is Director of Community Impact and Social Responsibility at the Rye Y.