SHREVEPORT, La. — The jagged lines on Deborah Morgan’s weight chart are going in the right direction.
Morgan, of Shreveport, is one of almost two dozen people participating in a diabetes prevention program at Martin Luther King Health Center in Shreveport. She’s lost eight pounds toward the program goal of a 7 percent weight loss.
“Anybody that puts their mind to it, it works for them,” she said of the program. “I started it for the prizes, but I’m doing it now for my health.”
Participants receive fat and calorie guidelines, small kitchen scales, a portion plate and measuring cups to help them control calorie intake. That’s on top of incentive prize drawings at each weekly session.
Halfway through the program, they’re working to add 150 minutes a week of physical activity. Nurse practitioner Kathryn Arterberry guides discussion at each session, but the group usually ends up sharing tips and experiences at most of the meetings.
Weight loss is a hot topic as members chart their progress after the weekly weigh-in. One woman complains that the scales aren’t budging even though her pants are looser.
“You might be building muscle, and that weighs more than fat,” Arterberry reassures her. “Your clothes are telling you the truth.”
Morgan, 54, said most of her weight loss has come from changing her eating habits and adjusting portions. She recently joined a free aerobics class and expects to shed more pounds.
She started changing some of her habits three years ago when her husband, Odis Morgan, 47, was diagnosed with diabetes.
The couple followed a doctor’s nutrition and exercise advice. Six months after the diagnosis, Odis Morgan was able to stop taking metformin, a drug that helps Type 2 diabetics increase insulin production.
Odis Morgan’s blood sugar has been normal for more than two years. He watches what he eats and walks to work at a dry cleaning business every morning if it’s not raining or icy.
Deborah Morgan got her own wake-up call earlier this year when a doctor at Martin Luther King Health Center warned that she would develop diabetes unless she made changes.
“Diabetes runs strong in my family,” Deborah Morgan said.
Odis Morgan applauds her healthier habits.
“My wife doesn’t like to be outdone,” he said, laughing.