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"Shoot for the Moon" Barb Hogg is on the journey to health

When Barb Hogg learned her blood sugar had taken an unhealthy jump, she knew it was time to step up. 

 

"Until last December, I was never too serious about my A1C. But when it hit 10, that scared me," says the 57-year-old from Fergus Falls. The A1C blood test measures average blood sugar over a period of months. Barb would like to see hers drop to under 7.

The decision to change

Family history plays into Barb's concern about diabetes.  "My grandmother was very diabetic and almost blind before she passed," she says. "Diabetes can do a lot of damage."

She has another frame of reference, too. A patient registration specialist at Lake Region Healthcare, she day in and day out sees the connection between habits and health. "I realized I needed to do something about my own lifestyle or I could end up with some really bad health problems," she says. "I decided to start with eating habits."

Seeking help    

Barb's first step? A meeting with Julie Hamre, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Lake Region. They talked about food choices, portion control, counting carbohydrates and dealing with temptation. "I knew that reducing portion sizes would be the toughest part for me," says Barb. "Faith is my number-one priority, so that night I went home and prayed. I said I can't do this one on my own."

Help came in many forms, including:

  • A new way to shop for groceries.  "Now I look at labels," says Barb. "The education from Julie absolutely made a difference in knowing what to put in my cart and what to put back on the shelf."
  • Knowledge to make smart substitutions.  "I used to snack on chips – not anymore," she says. "Now if I snack, I choose yogurt or a cup of fruit gelatin that's sugar-free and low in carbs."
  • Terrific support! "Coworkers, friends, family, people at church – everybody has been so positive and helpful," she says. "All the encouragement has been awesome."

Building in activity

In January, Barb welcomed another help: "Shoot for the Moon," Lake Region's community health challenge.

 "A few of my coworkers chatted with me about it and I thought yeah, that would help me out and get me motivated," she says. "I loved how they kept checking in with me to see how I was doing." By the end of the three-month challenge, she had walked a total of 75 miles, far surpassing her goal of 25.

"Always before I was so beat after a day of work. All I wanted to do was go home and chill," says Barb. "Now I come home and still have energy to spare. I want to get outside and walk the dog. I feel great!"

Impressive numbers

After four months of healthier living, Barb has lost 38 pounds, going from a size 26 to 18. The weight loss also eased the pain in her arthritic knees, making it easier to be more active and go more places – even places with steps.

"But I think what I'm most proud of is my A1C," says Barb. "It's now down to 7.7, and I'm hoping my next one will be under 7." In the meantime, she'll continue practicing healthy habits and pursuing her life's purpose. "I just try to spread joy," she says.

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