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John Gianette

John had lost about 25 pounds in just over a month without trying. His primary care physician referred him to the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence (DCOE), where he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. When he first came to the UMass DCOE clinic, his blood sugar was above 500 with an A1c near 13%. During monthly DCOE office visits, including an appointment with a nutritionist, John and his care team developed a plan to get those number into a healthy range.

His very next A1c, a little over 3 months later, was down to 5.4% with an average blood glucose (BG) of 94! John’s children help him with grocery shopping to ensure he has healthy food at home. His late girlfriend of 20 years had type 1 diabetes since she was three years old, and was always very good about reading nutrition labels. "She taught me a thing or two about healthy eating," Gianette said.   

“I made smart eating choices over Thanksgiving, soon after my diagnosis,” he proudly shared. “I enjoyed turkey and a small scoop of potatoes and stuffing. I added veggies to my plate as well.” Since then, John has focused on portion control, allowing himself to occasionally eat food he enjoys, but in reasonable portions. “I no longer drink soda and I eliminated fruit juice, chocolate milk and strawberry milk from my diet,” he said. “The nutritionist taught me how much sugar is in those drinks. Now I drink lots of water, and an a glass of wine now and then.” He’s also cut down on pasta, and when he does enjoy "wheat and veggie pasta," it’s in controlled portions.

John and his girlfriend used to enjoy line dancing together, and he began going again, twice a week. “It keeps me active and moving around. I also play the Wii Sports at home for a couple hours each day.”   

He checks his blood sugar regularly before breakfast and dinner, and only requires oral medication to help keep his glucose level within target range. He’s careful to limit the amount of carbohydrates and sugar in his meals. John has registered to take advantage of some of the diabetes education workshops offered monthly at the UMass DCOE. He understands the serious health complications that often occur when diabetes is not managed properly. With his new diet and regular exercise, John feels much better. During nice weather, he loves to spend time outside with his 12 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. “They keep me busy.”

They also motivate him to stay healthy. Hopefully John’s success story will motivate others to focus on nutrition, increase physical activity, and improve their numbers as well!  

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