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John Gianette

Date Posted: Friday, November 01, 2019

In late in 2018, John lost about 25 pounds in just over a month. 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 met with Dr. Laura Alonso, his blood sugar was above 500 with an A1c near 13%. During his 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 second A1c, in February 2019, 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 home. His late girlfriend of 20 years had type 1 diabetes since she was three years old, and always read nutrition labels.   

“I made smart eating choices this past Thanksgiving after my diagnosis,” Gianette said. “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 eat food he enjoys, but in reasonable portions, and not all the time. “I don’t drink soda and I cut out fruit juice, chocolate milk and strawberry milk,” he said. “The nutritionist taught me how much sugar is in those drinks.  Now I drink a lot of water, and an occasional glass of wine.” He’s also cut down on pasta, and when he does eat 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.”   

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

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