The YMCA, Ensuring a Brighter Future

Marie Newstrom

Jump-Starts Her New Healthy Lifestyle at Y


Since Marie Newstrom joined the Y last September 2012, her physical, mental, and emotional transformation in six months is nothing short of amazing. Over the past 1 1/2 years, she not only lost 50 pounds, but more importantly, Marie's glucose levels have decreased to a healthier level. 


Diagnosed with diabetes about 10 years ago, Marie began to modify her diet, start medication, and to increase her activity levels. She continued to enjoy life to its fullest. Yet life came to a screeching halt last spring when her glucose levels soared to unhealthy levels. The results surprised her; it was "like a slap in the face," she says. 


Marie quickly embraced her naturally positive outlook and jump-started a healthier lifestyle. Many people may assume these changes were hard. She's quick to share it wasn't difficult. "It's all a mindset," she says. "I use mantras a lot, and one of my favorites is 'everything in moderation.'"


April 30 marked her one-year anniversary of her new healthy lifestyle. How did she do it? For starters, she changed her eating habits and joined the Y. She started walking a mile on the treadmill and working with resistance weights. "That was a big difference for me. I could hardly walk two city blocks a year ago without huffing and puffing," she says. To help kick a returning sugar habit, she occasionally practices the strict, low carbohydrate, phase one of the South Beach Diet that lasts two weeks. Along with "everything in moderation," she tries to live by the words, "quantity control" and "smart choices." Even if you're a diabetic, Marie says, you can have desserts, even chocolate, but in moderation.


By November 2012, Marie was feeling so good she completed her first community walk, Festival Foods Turkey Trot. The 69-year-old felt proud about the two miles she completed. "It was an affirmation of my new, healthier lifestyle," she says. "I've realized even though I'm nearing my seventh decade, I wanted my quality of life to be the best that I can make it."


It was her Turkey Trot t-shirt that led her to meet two new friends at the Y, R.J. and Linda Miller. With a smile on her face, Marie shares that she was in the lobby, wearing the bright-orange shirt, when RJ asked her if she did that event. They were so impressed by all of Marie's healthy accomplishments that they encouraged her to participate in the Y's 5K New Year's Resolution run/walk in January - and so she signed up.


Seeing Marie about to finish the race, Linda and her friend went back on the course and escorted her until the end. Just as he always does, RJ rang cowbells at the finish line for all the racers. "They told me I should be proud. I was just so touched that they were so encouraging of me," says Marie. She gives high praise for all Y staff and members for their support. "It's not a competition here," she adds.


Three mornings each week, Marie can be found in the Wellness Center on the treadmill, striving to improve her pace and distance. Her goal is to walk five miles by this fall; she plans to participate in more community walking/running events. "By joining the Y and coming here, you're doing something good for yourself and the community," Marie says. "You will meet people at the Y who will affect you in such wonderful ways."


- By Kim Seidel, Seidel Ink LLC. 2013