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"Saying 'yes' transformed my health journey"

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December 6, 2023

Tell us about yourself!

Hi there, my name is Michael Collins, and I struggle with diabetes and high blood pressure. I was introduced to this group called Scene. I have a family history of diabetes as well. When this organization got in touch with me, they said, "We want to help you with your medication and taking it on time every day."

Tell us more about your health history and your experience with Scene’s program.

Being a guy, one of the things is, I don't usually listen to doctors. I didn't even want to go to the hospital half the time. But having a whole team of doctors and professionals as your cheerleaders every day gave me a personal touch. They would say, "You can do it" and provide me with things to try, including diet suggestions.

My A1C in December was 10.5, and as of last week, for my last exam, it's down to 7.1. Every day, I was excited to share my journey with the Scene team. They helped, encouraged, and motivated me. I was excited to take medicine now; I didn't dread it. Through this organization, I'm breaking the chain in my family. My next reading, and I'm looking forward to it, is for my A1C.

For the past year, I've looked forward to going to the doctors and getting my blood drawn every day to check my sugar. I don't have any more fears. My blood pressure was 120/81. I haven't seen those numbers for a long time, but with the care team helping me along my journey, it's a cakewalk now. I've met some amazing people and members here too.

If you want a safe place to learn about yourself and begin a healthy journey, sign up. I recommend this program to anybody. I've told many friends and family members struggling with the same issues. Even during clinic visits, I've told my doctor, and she's proud of me. That's my journey right now. I'm happy for it.

How much have things changed for you over the year?

My food habits have definitely changed. That was one of the things my health coach helped me with. Even down to changing what I thought were healthy snacks. No, chips aren't healthy snacks. By giving me different tips on maintaining my diet and changing a few things too.

I even changed how I prepare my food. A year ago, I was 375, and as of today, I am 331. So my weight loss journey has taken a healthier toll. I still have some more to go, but just to see those differences again, as I always say, numbers don't lie. I'm excited again.

Even having my dog Dakota has helped me walk and stuff like that. So that's part of my exercise routine as well. I increased my exercise, changed my diet, and everything else. The best part about Scene is having a whole team of professionals coaching you, cheering you on, sending you texts, and checking in on you. I'm truly lucky, and I feel grateful for every last one of these team members.

What would be one piece of advice you would give somebody who's new to the health journey?

The diabetes disease is a bit more personal because both my parents died from diabetes. If you have the will to want to live and change, it starts with your diet, exercising, and taking your medication. The blessing is that Scene helps you with all of that. I was totally stubborn. I was a stubborn dude. I did not care. I was like, 'I'm fine. I'm good.' But, as they say, like I mentioned earlier, numbers don't lie. My doctors tell me, 'Mr. Collins, you have to do something, or you're not going to be here much longer.' So yeah, that definitely was a wake-up call for me.

Having a team of folks that understand your medical history and journey, and you're able to share without being embarrassed, you're not judged on your current health issues. They are literally there to help you live. What better gift to be given than to have a team of folks helping you to live. I need to do the right things now so that I can work towards having that healthier future.

What did you think about Scene in the beginning?

When I got that phone call, being honest, again, stubborn guy here, I was skeptical. I was just like, 'Who is this? What's going on?' But I decided to give it a try - and oh my goodness. That was one of the best decisions I made. The program was for 60 days, and I had 60 days of fun. I still send videos and keep in contact with the staff; it's been an amazing journey.

I literally gave myself an amazing group of friends, to be honest. So yeah, it was one of the best. I'm grateful that I said yes. That was it. That's all I needed to say was yes, yes to life.

What do you do in stressful times?

I definitely have a good prayer life to help me through difficult times. But another thing is having a life coach that will contact you or you can contact her, send her an email, or something like that, or video, letting her know what's going on with you. They send me different types of breathing exercises, even how to meditate, during tough times. And it does help. I take my fur babies (dogs) for a walk or just sit down and do some breathing exercises. I've had good days and bad days.

I know I'm going to live through it now, so that puts a smile on my face regardless. Just stand, just be positive though. I'm actually happy because I know I'm going to live, and I don't have to worry. I don't have to worry when I go to the doctors now, what they're going to tell me about my blood pressure, what they're going to tell me about my sugar because it's all good numbers. I have the tools and a whole team that helped me maintain those numbers and get them even lower. My weight improvements make me feel amazing, and even down to changing my eating habits. Honestly, I won the life lottery.

That’s great, it sounds like you're taking a really holistic approach to your health?

There are so many things that connect together too; you can't isolate just one or the other with your health. I'm also glad that I learned that. I even do yoga. You wouldn't ever catch me doing yoga a year ago, but when I found out how good and soothing it is, I said, 'Sign me up for every class you can get me in, man.' I enjoy it; I’m a man from the south, so it was hard to stop the barbecue.

I now even love tofu. A year ago, you wouldn't catch me with no tofu on my plate. I even do vegan meals from time to time. You can still live a happy, healthy life, but you don't have to go overboard. One of my nutritionists gave me a portion plate. That was a helpful tool for me as well. So knowing how much portions, how much meat, how much protein, or how many vegetables to put on your plate. Simple stuff like that. That makes a big difference. This is a beautiful journey now. I guess I'm in competition with myself because I love numbers. I'm very competitive. So yeah, this health journey was just right up my alley.

Well done on changing the eating habits! Was that a difficult change in your life?

Honestly, I can't remember the last time I had ice cream; I learned through my team how to read food labels. Oh my goodness. Reading. I literally have spent 10 or 15 minutes just reading labels in the market now, because you got to read the calories, the fats, and stuff like that. There are different ways of treating yourself without going overboard as well. So again, I think knowledge is power, as they say.

And I think that's what this team did for me. It just opened my mind up a little bit more to different ways of being healthy without thinking that I just got to drink ice water every day. Even just learning how to make better choices, even at restaurants. There's nothing wrong with asking how many calories are in this. Some restaurants even offer that on their menu though. Definitely, I did a whole 360 on my food.

Have you been trying different fitness classes to help you?

My niece became a certified Zumba instructor, so she challenged me to try one of her classes. I don't say no to healthy things anymore; if someone offers me to try something. A clinic gave me a black card membership to Planet Fitness, which is open 24 hours. So I can go there and get on a treadmill and do some light weights as well, to the best of my ability. My goal is to get my weight back down to my younger years. I'm 56 now, so I'm trying to get back to that. That may not happen, but I can try. I just keep moving forward and being motivated. If I do struggle, I know I got a team; they are just a text away.

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