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Participant Spotlight: Don

Earlier today, Omada participant Don was featured on NPR’s Morning Edition; earlier this year, we sat down with Don to learn a little bit more about his story.

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Omada enrolls thousands of people every month, and each of those enrollees represent a relatable, interesting, and sometimes heartbreaking story. Every Sunday with new enrollees means we are now responsible for shepherding even more people (and their families) through a life-changing journey at a critical juncture for their health.

The stories behind those numbers are the most important part of the work we do. So, this year, we’ll be featuring at least one participant story every month. The hope is that bringing successful participant journeys to the forefront will inspire others, either to join Omada, or push through their struggles in the program.

Our first spotlight participant hails from the Pacific Northwest. Less than two hours from Portland, just over the Washington border, Don and Kitty run the Inn at Crippen Creek Farm. In April of last year, Don, 68, received some scary news from his physician. A recent blood test, coupled with his BMI and family history, had put him at elevated risk for Type 2 diabetes. “It was all stuff I know on some level,” said Don. 

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Luckily, Don’s insurer Kaiser Permanente offered an option to do something about his situation. At no additional personal cost, Don signed up for the Omada Program. “I was ready for it,” Don said. “I struggled with weight my whole life. It became so tiring carrying the extra pounds. I knew I needed to do something, but I just couldn’t seem to overcome the inertia. It took that email from my doctor to smack me upside the head. Everything about Omada looked good.”

Cooking is one of Don’s passions, and his Inn is situated on an organic farm where he and his wife Kitty grow produce and raise animals. But for years he had struggled with portion control, and he would often indulge in the “decadent” food he would prepare for his guests. He also had a weakness for refined carbohydrates, including his favorite, croissants. That’s why, early in the program, Don leaned heavily on Omada’s food tracker. In consultation with his coach, he turned the pastries into a treat, instead of an everyday occurrence. “The structure of the program is so well thought out,” he added. “There is no counting calories or points. It’s sensible, and easy to gauge progress without getting bogged down by details.” Over time, Don developed a plan with his coach to better control portions and make sure that he prepared healthy food alongside the meals for his guests. “I loved my coach’s professionalism, and the gentle way she challenged me without judgement.”

Don took to the program quickly, listening to group members, conversing with his coach, and diving deeply into the weekly lessons and other resources. He began seeing results within the first two weeks of starting.

It also helped that Don’s day job involved upkeep on his 15-acre landscape. There are always chores to be done, and during the summer, he sometimes gets upwards of 15,000-20,000 steps in a day.

But Don’s transformation wasn’t his alone. For years, Don’s wife Kitty would take walks by herself, because Don feared slowing her down. Now he admits that he’s almost able to keep up with her. As Don moved his BMI and blood sugar back towards normal levels, Kitty lost a significant amount of weight herself. 

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In our time speaking with Don, his passion for Omada, and his joy at the impact the program has had on his life, was evident. “When people come through the Inn, I tell them about Omada. But I have to be careful not to beat them over the head with it; I only get up on my soap box when people express interest.” With his weight now at a healthy level, Don is thriving in an Omada Focus group, where he’s already set new goals to maintain his weight and build strength.

Take it from us, Don. We’re fine with you spreading the word.

This testimonial reflects the experience of this participant only.  Actual results may vary based on age, gender and other individual and demographic factors.