Jean is a snowbird and married mother of two who has a close relationship with her family. A few years before she retired, she found out she had Type 2 diabetes and realized she had to make lifestyle changes. Although she was a Livongo member, it wasn’t until after her retirement that she realized she could use a little help from a coach. This is her story.
Can you tell us about your experience with Livongo?
I knew that with this diagnosis I was going to have to make changes — and probably for good — if I wanted to have any quality of life or have any health. I got Livongo from my insurance company and decided to give it a try. I got a really nice coach. I really liked her, she was very easy to talk to. She had me set up my own schedule. I could talk to her once a week or every day. Whatever I wanted. It was my choice. I liked that because she worked around my schedule.
What kind of changes did you make after speaking with your coach?
I started incorporating things. I started working out. When I talked to my coach, she wanted to know why I called her and I told her that I needed to change things. I told her that it was going to be long and slow, but it was going to be for the rest of my life. Each time we talked, we set goals.
Then she started scheduling my menus on Tuesday and Thursday. I started in the summertime and fruits and vegetables were really fresh and good. The salads were fresh. But then winter started coming in and the salads were no longer appetizing. Then she asked me if I liked drinking V8 because I could get nutrition from that. I told her I liked it but I never thought about incorporating it into my life. I told her I had to make it a habit or else I wouldn’t do it. And she said, “What about when you work out?” And I said, “You know what? That’d be a really great start.” I would drink one Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and by the time I got to the gym it was gone. So that made it really convenient for me to get my vegetables.
The other recommendation she made was soups in the winter, because I like soups. So that was another way I could incorporate my vegetables into my diet, especially in the winter. She’s very, very helpful.
Then we incorporated that I would stop eating at 8 PM and I wouldn’t eat until breakfast in the morning. Now I drink nothing but water after 8 o’clock. Now I’ve gotten my blood sugar down to 119 or 120 consistently, which is lower than what I had it before. She’s been very helpful.
She’s very good at coming up with goals. I just like telling her things that I like to do and she says, “I think we should make that a goal for next time.”
Is there anything else you’ve learned from your coach?
I tell her about the medications that I’ve been taking and how they can be expensive, and she’s recommended looking for coupons to lower the cost. She’s come up with some really good ideas. It’s become somewhat of a friendship now. We look forward to our conversations.
This has been about permanent lifestyle changes.
How has COVID-19 impacted your lifestyle, if at all?
Working around this has been a little difficult. I used to go to the gym three times a week and that part of my life is gone. I used to do 45 minutes of water aerobics and 45 minutes of chair yoga. That was an hour and a half, three times a week. I felt better and had more energy. Now I have to force myself to do things, like make sure I get dressed every day.
We lived in Florida from January to May, then came home to Iowa, so I still had my sun. I would lay out in the morning before it got too hot and walked my dog a lot. But when I came home to Iowa, the weather was so bad. And then with this virus, it’s like a double whammy.
Even though the coronavirus has cramped my style of going to the gym, I’ve been doing pretty well on my blood sugars.
How would you describe Livongo to someone who’s never heard of it?
I think it’s a wonderful free program, no pressure. Very helpful as far as reaching your goals and doing what you want to do. I told [my coach] that I wanted to change for a lifetime. I have one goal at a time. I have time to work on it, so the next time she calls I can tell her about my progress. It takes me about a week to get focused. Just little things like that have been very helpful.
That’s also why I like it, because achieving your goals is on your own time. You work at your own pace. There’s no timeline, nothing at all. But you do develop a close friendship, and you get the personal one-on-one. Even though I don’t see her face, I feel like I can pick her out of a crowd. And you start looking forward to the phone calls and it gives you something new in your life to do. It’s something that I look forward to in life.
I used to work up to 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, and that becomes a lot of your life. Then you cut it down to nothing and you’re like, “What am I going to do with myself?” It’s nice to have a program like this, to get another thing in my life to do, a goal and activities. I think about my goals and what I want to do, and I think about it every day without even thinking about it. I’d be very hurt if I couldn’t continue it. It’s part of my life. It’s helped develop my life into what it is right now.
My doctor has been very proud. She knows about my Livongo coach, she knows because I’ve been talking about her. Lauren is a really great coach.
I’ve been really impressed with the program, and I’m so grateful that it’s free. I get my supplies from you, too, and I order right on my meter and it comes right to my house and it’s free of charge. That’s just a wonderful thing.
People don’t need to be afraid to try it like I was. Just do it and you’ll be happy that you did. My regret was not doing it a long time ago. I would’ve been a little more ahead of my game and my life changes. I got it going and I give that program a lot of credit.