When Laura Torres, a 37-year-old motivated mom of three teens, heard from her aunt about Prevent T2!, the free year-long diabetes prevention program offered by the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, she knew it was something she could benefit from.
Although she now leads a busy, fun life working in the tourism and entertainment business downtown as a street thespian and Lead Tour Guide for Bad Wolf Ghost Tours, she has fought hard to get to where she is today.
“In August of 2020, I found myself five years in recovery from opiate addiction, which is a success story in itself,” Torres said. “Although I’ve continued to succeed in my recovery and have both my life and my family on a successful path, I had gained over 50 pounds and was not happy with myself physically. I had no energy. The wakeup call was when my doctor told me my blood pressure was high and if I didn’t lose weight I would be at risk for diabetes, which my mother and grandparents suffer from.”
With all the hard-won efforts of recovery on her side, Torres was prompted to make even more positive health strides. She decided it was time to act on the news her doctor gave her by committing to join the Prevent T2! Diabetes Prevention program.
As a participant, Torres said she benefited from having a health coach “who was always warm and welcoming” to support her at each virtual session she attended from home. To go along with the convenience of these online sessions, she and each of the participants received support materials such as workbooks, goal setting guides, and a fitness and weight log which Laura explained she was instantly impressed with.
Attending almost every session, Torres attributed her main motivation to other participants in the group. “It was wonderful getting to know everyone and hearing their struggles and their successes,” she said. “Having a community to belong to kept me committed to my health and fitness. The group was able to help me be accountable for my own health.”
With the motivation she gained, by the end of the program year, Laura had lost 45 pounds. She said, “I have changed my entire life. I spend four to five days a week in the gym. I have fallen back in love with dance.”
She does Zumba, yoga, Pilates, booty barre and aquatic fitness classes. “My energy is way up,” she said. “I feel very confident and good about myself that I learned so much about health, fitness and nutrition. It is amazing how the body and mind respond to good eating and exercise. One more plus, I have been able to get myself an entire new wardrobe, since most of my old clothes are too big.”
All the fun she’s having at the gym working to improve her health has led her to pursue professional goals. In July, Torres became licensed as a Zumba instructor and is currently training for her third audition to work with Gold’s Gym.
“I am so excited for my new career in fitness and dance,” she said. “I would have never found this path without the help and support of Veronica Ramirez and our type 2 diabetes prevention group.”
To learn more about getting support to adopt healthy habits and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, call Metro Health’s Diabetes Prevention & Control program at 210-207-8802 or visit DiabetesHelpSA.com today.
To find help for addiction, visit Community Medical Services at 210-314-1934 or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) HELPLINE at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).