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Chesterfield mother battling diabetes completes 12 week YMCA program

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A chesterfield mother is one step closer to beating diabetes.

CBS 6 has been following the health journey of Janet Espana since November.

Tuesday the mother of two received her certificate after completing her final class for the YMCA's Diabetes Control Program.

Janet Espana“I feel good, I feel awesome,” Espana said.

Espana and a handful of others spent 12 weeks learning how to control diabetes with proper eating habits and exercise.

This is important because diabetes is often referred to as a silent killer. According to the American Diabetes Association, the disease causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and aids combined. Statistics show more than 8 million people don`t know they have diabetes.

Espana was diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes 10-years ago. She said her motivation for getting healthy and joining the YMCA program was her kids, but there were road blocks along the way.

Janet Espana

Janet Espana

“The food was the biggest challenge,” said. Espana. “You can still eat what you eat, but you have to watch out for your portions.”

Over the course of the program Espana learned healthy eating habits, how to exercise, and even took trips to the grocery store with YMCA staff to learn the best ways to shop.

“When I first started the program it was difficult because I was not feeling good,” Espana said. “I was feeling very tired and I didn`t know what to expect whether I was going to be able to make any kind of progress, but I did.”

If you’d like more information on the YMCA’s 12 week diabetes program click here.