Don Barnes lost more than 60 pounds with help from the Lake County YMCA

Don Barnes 1
nspired by its members, the Lake County YMCA has introduced a new Diabetes Prevention Program.

By Patricia Nugent

Last January, after Don Barnes couldn’t spend more than five minutes on a treadmill, he had a heart-to-heart with his doctor about making changes in his life if he wanted to live long.

So, Don went “shopping” for a fitness place to help him trim down his 270-pound frame, increase his cardio capability and, most importantly, control his adult onset diabetes.

“Everywhere I went the people told me what they were going to do,” he recalls. “When I went to the Lake County YMCA, my trainer Sarah asked what I wanted to do. Then she called my doctor and got all of the information she needed to put a program together.”

Today, Don is down to 209 pounds and has been taken off several of his medications for diabetes. He’s lost many inches, gone down several pants sizes and spends about an hour on the treadmill four to five times a week. 

Although there were no diabetes programs at the Y when Don began his transformation, his success made the organization’s administrators recognize the gap in programming and partner with the Y USA to introduce the Diabetes Prevention Program in August. The goal is to help people with pre-diabetic symptoms make the necessary lifestyle changes in diet and activity to avoid the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

Open to anyone who is pre-diabetic here in Lake County—which is an estimated 63,000 residents over the age of 18—the year-long program is one of 200 in the country.

According to Margaret Warner, Lake County YMCA senior health living director, the first group of eight people is already seeing positive results from the prevention program.

“Our group, which includes people from all walks of life, will continue to meet one hour a week in the classroom for the first four months for weigh-ins, activity tracking and educational support,” she adds. “After that, we will meet every other week, then monthly through next July.”

Look for more monthly stories, as Mimi Magazine chronicles the inspirational journeys of the participants in this initial Lake County YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program. The cost is $420, which can be covered by insurance or the Lake County YMCA. You do not have to be a member to participate. Visit, or call 440-352-3303 for more information.