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Healthier Habits Pay Off


Sam B. is bucking the trend during the pandemic: He’s eating better, getting more exercise, losing weight and managing his blood sugar better.

In March, Sam moved into a home with three roommates in northwest Fort Wayne. With the help of Easterseals Arc staff members who work in the home, Sam has lost about 15 pounds. His A1C -- a measurement of how well the body handles sugar -- has improved from 9.5 to 8.

“I’m walking, exercising and dieting,” Sam said.

One of the keys in his dieting is eliminating soft drinks. “He used to drink liters of regular pop every day,” said Jasmine Smith, an Easterseals Arc staff member who works with Sam. Now he drinks water instead.

“He eats lower-sugar foods and lots of salads,” Smith said. “He eats more protein foods.” Chicken without the skin and fish are mainstays in his meals now.

Sam said he used to eat what he calls “junk food,” such as cookies and potato chips. Smith said that in the home where he used to live, he bought whatever he wanted to eat. In his new environment, he works much more closely with staff members to plan his eating. Smith said he has a hand in preparing his meals, particularly making salads.

With social distancing requirements, his exercise is mainly walking around his neighborhood, or even walking around inside his home.  He said his roommates are an important advantage in his new home. He enjoys being with them, and they sometimes walk with him, too. He’s looking forward to being able to visit the YMCA again. He misses swimming and playing basketball, which were favorite activities at the Y.

His days aren’t all diet and exercise. In his free time, he said, he likes to play cards and assemble model cars. He’s especially fond of models of classic 1950s cars: “The ’57 Chevy! The ’57 Ford!” Sam said.

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