Bronx Woman Beats Diabetes with Lifestyle Medicine Program
Since she was a young girl in the Morrisania area of the Bronx, Skyler Myres was raised on a menu of unhealthy eating that nearly cost her life.
Every Friday, her father ordered shrimp fried rice with greasy chicken wings, instilling a tradition that she carried into adulthood. The ritual led to her becoming overweight, with diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Then, an unexpected cancer diagnosis plunged her into a deep depression. Finding comfort in food, the weight and her grief kept piling on.
After radiation treatment and life-saving surgery at NYC Health + Hospital/Jacobi, Skyler’s health started to stabilize. To set her on a healthier path, Skyler’s Primary Care Provider at Jacobi Hospital, Dr. Eleanor Weinstein, referred her to the Lifestyle Medicine Program, a comprehensive care plan that uses healthy habits to treat chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
“The Lifestyle Medicine Program changed my life. I’m so glad I did it,” Skyler said.
“I lost 65 pounds. I no longer have diabetes, and my blood pressure and cholesterol levels have gone down. I have more energy, my mood is better, my stamina has improved, and my confidence is higher than it’s been in years. I am living a life I couldn’t even dream of a few months ago,” she said.
Since it began in 2019, the NYC Health + Hospitals Lifestyle Medicine Program has helped hundreds of patients like Skyler adopt lifestyle changes to become healthier and live longer lives. The program began at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue in Manhattan and is expanding to the Bronx and Brooklyn. It will soon be available at six new NYC Health + Hospitals sites and able to serve 4,000 patients a year.
The 6-month program provides patients with support from a team of doctors, dedicated health coaches, mental health specialists, and nutritionists/dieticians, to help them reach their goals. Together the Lifestyle team encourages patients to eat more plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, increase their physical activity, sleep more, improve their mental health, reduce stress, avoid substance use, and create stronger social connections.
One of the key factors in Skyler’s journey was the support she received from Health Coach Jody Dotson. Jody took the time to understand Skyler’s specific health needs and challenges, providing guidance tailored to her unique circumstances.
“I saw Skyler’s potential from the very start,” Jody said. “I knew she had the capacity to turn her life around, and I was there to offer the guidance and support she needed. I always remind my patients, ‘small changes lead to big wins’. It is rewarding to see Skyler achieve her health goals and enjoy life in a whole new way.”
“I am so thankful for Jody” Skyler said. “She is very knowledgeable and answers all of my questions – and believe me I have a lot of questions” she says with a laugh. “But Jody helps make these changes feel possible and it’s really empowering.”
One of the most surprising changes Skyler made was reducing her meat intake, and now eating a mostly plant-based diet. Her new favorite meal: a delicious black-eyed peas casserole followed by some fresh fruit for dessert.
“I used to think each and every meal had to have meat in it. But now I’ve learned another way. If you had told me months ago that I would be mostly plant-based I never would have believed you. But now meat is something I hardly even miss” she said.
Skyler’s message to those considering joining the Lifestyle Medicine program is simple. “Don’t focus on what you’re giving up, focus on what you’re gaining. It’s never too late to start. You have the power to change your life,” she said.
To Make An Appointment
Call 347-507-3695 to enroll in the NYC Health + Hospitals Lifestyle Medicine Program