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The Choice to Change was Simple

July 18, 2023

When you’re at the Baxter YMCA, there’s a good chance you’ll see Tyla and her husband Keitheon encouraging each other, and holding one other accountable for a great workout. It was just two years ago that Keitheon was given a diagnosis of borderline diabetic. His doctors gave him a choice; continue on as-is and cross into life as a diabetic, or, make simple lifestyle changes. To both he and Tyla, the choice was simple. Thanks to the community they found at Baxter, they decided to make the changes.


The Y is a Special Place


About 7 years ago, Tyla and Keitheon joined the Baxter Y out of convenience. It was the closest gym, and it seemed like a good place to start their journey.

“We took a tour, and truly felt the family and community presence,” Tyla shared. “The staff were very friendly…all very warm and welcoming to everyone. That was important to us.”

When they first joined, Tyla and Keitheon were given a tour of the wellness center, which included information about the eGYM circuit. “We jokingly (and lovingly) call them the OPMs…the old people machines…mainly because we’re old people,” Keitheon joked. “They are so helpful. All you have to do is scan your bracelet, and it calibrates itself to your specs. It’s very convenient.”

After using the eGYM machines successfully, they started to venture further into the wellness center. Eventually, they found more success with the free weights and cardio machines. One of the best parts about attending the Y several times per week was meeting new people.

Over the years, their love for the Y has continued to grow. Outside of their jobs, Tyla and Keitheon love to travel.

“We make it a point to visit other YMCA facilities using the nationwide membership program. It’s cool to see the different amenities other Ys offer.”


Prolonging the Lifestyle Change


In addition to exercise, Keitheon cut out fried foods, excess salt and unnecessary snacking. With the help of the Baxter community and the encouragement from Tyla, Keitheon received a report from his doctor that he was no longer borderline diabetic.

“We are both enjoying this new healthy lifestyle and having the chance to prolong our life with the changes,” Keitheon shared. “The most important things in life shouldn’t be easy. The process to get where we are today wasn’t easy, but the choice to change was.”

Tyla shared that they are proud of the footprint the YMCA has in the community. “You see the board members out in the community. You see them doing good things, and spreading the word of the Y, not only as a family place, but it has a spiritual climate as well. It’s really for everyone.”


Continuing to Challenge Themselves


“We want others to know how great the Y is,” Tyla shared. “It’s about finding new ways to push ourselves and to keep going. Your body will tell you when you don’t move enough.” Tyla’s next goal is to complete a full yoga class. “I know it’ll be hard, but it’ll be worth it.”

To Tyla and Keitheon, the choice was simple. Make the small lifestyle changes and results will come.  As an added bonus, they found a community of support and a second home.


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