How One Woman With Prediabetes Uses Diet and Exercise to Prevent Diabetes

Kathy Lawrence lost 15 pounds when she started exercising 45 minutes a day.
If you have prediabetes, two of the most important things you can do to avoid diabetes are change your diet and increase your exercise.

In a study published in 2002 by the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group, people with prediabetes slashed their risk of diabetes by more than half if they lowered the fat and calories in their diet, boosted exercise, and lost weight.

Kathy Lawrence, who is 61 and lives in Austin, developed some worrying symptoms in her late 50s. She had cat scratches on her feet that refused to heal. Slow-healing wounds are a sign of diabetes, so she visited her doctor and had her blood sugar tested.

Lawrence had a fasting blood glucose of 119 mg/dL, just short of the level that signifies diabetes (over 126 mg/dL). Although she technically had prediabetes, not diabetes, her doctor told her: "We're going to count you as having it."

Alter your diet
She started by making some changes in her diet. "You ate your way into this disease, and you can eat your way out of it," her gynecologist once told her. That's not entirely true; she had some type 2 diabetes risk factors she couldn't change—her age, a family history of the disease and gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

However, she did have some risk factors she could change, including her weight (she knew she could lose a few pounds in her midsection) and her activity level.

She first looked at the types of carbohydrates she was eating. Carbohydrates are a key part of the human diet, but some raise blood sugar more than others.

12 Next
Lead writer: Eric Metcalf
Last Updated: April 02, 2008

Get the latest health, fitness, anti-aging, and nutrition news, plus special offers, insights and updates from!

More Ways to Connect with Health