In 1998, I developed gestational diabetes for a second time. After giving birth, my doctor told me that I had at least an 80% chance of developing type 2 diabetes if I didn't lose weight and change my diet and exercise habits. My father died of complications of the disease, my mother has had it for 15 years, both of my brothers and my sister have it, and my grandmother had it. As a Hispanic American, I knew my ethnic heritage put me at higher risk of the disease.
Since then I've become a bit of a "diabetes crusader." For example, one day the checker at the grocery store, a heavy-set Hispanic woman, ran my items across the scanner and said, "I see you're dieting, too." I told her I wasn't dietingthese choices were just part of my daily life. I told her that our people are prone to developing diabetes, and we need to choose our foods with some care to avoid it.
I'm a diabetes crusader at home too, and I'm making some progress. For dessert, my 13-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter may get sugar-free Jell-O with a dollop of low-fat whipped cream on top. When I serve them juice, I water it down. We only have diet sodas in the house, and we all eat reasonable portions.