Last year I read a pretty harrowing article in the L.A. Times about how Asian Americans, and especially Filipinos, have a disproportionately higher risk of getting diabetes at younger ages and lower weights than other ethnicities.
My dad has diabetes. My mom had gestational diabetes. My grandfather died of diabetes. Diabetes runs on both sides of my family, so I know that I have a high risk of getting it too, especially when you consider my diet (I eat a shit ton of white rice, I love dessert, and I didn't start eating vegetables or drinking water until college).
So, I got tested last year during my annual, and sure enough, my A1C tested at 5.8 - lower on the diagnosis spectrum, but nevertheless a positive test result for pre-diabetes.
I'm not a "dieting" kind of person, mostly because I love food and all the best kinds tend to be fried or comprised largely of fat or sugar or carbs. But I'm also not stupid, so over the past year I've been making small dietary changes wherever I can. I stopped eating dessert everyday/after every meal. I stopped drinking boba and soda and sneak leafy greens into my daily diet by blending them into smoothies. I learned how to cook some staple healthy recipes, lessened the amount of white rice I eat on a weekly basis, and started eating more vegetables by roasting them into submission. I also worked out with a personal trainer for a couple months and learned how to lift weights and get some light cardio in without having to mindlessly run on a treadmill (which I fucking hate).
Since I got tested last year, I'm happy to say that I've lost 10 lbs, dropped my percentage of body fat from 29% to 19%, and my A1C has dropped to 5.5! A modest dip, sure, but it means I'm no longer pre-diabetic, so I'm still counting it as a win. I know I could probably cut my sugar and white rice intake further, but really the most valuable lesson I've taken away from this experience is how to make small changes here and there to pave a path towards a sustainable, healthier lifestyle.
I'm sharing my story not to gloat, but to encourage my other Asian American, and especially Filipino friends, to get tested for diabetes if you haven't already. I have a small frame - being 4"11 and weighing 100-ish lbs, I appear to be a skinny, healthy person, but that hasn't always been the case. I'm a great example that you can be young and petite and still have shitty, mushy insides that are prone to diabetes.
So get tested! And let me know how it goes.*
*or don't, we don't need to be on the level of sharing our medical histories, it's cool