Brenda Ferreira, 36
My biggest challenge managing diabetes is exercising. It used to be easy to lose weight and stay in shape. After being diagnosed, it's been very difficult. People who don't have diabetes don't understand.
About a year ago, my husband and I decided to have a baby. And I wanted to lose weight before giving birth. I've had my ups and downs. I walk for exercise. Instead of taking elevators, I take stairs. It's not much, but it's something.
My husband and I haven't changed 100 percent, but we have made changes in our eating habits. For example, because I don't like sugar-free foods and I usually buy regular, I try to eat less.
As Latino people, our main dish is usually rice and beans — the rest are just add-ons. But we know it's better to eat fewer carbohydrates when you have diabetes. So we have changed to whole-wheat pasta. We still eat rice and beans, but then the next day we'll have salads and chicken, for protein.
I was surprised to be diagnosed with diabetes, and started eating everything that wasn't good for me. But you get more conscious of what and how much you eat. Also, my mom helped me. And my old roommate, who is a nurse practitioner, gave me information about diabetes. Now they watch me. If I order french fries, they'll ask, "Don't you think it would be better to eat veggies?"
My advice for someone newly diagnosed with diabetes is to live as normally as possible, but try to make your life healthier.