One-third of North Dakotans are at risk of developing prediabetes. This is a condition in which blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes.

Ninety percent of those who have prediabetes don’t even know they have it. However, leading a healthier lifestyle could help reduce your risk of developing this condition.

That’s where the North Dakota Diabetes Prevention Program comes in.

“It’s always a work in progress with me and I’m not a fast changer,” says former member Lori Kensington.

Kensington says her continuous bad habits and family history of diabetes is what motivated her to get into the Diabetes Prevention Program. She says her journey took a little longer compared to others.

“Giving up fast food was a big deal for me at that time. I would go to a certain burger joint a day and it was really hard to give that up,” says Kensington.

With the constant support from her coaches and making small changes, she says she really started feeling a difference. However, even with her healthier lifestyle, she came across some upsetting news.

“About the week before the last meeting I was diagnosed with prediabetes,” says Kensington. “I felt like a failure and Katie and the others were like you’re not a failure look at all the changes you have made. And after that I have actually lost 15 lbs. since April 1st.”

Kensington has continued to stay strong and says she doesn’t know where she would be today if it wasn’t for the prevention program.

Kensington’s lifestyle coach, Katie Johnke says, “I can control my lifestyle, I can control how active I am, or what I eat and I think that’s really the message we want people to know. Know your family history and while you can’t control that or your age or your ethnicity, know you can control the things that you do and the things that you eat.”

If you’re like Kensington who wasn’t taking her health seriously she says to really start thinking about what’s really important to you in life.

“I would ask them how long do you want to be around for your family and with prediabetes, it gave me a really big scare,” says Kensington. I can’t lie I am still scared because I don’t know what my prognosis is. But for people that are like ‘what’s the big deal?’ The big deal is your health, the big deal is what’s inside you. The big deal is how long do you want to be around for your kids.”

For more information about the program, click here. Also, check out the full interview with one of the lifestyle coaches below.