“I remember being thirsty all the time but I just put it down to being pregnant,” she said.

Luisa-and-family
Luisa Matin was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and with a strong family history has changed her diet and lifestyle to prevent the disease affecting her again. Source: Supplied

Learning about food all over again

She was sent to an endocrinologist who monitored her throughout her pregnancy and also a dietitian who “taught me all about diabetes and how food affects the way my body reacts.”

Luisa was then put onto a low GI diet, which was something completely new to her.

“I had to relearn how I eat I guess through that whole pregnancy and be really careful. So I managed it through diet, I was borderline insulin.”

Due to her family history and having developed gestational diabetes, she was told she had a 90 per cent chance of developing diabetes later in life.

Maintaining a healthy diet as a family

Diet has been a very important factor for Luisa and her family ever since her second pregnancy.

As a family she loves to keep fit with her sons, 11-year-old Oscar and 10-year-old Jack.

“We run together as a family, they [her sons] do little athletics, they do all sorts of sports and diet wise we try to manage their carbohydrate intake as well and try not to eat too many fried fatty foods, so I do try to have the whole family follow the low GI diet,” she explained.

As a mum she does worry about her sons’ health and said, “Especially the child that was in utero when I had the diabetes because he’s not at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than his brother, who I didn’t have the diabetes with.”

luisa-family-fun-runLuisa left a career as a finance lawyer to become a personal trainer and hopes to inspire others to move more and eat better so illnesses like type 2 diabetes can be prevented. Source: Supplied

A new career and a positive message

She has gone from a career as a finance lawyer to pursuing a career in the fitness and hopes she can inspire others to move more.

“You don’t have to be super fit it’s about getting out there and moving more than you consume,” she said.

And the message she wants to spread about diabetes, it’s that it is a preventable disease.

Luisa said, “The onset of type two diabetes can be prevented if you move more and eat better. So I’m not going to tell people to eat less, just eat better foods.”

Diabetes is the epidemic of the 21st century

According to Diabetes Australia, diabetes is the epidemic of the 21st century and the biggest challenge confronting Australia’s health system. In fact:

  • 280 Australians develop diabetes every day. That’s one person every 5 minutes
  • Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes
  • More than 100, 000 Australians have developed diabetes in the past year
  • Total annual cost impact in Australia estimated to be $14.6 billion
  • Diabetes is the fasting growing chronic condition in Australia, increasing at a faster rate than other chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

It was a health wake-up call for Luisa Martin who was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during her second pregnancy.