2/3 way into our first pregnancy, I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. Diabetes runs in my family like the Force among Skywalkers. The doctor told me that everything was very reversible at this point given some life changes.

Aside from reducing portion sizes, cutting down on carbs, and reducing sweets (my vice), I had to lose weight. I’m not overweight, but surprisingly, Asian-Americans are woefully unaware and undiagnosed for diabetes (more than 50% who have Type 2 diabetes don’t even know it!). I’m pretty active year-round, but I decided to make a more concerted effort to be active for the sake of my health rather than pure enjoyment.

Swimming was something I always enjoyed, but I didn’t have access to pools while living in Philly suburbs (which, as a side note, resulted in some unauthorized dips in state parks …). When I moved to the DC suburbs, I took advantage of the plethora of affordable public pool options.


Wading through a lake in Canada.

After doing some research, the workout that’s been working for in building endurance while burning calories is interval training. I’m not the strong swimmer I once was, but I did spend the summer refining my technique. That helped me gain confidence.

Once I felt that I had my technique down, I started interval training. A workout looks something like this:

15 min – Relaxed freestyle, breast stroke, and kickboard drills. Nothing strenuous.

25 meters – Sprint
25 meters – Relaxed
25 meters – Sprint
25 meters – Relaxed

Repeat Set 3 times

15 min – wading, back strokes, doggy-paddling, anything that keeps you moving!

As I continued doing this, I found that I was able to sprint better during each set. As my endurance and lung capacity improved, I was able to lengthen and add more sets. I aim to spend at least 60 minutes at the pool.

The weight loss has been gradual, but I always feel great afterwards. Plus, I have an excuse to enjoy the hot tub (something I wouldn’t be able to do if I were diabetic) afterwards. Give it a try!