OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - Judy Haug's path to high blood sugar levels started with one combo meal at a time.
I didn't think much of it, said the 63-year-old.
"I would gain five pounds here and and five pounds there," she said.
Over the years, she said she gained 40 pounds. She would stop and start diets while working out inconsistently.
Then, she thought of setting a goal of losing 15 pounds just in time for her son's wedding.
"I started to think about the future and being a grandmother," Haug said. "I love, love, love children."
About a week after the wedding, she visited her doctor for an annual health exam.
As she looked at her charts, her doctor dropped a bombshell on her: prediabetes.
Haug joined a national statistic which reveals nearly 30 percent of Americans are prediabetic, with experts believing 90 percent are in the dark about their status.
In 2015, she found herself at a YMCA for a diabetes prevention program.
"We know that if we start making changes here, people can reverse the effects before those symptoms ever show up," said Lindsey Cork with YMCA.
In the club's program, participants sign up for a year-long commitment and log down food intake and fitness activity. They also learn how to understand the behavior behind their eating.
Instead of a dietitian leading the class, it's taught by a life coach.
"At first, I thought that doesn't make sense and then I thought, 'Yes, because I'm not going on a diet,'" Haug said.
Two years later, she says she kept the pounds and prediabetes condition off.
Other health partners offer the CDC National Diabetes Prevention Program, including the University of Nebraska Medical Center's EngAge Wellness and Diabetes Education Center of the Midlands.
The Douglas County Health Department is helping to spread the awareness about the rising condition.
"It can be prevented," said Patty Falcone with the health department. "You can prevent diabetes just by doing simple things by losing five to seven percent of your body weight or even increasing your exercise to up to a 150 minutes a week."
For Haug, she's hoping her outlook becomes contagious.
Even if my story can help one person, she said, I would be happy.