She has lost more than five pounds.
More importantly, her health markers have dramatically improved. When she began working with Sanchez, Marianas blood sugar levels were off the charts, coming in at a whopping 11.9 percent through a hemoglobin A1C test, which measures what percentage of your hemoglobin a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen is coated with sugar (glycated).
At 11.9 percent, Marianas rate was about twice the norm for diabetics. She was headed for serious health problems.
Today, her levels are at 6.7 percent.
Sanchez, who has worked with children managing their diabetes for more than 15 years, says Marianas improvement is rare. Less than 25 percent of her patients make that kind of dramatic change in their blood sugar levels.
It unfortunately doesnt happen enough, Sanchez said.
Sanchez believes that Mariana, if she continues eating healthy and working out, can ultimately be weaned from insulin. Insulin can contribute to weight gain, loss of fatty tissue at the injection site and allergic reactions like swelling.
Our goal is to get to the point where the diabetes disappears and get her off the insulin, Sanchez said.
To keep off insulin, Mariana will have to continue her transformed ways. She has a lot of support her parents and her twin brother Francisco are also on a low-carb and no-fat diet.
Still, it hasnt been easy.
The hardest thing was to go out with my friends to a restaurant and choose the right thing to eat, Mariana said.
Her menu choices usually include a leafy salad or grilled chicken.
Dr. Alejandra Cordovez, a registered nutritionist at the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami, says she has seen patients as young as 6 diagnosed with pre-diabetes. With younger children, how successful they are at sticking with their diet depends a lot on their parents, she said.
Once theyre in their teens, theyre battling their parents in terms of independence, Cordovez said. It all depends on their state of mind.
Today, Mariana, a rising senior, is working on applying to college. Her diabetes has become an incentive to stay in Florida, but Mariana says she wont let it get in the way of her future.
My parents have always wanted me to be independent, regardless of my diabetes, she said.