I was recently asked if I would write a mini book about myself on how I stay positive and healthy with Type 1 Diabetes. I've never written anything like a mini book before, but i thought I'd give it a shot in hopes that maybe this might help someone with this disease or any disease for that matter. I thought I'd post what I wrote here as well in case someone has any interest in reading about my daily life as a type 1 diabetic. Thank you for your time. Have a gorgeous day. Jen :)
A Day In The Life Of Me-
Learning How To Enjoy Being A Type 1 Diabetic
©2008 Jen Mangum
We Will All Die, But Will We All Live?
There is only one guarantee in life and that is that we will all die. Too bad there is no guarantee we will all live! I’d sure like to get to the end of my life knowing that I lived and didn’t just try to live to survive. After all like I said we’re going to die no matter what! So if I can help myself to stay positive and live by that then maybe just maybe I can help others do the same! I don’t want to come across as some self help book or just another person pushing the power of positive thinking, but I must say there is some truth to all that stuff. I didn’t believe it until I tried it but it sure seems to be working for me.
I was diagnosed with Type 1(juvenile) diabetes on Nov. 21, 2000. I was 20 yrs old. I’ll never forget that day. After months of being sick and not knowing what was wrong with me, I finally made the trip to the doctor and ended up being rushed to the hospital. I remember it like it was yesterday when my doctor told me I had diabetes and that my sugar was almost 800 and that I was close to going into a diabetic coma. I didn’t want to believe it, sure the hell didn’t want to understand it, and I just flat refused to want to deal with it. All I wanted answered was “WHY ME”? Nobody in my family has it, I’m healthy, I’m strong, I’m active, I’m together, I know everything, I’m stable,…hell I’m close to perfect…NOT!!! BUT that’s what I thought, boy was I wrong! Talk about having a sit down face to face with all your flaws and realizing when it comes to life, man I had a lot to learn!!!! In a matter of a day I swear I aged 10 yrs. suddenly all the things I thought mattered didn’t mean a thing. I was sick…really sick, my family was scared, I was scared, confused, bitter, mad, emotional, lost….I could go on and on with the feelings I went through. Those feelings continued on for 2 yrs. I went through the whole why me stage for what seemed like forever, felt depressed all the time, and even through shots in the stomach 3, 4, 5, 6…times a day, jabbing my finger to test my blood, spending more money than what we had on med supplies, having highs and lows constantly in my sugars, even giving birth to my second child, crying in silence all the time, hiding my emotions from my husband and family,…I still refused to take care of myself, to learn and grow and face up to the fact I had this disease. I just wanted to believe it would go away, that someone like me could not really have this! Talk about feeling sorry for yourself. I spent more time doing that than anything else. Why me, why do I have this?
Time To Finally Start Living
I can’t really remember when I finally realized how short life is and how precious it is. I just remember I got sick of being sick all the time. I was taking so much insulin that I couldn’t lose weight, I was tired all the time, headaches plagued me, I’d shut everyone around me out, stopped going to the doctor, and I sure couldn’t be the mom, wife, successful woman I longed to be. It’s like I woke up one morning and stopped feeling sorry for myself and started being grateful for what I had. I went through pregnancy right after I was diagnosed and my beautiful baby girl came out perfect! Not only that I was blessed with a beautiful home in the middle of the San Juan Mountains, a solid and strong husband, a handsome talented son, great parents, great friends, and a million other reasons I should be happy and thankful. I guess I started wanting to live instead of die! Feeling grateful can really help you to stop thinking about your problems. The more you focus on what you have the less you think about what you think you should have or shouldn’t have. I love this quote from Grant Cardone. I try to think these kinds of thoughts everyday…
I Wake Up Today Grateful
I wake up today grateful to be alive and grateful to have this one day that lies ahead of me.
I wake up today grateful to have opportunities and commit myself to making the most of them.
I wake up today grateful to be able to work and will do everything possible to get results today.
I wake up grateful for my mental capabilities and will use my mind to solve problems.
I wake up today grateful for problems and will put attention on solving them, not causing them.
I wake up today grateful for my attitude and will use it to make others smile and commit to spreading good news, not bad news.
I wake up today grateful for the power of choice and use that power to choose how I act today.
I wake up today, grateful for even being grateful. Pass this on to others- It might make someone grateful! ~ Grant Cardone
I’m Only Human
Trust me trying to get myself together didn’t happen over night. I’m still working on that today and probably always will be. I have so much to learn and so much more growing up to do. I sat myself down and started making goals and ways to fulfill my dreams. First thing first was to get my health under control and tackle diabetes head on. I was tired of it running me and I got determined that I’d be the one in control from here on out! I got to the point where I wasn’t learning much from doctors. No offense to the medical industry, but for me it just seemed that I was the only one that could really help myself with this disease. I just wasn’t finding and I’m still not finding the answers I’d like to from doctors and such. Maybe I just haven’t found the right one, but until I do I need to figure this out for myself.
It all boils down to three things diet, exercise, and attitude!!! PERIOD! Those three things have saved my life!!! I believe they can save anybody’s life…diabetic or not! Don’t get me wrong I still have bad days, life still gets in the way, I cry, I struggle, I’m HUMAN, I’m vulnerable, I’m your typical woman, I fail, I make mistakes, I eat bad sometimes, I don’t want to exercise, I get tired, I have high blood sugars, I’ll accidentally double dose on insulin, I pass out from low blood sugars, I get moody, hormones knock me on my butt sometimes, I fight with my husband, I get mad at my kids, I want to run away every once in awhile, I want to get drunk, I want to play, I want to be BAD…AGAIN I’M HUMAN!!! So this isn’t superwoman talking to you here and I sure don’t have all the answers, but I believe I’m on the right track, I’m doing the right things 95 % of time, and my health, my body, my attitude are strong and they WILL TAKE ME FAR!!! They can take you far too! So maybe just maybe what I do to help me can help you too.
There is NO easy way around diabetes. You have to exercise, you have to eat right, you have to know your body inside and out, you’ve got to learn to dust yourself off when it knocks you down, you need to keep your thoughts positive, you need to listen to your doctors but also learn about this yourself, and you must realize its going to take work and effort on your part to be HEALTHY! You will never get results with just medication! Don’t look at that needle or your pill as your life line, look inside of yourself for THAT! Trust me you are stronger than insulin or any medication could ever be!! Remember I’m not a doctor so what I say is based on what works for me. Talk to your doctor first about any new regime you go on or any new exercise you want to do. This is only my advice and it is not a medical one. I am not responsible for anyone, but I’d love to help you in anyway that I can…
So What Do I Do?
So what do I do? What kinds of foods do I eat? What kinds of exercise? What books do I read? How do I stay positive? How do I keep my sugars down? What supplements do I take? What meds am I on?...These are all questions I keep getting asked over and over again, so I will do my best to answer each one of them.
It’s All About Attitude
I want to start with attitude because I believe it is the most important one of all. I no longer feel like a victim and I no longer feel sorry for myself. I believe this has been a huge step in the right direction for me. I started what I call my dream book about 2 yrs ago and write in it as often as possible. It’s like a diary. Everyday I write down things I want as if they’ve already happened. For example I might write down “I’m in perfect health”, “I’m successful”, “Type 1 diabetes is cured”,…I find that keeping my thoughts right helps everything else go right. I believe we are who we think we are! Our thoughts can repel negativity away or vice versa repel our positive thoughts away. I’d just prefer to think as positively as possible because nothing makes me feel worse than feeling negative all the time. Sometimes life gets in the way no matter what we think and that is when you really have to learn to stay strong. I’m a big reader and I find when I read the kind of books I read it is yet another way to keep my thoughts positive.
Books I love and recommend reading include:
1. Joel Osteen “Your Best Life Now”
2. Joel Osteen “Become A Better You”
3. Rhonda Byrne “The Secret”
4. Donald Trump and Bill Zanker “Think Big And Kick Ass”
5. Kim Kiyosaki “Rich Woman-Because I Hate Being Told What To Do”
6. Esther and Jerry Hicks “Ask And It Is Given”
7. Lance Armstrong “It’s Not About The Bike”
8. Norman Vincent Peale “The Power Of Positive Thinking”
9. Julia Cameron “The Artists Way”
10. Tony Dungy “Quiet Strength
I also love to watch Joel Osteen every Sunday morning on TV. He’s my church. Every time I watch that guy I feel better, I feel closer to God, I feel stronger…I cannot say enough good things about what he has brought in to my life. A quote from him that I love is “Out of our greatest rejection comes our greatest direction” We all have mountains to climb over and things that will enter our life that can pull us down if we allow it to. We all get rejected in some way or another in life whether it’s by someone we love or our health. For example, like our pancreas just up and calling it quits one day. Things like that can stop you right in your tracks and leave you feeling lost and hopeless.
Diabetes is a road block, but there is a way around it, if you learn how to push it out of your way by handling it the RIGHT WAY! You might feel rejected by God that you have this disease and want to give up or be bitter, but I promise you there is a REASON you have diabetes and I believe it’s a GOOD REASON! God will not hand you more than you can handle. So use it to your advantage. Learn how to control it and not let it control you and use your thoughts to help you with that!
Pay attention to where you spend your time and who you spend it with!! This is a huge key in keeping a good attitude. If you surround yourself with people who bring you down, talk negative all the time, hate life, hate everyone, complain constantly, jealous, spiteful, mean, people…RUN! Love them from a distance! I’ve found since I was diagnosed how much more I pay attention to this. I don’t hang out with the kind of friends I use too. I pull away from people who bring me down because I actually feel like it brings my health down too. I like hanging with people who have the same dreams and goals as I do or even much BIGGER dreams and goals than I do! I like being around people that are much, much, smarter than myself, much more attractive, in better shape and health, more talented, way happier, focused, driven, financially stable, and are confident in who they are and where they are going in life. Man that drives me! When I’m around people like that I just want to get better, I want to learn from them, and grow. When I’m around people like that my attitude is so much better and I’m a lot more fun to be around. I’m also happy! It helps me to be happy with me and I learn more about myself from people like that and that’s what I want! I know its tough to push someone away or change friends, but if those friends aren’t adding to your life in a positive way then they are not your friends. Even family sometimes can bring you down. You can love your family from a distance and probably appreciate them even more if you aren’t forced to be with them all the time! Just give it a try. Pay attention to who you spend your time with!
DREAM BIG!!!! I mentioned that above. No matter how crazy you might think some of your dreams and goals are or if others judge you for dreaming them, dream them anyways! I have so many things I want to do in life and because of that I don’t focus so much on the fact I’m a diabetic. I don’t have time to sit around and allow it to be who I am and all I am. Find something that drives you. Reach inside of yourself and focus on what you want, where you want to be, who you want to be? I always try to be the woman I’d want my daughter to be. For me that is the best way to look at things because after all we want EVERYTHING for our children RIGHT? So be who you would be proud to see them be! For example here are a list of some of my dreams, just to give you an idea that I could careless if any of them sound impossible, unreachable…who cares! I’m going to dream them anyways!!!
1. I want to be a HUGE hit songwriter!
2. I want to have a benefit concert for diabetes so large it brings in record amounts of money towards a cure.
3. Then I want to turn around the next year and double what I did the year before!
4. I want to own enough real estate that I’m making enough passive income my husband and I don’t have to work! I dig the whole real estate thing
5. I want to help my son make it all the way to the NFL! Hey that’s his dream, so its mine too!
6. I want to cure diabetes! I sure ain’t no doctor but ya never know, I could still do it!
7. I want to inspire every single person I meet so that they walk away from me a better person, a happier person, a more driven person! I want to fill them with passion towards anything they want to do!
8. I want to be actress! Preferably with Dr. McDreamy on Greys Anatomy! Hey I’m married NOT DEAD
9. I want to win a CMA award! I want to win a Grammy!
10. I want to own a mansion in Maui! Heck maybe one in every state!
11. I want Garth Brooks to sing at my benefit concert! Hmmmm maybe we could even get Elvis!!!
12. I want to be healthy every single day of my life!
13. I want to be on Dancing with the Stars! Well cause I’m a star right!!
14. I want to pay off whatever college my kids choose to go to!
15. I want to pay off my parents, my friends…debt!
16. I want to buy my husband a plane!
17. I want to be in better shape than any 18 yr old could ever be!
18. I want my mom’s art to make her famous!
19. I want to be a better me everyday!!!!
20. I want to be so unrealistic its REALISTIC
SEE DREAM BIG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No matter what the dream is!!! You’ll feel better at the end of every day no matter what your blood sugar reading is! I’ll guarantee you will feel better, you’ll feel alive, and you’ll have a reason to wake up everyday…DREAM BIG! Let your dreams and the things that make you happy be so much more important than the fact you are a diabetic!! It’s all about your ATTITUDE!!! So change it and change it now!
“Take action everyday, and stay focused for the long haul” Donald Trump
One of my favorite songs for keeping me positive…
© 2006 Martina Mcbride, Brad Warren, Brett Warren
You can spend your whole life buildin'
Somethin' from nothin'
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway
You can chase a dream
That seems so out of reach
And you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway
God is great, but sometimes life ain't good
When I pray it doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyway
This world's gone crazy and it's hard to believe
That tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway
You can love someone with all your heart
For all the right reasons
And in a moment they can choose to walk away
Love 'em anyway
You can pour your soul out singin'
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway
Yeah sing it anyway
I sing I dream
I love anyway
One more thing on staying positive is GIVE BACK!!! If there is anything I’ve been guilty of its being selfish! Sometimes I make everything about me and forget that there is so much more to life than just myself, my problems, my feelings, fears, pains…Its tough not to get caught up in what we are going through and so we tend to forget everyone around us. I can’t tell you how good it feels when someone calls me up or emails me and needs guidance or help on diabetes or ANYTHING. If I’m helping someone else in any way that I can than I stop worrying about ME so much and man that always leaves me feeling so good. I know that I’ve been blessed and have so much more than most and there is something about giving that makes you realize that even more. If I can be someone’s friend and be the kind of person that can help them out when they are in trouble or in need, even if it puts me out a little bit, SO WHAT…just shut up and give! Money and all the finer things really mean so little compared to what it feels like to try and bless someone else’s life besides your own all the time! I find it best to give when I have very little to give because for whatever reason that seems to be the time God will return the favor with more than I ever could’ve prayed for!!! I know I still get selfish every now and then, but I really try to make myself more aware these days of those flaws and find that giving keeps me grounded!!!!
We are what we eat!
Plain and simple if you don’t have a good diet you will not have good blood sugar! You will not feel good. Your A1C’s will never be what you want them to be. You will get sick all the time! Diet is the other key to your success as a diabetic! Period! You can’t escape this! I love chocolate cake as much as the next guy, but I don’t love it more than my health!!! BUT again I am only human so once in awhile I DO give in to that Chocolate cake and man do I always pay for it later!!! Why I sabotage myself sometimes makes zero sense, but it still seems that I do. Yet when I’m on a roll and not allowing myself to do stupid things, I believe my diet is what keeps my sugars as even as they are 95% of the time! It’s not complicated really, I just eat right. I’m a firm believer in if God made it, its good for you. So I’m pretty strict about trying to go as natural as I possibly can in today’s world. That’s not always easy, but it’s manageable. I eat pretty low carb, most of the time and find this really helps in keeping the sugars down. I’ve listed below some of the things I eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’ve also included some of my favorite recipes.
Breakfast is VERY important. It’s what gets me going everyday and gives me the energy to exercise. So if there is any meal where I think some extra carbs are ok, this would be the one! After all I burn most of this meal off with my morning exercise, so the extra carbs help. A typical breakfast for me might be…
1. 1 or 2 hard boiled or scrambled eggs (I include spinach in my scrambled eggs), 1 apple or orange, and a slice of Sara lee low carb whole wheat or whole grain bread with a tbs of peanut butter.
2. Another breakfast for me is my protein shake. This is one of my fav things to have.
1 cup organic frozen blueberries
1 tbs peanut butter or a half a hand full of peanuts
2 tbs ground whole seed flax seeds (I use a coffee grinder to ground them fresh every time)
1 cup Almond milk
1 tbsp whey protein powder sweetened with stevia chocolate or vanilla flavored
½ a cup of ice
Mix it all together in a blender and enjoy. I find this keeps me full for a long time and does not raise my sugars.
Flaxseed is a GREAT ingredient to have around. Its health benefits are fantastic and it adds a nice crunchy, nutty flavor to your shake. I also use Flax oil, as it has wonderful health benefits as well. Stevia is the ONLY sweetener I use. I do not believe in Equal or Splenda. So I’m not a fan of sugar free products and find they always give me headaches and make me feel sick, so I gave them up years ago. I buy Stevia at the health food store and I just love it. The whey protein powder I buy is also sweetened with Stevia and has nothing artificial in it.
If there is one thing I have in the morning that may not be the best for me its coffee. It’s my ONE addiction I have not found a way to quit! So to cut down on carbs I use very little cream and Stevia for sweetness. I figure if I’m not a smoker, drinker, or drug addict, I can at least be addicted to coffee!! I personally have not had coffee affect my sugars in anyway, but I have heard that it can. So if your sugars are out of whack midmorning, coffee could be to blame. You might want to test that out on yourself.
That’s basically all I eat for breakfast. I try to just keep it simple and easy. I don’t drink anything else but water really. I just don’t! I’m not a diet coke kind of person or juice drinker. I only have juice around in case I have lows. When I need a little flavor I just add one packet of Emergen-C vitamin packets into my water and that satisfies me. Once in a great while I might grab a low carb energy drink, but in my opinion water is a major key in keeping yourself hydrated and everything else should be limited.
I like to eat 5 to 6 small meals a day instead of 3 large ones. I just think this keeps my sugars more even and keeps my energy up and I don’t seem to gain weight eating this way. So my eating schedule goes like this…
-I eat breakfast between 7 and 8 a.m everyday
-I eat my snack around 10:30 along with my vitamins
-Lunch is between Noon and one.
-My second snack is between 2:30 and 3:30
-Dinner is around 6
-And if I’m hungry I will have a very small protein snack around 8:30
So for snacks I like to eat one carb and one protein usually. Some ideas of snacks are…
1. 1 stick string cheese with an apple or orange
2. ¼ cup nuts of any kind with apple or orange…any fruit I think is fine.
3. 1 protein bar. I like zone, detour runner, power bars, fiber one bars
4. Small protein shake like the one I make for breakfast.
5. Yogurt mixed with frozen blueberries and peanut butter. I might even toss in some more flax seed. Every once in awhile I like to break up a small square of 85% cacao dark chocolate. I microwave for about 30 secs the berries, peanut butter, and chocolate all together and then mix in the yogurt. I buy yokids organic yogurt. It’s low in carbs and comes in small cups and it’s all natural. I love kids sized stuff
6. All bran crackers, about 18, with 1 stick string cheese
7. 1 Kashi Pumpkin spice flax seed bars with 1 tbs peanut butter or a stick of string cheese
My morning snack time is when I take my vitamins as well. I’m big on vitamins and believe they help me with my sugars as well. I take a lot of them and I don’t really recommend someone doing this, this just seems to work for me. The vitamins I take everyday during my mid morning snack and my mid afternoon snack include:
1. 1000 mg Vit C
2. Coromega Omega-3 Supplements
3. Calcium Chews 500 mg
4. Acetyl L-Carnitine 250 mg
5. CLA 1000 mg
6. B-100 B complex
7. Grape Seed with Resveratol 50 mg
8. Pycnogenol 50 mg (great for eyes, nerves, and blood pressure)
9. Zinc 25 mg
10. Alive Whole Food Energizer Multi Vitamin
My lunch is pretty basic as well. I keep it small and never eat until I’m stuffed full. Again I find this helps with my sugars.
Lunch ideas include:
1. Salad with turkey or tuna. Flax Oil or Olive Oil 1 tbs mixed with lemon juice for dressing. Then an orange, apple, or blueberries.
2. Turkey Sandwich with Sara Lee low carb bread and cottage cheese. Then a piece of fruit
3. Turkey or tuna wraps in whole wheat low carb tortillas and a salad. Then a piece of fruit.
4. Frozen veggies micro waved and topped with parmesan cheese along with a bit of Olive Oil or Flax Oil. Then a piece of fruit.
5. ½ can of beans…any kind. I like black beans or white beans, topped with a bit of cheese and a dash of salt and about 18 All Bran wheat crackers. Then a piece of fruit.
That’s really it for me on lunch. Like I said I keep things pretty basic. I like to add lots of fiber to my diet as well as healthy fats, so I try to have that at each meal. Fiber and healthy fats keep me full, so I don’t get intense cravings throughout the day. I can always tell when I haven’t had enough fiber because I start to get really hungry. I believe it is key in keeping your appetite low.
Dinner is very basic for my family and me as well. I try to keep dinner very low carb as it helps me keep my morning blood sugars down and plus I don’t need a carb rush for energy in the evening, since I’ve been going all day and spend my evenings more relaxed and just hang with the family. Some ideas for dinner might include…
1. Grilled Chicken breast cooked on the Foreman Grille (This is the BEST product on the planet! I don’t know what life was like before it, I use it for everything) Along with a salad and frozen veggies micro waved or steamed. I love the frozen mixed veggies at the market. They are quick and easy and very good. After dinner is when I might have a PIECE of dark chocolate just to satisfy my sweet tooth.
2. Turkey Burgers with the same sides as above. Recipe below...
3. NY Strip Steaks with the same sides as above.
4. Baked chicken with veggies tossed in as well.
5. Lean hamburger patties no bun with same sides as above.
Some recipes I like to use…
1 pack ground turkey breast
2 cups spinach chopped
1 or 2 green onions chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and cook in olive oil on a grill until cooked to your liking. You can add a slice of cheese if you like on top.
4 chicken breasts
Seasoned however you like
1 Bag frozen veggies or fresh veggies like carrots, asparagus, broccoli, whatever you like.
Tear 4 large squares of foil out and place each chicken breast on one. Season to your liking and add some veggies on top and around the chicken. Add 1 or so tbs of olive oil over each chicken breast. Wrap each breast in the foil and put in baking dish and cook on 350 for about an hour.
That is just some basic ideas of dinner meals. Again simple, nothing too stressful, yet still good to eat.
Some great recipe books to look into that I use all the time include:
1. The Abs Diet
2. Bill Phillips Eating for Life
3. P90X Nutrition Plan
4. The Ultimate New York Body Plan
Along with what I eat at every meal come the medications I take. I just recently added a new med to my list called Symlin. I’ve been very impressed with the results and recommend you talk to your doctor about its benefits for diabetics. There is also a product called Byetta that I’ve heard rave reviews about. I myself have not tried it, but you may want to talk to your doctor about it. The three meds I use are Humalog, Levemir, and Symlin. I take them at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I try to keep my insulin usage low because I find it helps keep my weight down. As long as I follow a strict diet and exercise program I can allow myself to do this and still have very tight blood sugar control. I don’t like to discuss meds much because I’ve found that every diabetic is different and responds differently to different insulin’s. The three products that I am on now though seem to work for me and I’m very satisfied with how they keep my sugars in check. I’ve tried several different kinds of long acting insulin’s and find Levemir to be the best I’ve tried thus far. I plan on using this regime for as long as it works because I’m thrilled with the results.
I know how hard it is to always eat well. I mean in today’s world we are surrounded by sweets, breads, candy…It’s so hard not to allow them in our lives. There will be days where eating right is the last thing you want to do and I say that you need to allow yourself to cheat once in awhile. Granted you will see a rise in your sugars, you will have to take more insulin, and you will probably not feel great, but STILL once in awhile I say CHEAT! I think cheating sometimes helps me keep it all in perspective and reminds me once again why I need to eat a very strict healthy diet 99% of the time. Don’t beat yourself up every time you mess up, just try to get in a habit of healthy eating most of the time and I promise you, you will see a huge change in your blood sugars.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!!!!
I can’t stress the importance of exercise enough. You don’t have to be an athlete to be in shape, but you do need to exercise EVERY DAY!!! PERIOD!!! If you don’t, not only will your sugars stay higher, everything else in your body health wise will suffer. I wasn’t a big fan of exercising for a long time, but I’ve always been pretty active. I’m in the best shape of my life now and still it’s not enough for me. I always want to get better and find flaws in my body all the time that I believe I need to work on. I’d say I’m almost obsessed with keeping myself fit and find that sometimes I burn myself out because of that. Insulin definitely still holds some weight on me no matter how hard I exercise and I find that so frustrating and hard to deal with, not only mentally but emotionally as well. If there is anything about diabetes that really wears me out, it’s the fact that insulin seems to keep the fat hanging on and sometimes I feel like I just can’t do anything about it. I have gone through times where though I’m exercising and eating right, I still can’t even lose a pound and I find myself depressed. It’s tough to keep yourself going if you aren’t seeing results. I’m learning more and more though about the benefits that exercise has on my sugars and I’m trying to make that what is the most important and not the extra weight that seems to stay. Because bottom line you can’t stop taking insulin and its life threatening to allow your sugars to stay high just to lose a few pounds. Plus stress increases cortisol levels in your body which only adds to weight problems, so all in all you need to find your way to a smile and be happy with whom you are and accept the fact that you are a diabetic whose main goal should be to BE HEALTHY! I’m speaking more to myself here than anyone else this is a conversation I have to have with me everyday! I’m a perfectionist and I struggle big time if I can’t be perfect body wise. Maybe there are a few of you out there that can relate to what I’m talking about here and if anything maybe it’s a comfort to know you are not alone if you feel this way!!!
I try to make it a point to exercise at least 30 min everyday. Though for me I usually exercise an hour or more a day. Exercise just keeps me going and helps me to get everything else I need to in life done. If I don’t exercise every day I find I’m tired and moody all day. The only day I might take off once in awhile is Sunday, but even then I try to do something active off and on throughout the day. My exercise schedule looks something like this:
Monday- 1 hour cardio
Tuesday- 1 hour weight lifting or Pilates
Wednesday- 1 hour cardio
Thursday – 1 hour weight lifting or Pilates
Friday- 1 hour cardio plus yoga or Pilates for 30 min
Saturday – 5 to 6 mile easy going walk about 1 to 1 ½ hrs
Sunday – 5 to 6 mile easy going walk about 1 to 1 ½ hrs
Also if by chance my sugars are a bit elevated in the evening I will add some more exercise in and do 20 to 30 min on my stair stepper, rebounder, or elliptical.
If I’m having a very busy week, I still do my very best to maintain the schedule above, I just might not do them as long. Yet for the most part this is a strict schedule for me and one I’ve made a habit out of, which just makes it part of my everyday life. I will cancel things if it means it will mess up my exercising routine. That is just how IMPORTANT exercise is to me.
Some Exercise instructors I recommend…
1. Tony Horton P90X
2. Billy Blanks Taebo
3. Jari Love - Get Ripped Series
4. The Abs Diet Workout - David Zinczenko
5. Winsor Pilates – Mari Winsor
One thing I recommend always keeping in mind is that when you exercise you stay in your target heart rate. So if I were you I’d buy a heart rate monitor so you can track your BPM and where you need to be to see results from exercise. Your target heart rate is the heart rate you want to sustain during exercise. Every body’s target heart rate varies from person to person depending on your age, fitness level, and exercise goals. To find your target heart rate follow the formula below…
Subtract your age from 220= your maximum heart rate
Then take 220 - your age x 55%(.55)= to find your low end target heart rate
To find your high end target heart rate
Take 220 – your age x 90% (.90) = your high end target heart rate
This is where you want to maintain your heart rate for 20 to 30 min. If your heart rate is too fast then you know you need to slow down a bit or vice versa if your heart rate is too slow than you know you need to pick it up a bit. Your heart rate should never exceed 90 % of your maximum heart rate.
Before you begin to exercise you should also determine what your resting heart rate is. To do this simply use your first two fingers on the inside of your wrist (the radial artery) and count the number of beats for 10 seconds and then multiply that by 6. You can also use this same formula while you exercise to determine your heart rate.
If exercise is just not your thing then I suggest walking. I find that if I do not want to exercise that a nice walk can do me a lot of good. Its easy on your bones, it gets you outside in the fresh air, and it’s good for you. So if you can, at least try to get on a regular walking schedule. I believe that if you walked only 20 min a day you would see an improvement in your overall health. Just give it a try!! Make sure you talk to your doctor first about any new exercise program you want to begin.
Extra thoughts, advice, and last words
If anything I hope that I’ve at least given you some good advice on getting yourself on track with diabetes. There will be days that everything about this disease will seem to control your life and be more than you want to deal with. I can assure you though if you focus on your attitude, your nutrition, and your body inside and out that living with diabetes will become much easier. Also do your best to find a good doctor you can turn too when what your dealing with seems out of your hands. I also recommend good friends and others who are struggling with the same problems you might be, because maybe together you can help each other stay on track. I can’t stress enough how important your attitude is, so please do whatever you can for yourself to stay positive and find strength in knowing you control diabetes it does not control you. So take a deep breath and start taking care of yourself!!!!
If I can be of anymore help to anyone please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at anytime. I want to help as many as I can learn to live a happy, healthy life with diabetes. I am not a doctor but I do live each and everyday with diabetes and I believe I’ve come along way in getting better everyday, so maybe I can help you do the same.
I also have a huge dream of putting on a benefit concert to help raise money for JDRF (juvenile diabetes research foundation) in Nashville, TN at some point during the next year. I’m looking for anyone interested in joining me on this mission. After all the more money raised to find a cure the closer we will get to NOT having to live with diabetes anymore in our lives. If I could be part of something like that, I would leave this world feeling like I left something good for people to remember me by. So if anyone is interested please let me know and I’ll give you all the details of my plans, hopes, prayers, and wishes! Thank you for your time. Keep SMILING