Being happy with NOW

Little late night thought here…

Something I personally struggle with is always wanting to be in control of my future and to always want to know where I am going in life. I want to know so badly what my future holds that I often forget about the present life that is in front of me. What’s in front of me is the reward of past effort and determination. It’s funny how quickly it seems that I forget about how lucky I am to be where I am and how hard I worked to get here.

It’s about being certain about the uncertain. Knowing that the future is bright  even though there is a chance it won’t (my mom taught me this). How can I ever be happy with who I am now if all I ever do is plan and think about future “me”.

Appreciate how far you have come in life and be happy with where you are NOW.

Using Diabetes To Motivate Your Life

Seriously inspiring stuff from Chris, See your diabetes as motivation, let it change your life for the better.

Athlebetic

Everyone in life faces adversity. Some more than others. For me, the greatest challenge has been being a type 1 diabetic. No matter what I do, whether its sports, work, eating, going to church, hanging out with friends, diabetes is always on my mind. In order for me to achieve proper control, I must learn how to merge diabetes management and the activity I am currently doing.

Yes, it is a lot of work, but it also serves as my greatest motivator. I can’t tell you how often I hear people surprised when I tell them I am diabetic. So often I get responses like “oh, you don’t look like you have diabetes”, “if you’re diabetic why are you eating that?” or “Wow, you play (enter whatever sport or tough activity you can imagine) and you’re a diabetic?!”.  I don’t ever let any of that get me down nor do…

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Nutrition And Diabetes

Great article. If a type 1 diabetic can manage his food- carb counting, measuring and overall, just trying to eat healthier then diabetes can be a lot easier to manage . Find what meals work and don’t work for you. Chris shares 5 tips to live a healthier D-lifestyle.

Athlebetic

Proper nutrition and carb counting are vital components to diabetes management.

Here are a few practices that I use to help maintain good nutrition and carb counting:

1)      Packing my lunch – Eating out can be a BG killer! I always pack a lunch for work. This way, I know exactly what is in my much and how many carbs it is. I can also make sure I am getting the proper nutrition to supplement my training in the gym.

2)      Measuring my food – My eye always get me into trouble. I have realized that when I try to measure with just using my eye, my portions always tend to be a good amount larger than I think. I make sure I always put food on my plate using a measuring cup. One way I make sure I do this is to always keep the measuring cup on the…

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What is Your “Diabetic Character?”: dealing with the “bads” of diabetes

What do you do when the storm hits?

There are many ups and downs living with diabetes.

Some days will be great- your sugar levels will not fluctuate a lot, your numbers will be steady and everything will be going smoothly.

If only it could be like this all the time…

Other days will be completely different. Your blood sugar will rise for no obvious reason, insulin dose that you normally take with a certain meal won’t be enough or will be too much, sending you into a high or a low. I am not sure which one I personally hate most. What’s frustrating about these bad days  is that they are often unpredictable and can happen out of the blue.

A couple of months ago I fell into a strange insulin resistance phase for almost 3 solid weeks. I kept increasing my meal insulin and my Lantus but no matter what I did, I would always end up with high blood sugars. It was frustrating because it was so unpredictable, and also because I did not know why it happened.

Many things can affect your sugar levels – the truth is that diabetes is part of an incredibly  complex metabolic and hormonal system – everything from weather, to hormones, to viruses, to your subconscious moods and thoughts can have influence on it…..

So what is your Diabetic Character? Do you allow these setbacks to affect your day? Week? Month? How can you overcome these types of days and get back on track to what you want to do.

I try and accept that these type of days come with having diabetes and that makes them less surprising and frustrating. I know it’s a crappy thing to admit but yeah, random high blood sugar will happen and it can make you feel terrible physically and  mentally. I try to understand that being diabetic comes with these type of days and they are just small hurdles and challenges I need to deal with. I don’t take the highs personally – I don’t feel sorry for myself and say “why me, why is this happening?” I try to control/understand the situation or, if that fails, ride out the highs with slightly more insulin – I am careful and wait for feedback from my body before going onto the next step and deciding how aggressive I need to be. If you really understand that random high numbers is a part of having diabetes, then when it does happen it won’t feel as upsetting or frustrating. Of course, if you are very high for few days, you need to check for ketons and consult with your doctor as this can also be very dangerous.

Find your support group and use it. Who in your network of people that you know can you talk to and get advice from? Who is willing to listen and help you out when things aren’t going your way? I’ve recently come across numerous Facebook groups which hold communities of diabetic people helping other diabetics out. If your numbers are going crazy one day share what’s going on, you’ll be surprised to realize how many people have gone through what you’re going through. Personally, I always talk to my mom when my numbers are out control, she offers support and knows my situation.

I try and see good in the bad by realizing that all these ups and downs just make me a stronger person. I take getting through a bad of diabetes as an accomplishment. When my numbers are running high and I eventually find a way to bring them down however that may be, I like to think of it as a little accomplishment and I like to think it has made me a stronger person, I know that I am more resilient and can persevere because I have experienced and overcame those hard days as a diabetic.

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Accept that these days will happen, use your support group to connect with others and take it in strides. Realize that the challenge of diabetes is helping you become stronger,  more resilient, disciplined person with the ability to persevere when days aren’t going your way. We all experience little setbacks daily as diabetics but how we recover from them is the true test of our “Diabetic Character”.

An article on my story done by Ryerson’s “The Eyeopener”

Had the opportunity to sit down with a journalism student from Ryerson and share a bit of my story and what I’ve been up to. One thing I don’t believe that is said here is that ‘diabetes can never go away”- I like to believe anything is possible, never is a strong word.

Here is the article:  http://theeyeopener.com/2014/02/kicks-and-pricks/

I have also sent in a post to the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) which I will be sharing shortly.

Thanks for checking it out and here are some pictures from the article.

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Getting The Most Out Of The Gym As a T1D

Most people at some point in their life have worked out at the gym. For the average person the experience of working out is just a matter of going to the gym, doing some workouts, drinking a protein shake and then leaving to go home.

For a Type 1 Diabetic working out  is much different, the idea of activity and exercise brings on another level of preparation and caution.  Exercise, depending on what you are doing, has the ability to push your blood sugar down  and can send you into hypoglycemia- which no one wants.

I have been working out for 3 years now and for the last 2 years workouts  have become more intense as it is now more important than ever to be physical fit in order to stay competitive in the University league.

Weight lifting can be considered either aerobic or anaerobic exercise, and anaerobic exercise, in contrast to the aerobic one, tends to raise your blood sugar (here is a good summary of this  http://diabeteshealth.com/read/2010/10/31/6751/exercise-often-raises-blood-glucose-in-type-1-diabetes-/ ) depending on the speed and intensity, but in my case, I find that it usually lowers it so I prepare accordingly.

  1. I try and eat some simple carbohydrates like pasta 2 hours before and cut back on my insulin with that meal by about 25% (my bolus to carb ratio is 1:20, so I take between 2 and 6 units for majority of my meals). I am not cutting more because, in case of weight lifting, I know that it may also happen that the exercise may end up being more “anaerobic” – like with everything that is not black and white, you need to strike a compromise that keeps you safe while not allowing your BG to raise too much.

But weightlifting still isn’t extremely laborious for me so I don’t tend to go too low during or after the workout- which also explains only the partial cut back of insulin. If I were going for a long run, I would have cut back a whole lot more. In this case I still want some uncounted for carbohydrates that will cause my blood sugar to be a little higher as I still expect a little bit of a drop (maybe 2-3 points).

2.   I try to get my blood sugar between 7-9 before the workout

This level is perfect for me – it is not too high to make me sluggish and not low enough to cause me to worry if I start going down during the exercise. I can workout and still have enough energy.

3.  I drink a VEGA sugar-free Sports Energizer drink before I workout.

Everyone is crazy about pre-workout and seems to swear by them, the only problem is that many of them carry enough caffeine to keep you up for years and have enough sugars to put us diabetics in not such a great place. VEGA makes a pre-workout that is completely organic and plant based, its sugar free and I find it perfect for me to give me that extra bit of energy before a workout.

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4.   I eat a protein bar after my workout.

I like to have bars because they have some carbohydrates in them, this replenishes the glucose that was used up to power my workout and helps ensure that I do not go low hours after the workout.  I usually have a CLIFF protein bar. Sometimes if for some reason my blood sugar is crazy high after the workout (and these maddening irregularities do happen) then I will skip this step, in that case I will make a simple sugar-free protein shake.

As you can see my routine isn’t that crazy or complicated. I have been fine tuning what works for me and allows me to get a good workout. The biggest concern I hear about from other T1D’s regarding working out is the fear of lows.  The concept that all exercise drives your blood sugar down is outdated and incorrect. But to start with, like I did, and get more comfortable with the whole idea of exercising, it is better to go in a bit higher by cutting back on pre-exercise insulin and/or taking extra carbs before, during and after exercise (of course checking often). When I first started and lived in a serious fear of going low during exercise, I would usually drink a bottle of Gatorade (40 carbs) over the course of a couple of hours of moderate exercise. Later, as I learned more about what was happening and why, and through frequent testing and careful experimentation, I started changing and customizing to what works for me.

Please let me know how you manage your T1D while at the gym and what adjustments you make to ensure that you have a good workout.

Forget Public Speaking! How To Overcome Your Fear Of Public “Diabeticness”

When you are first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, not only is it difficult to learn how to manage it, what to eat, how to carb count, how to look after your insulin etc., but there is an additional aspect to having T1D  that can be the most difficult  – how to overcome your fear of displaying your “Diabeticness” in public and to embrace diabetes on a social level. By “Diabeticness” I mean checking your sugars, taking insulin and doing all  the necessary components you need to do to make sure your T1D is under control.

Doctors will teach you a lot about  how to manage your sugars and look after your diabetes  but learning how to cope with your newly diagnosed disorder socially is something  you will need figure out on your own.

For teenagers who are newly diagnosed, as I was, this can also be  difficult because you are at a time in your life where your social image matters so much and you don’t want to do anything that may effect it.

For me, checking in public and taking insulin was weird – I didn’t want people to think that I was really sick or less capable of doing things than they were. I wanted to be like my friends, do what they do and ate what they ate, without doing a whole bunch of “odd” rituals. I did not want to be different!

As I was going through my teenage years as a diabetic, people would always ask me questions like ‘What is that?” “Are you okay?” “Does that hurt?”  and many would even try to give me advice on my diabetes, tell me “what’s good for it” etc. For me, it wasn’t an issue to give answers to those who asked about diabetes and I never let it affect me personally, but I know from other friends that it is not easy. A common lesson in sociology tells us that we tend to view ourselves how others perceive us, so when people are constantly bombarding you with questions, opinions and comments about your diabetes you may tend to feel more alienated and different.

What helped me to conquer this fear of  showing others I was diabetic and dealing with their reactions, and sometimes uneducated and uncalled for comments, was  the understanding I embraced that diabetes can not define who I was unless I let it. This fostered a personal philosophy of mine which is that I never let others’ remarks create an image of myself for me...

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If you want to be an astronaut or a professional athlete, or anything, then you can, regardless of how people along the way may “label” you as being “sick” or “different” or somehow less capable. But don’t judge them, their opinions are often based on lack of education, and to be honest, I would probably be one of them had I not been a T1D so what helped me with dealing with other people was just putting myself in their shoes and assuming a position of empathy.

I personally believe that everyone, diabetic or not, has to one day overcome their fear of what others think of them  to truly go after what they want. Unfortunately, being diabetic can expose you to this practice early as people now have a real specific reason to look at you in a new light. The quicker you master this ability to not let people influence you in a negative way, the quicker you will be on your way to success in anything you choose. So maybe this is a gift.

Blogging about overcoming personal challenges as an athlete and young person with Type 1 Diabetes.