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South America and CGM

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South America and CGM 4Last week I attached a CGM before my holiday to South America. I asked my lovely followers on Instagram where is the best place on the body to put the CGM, the majority said the stomach, so I went with that. I wanted an area that wouldn’t get in the way of me putting my rucksack on and off. Previously, I have worn the CGM on the back of my upper arm. Little did I know, that later on in the holiday, the CGM would be my saving grace as my rucksack, containing my BG meter, was stolen. More on that later.

South America and CGM Before embarking on this journey, I was rehearsing a pole piece that would be performed at Yorkshire Pole Championships. The additional training flared up my shoulder injury so I decided to give my upper body a rest from exercise while I was away. I would focus more on walking and lower body stretching. We walked anywhere from 10000-20000 steps per day which was enough movement to cover some of the tasty foods and wine I consumed whilst I was there. I added some stretching in at practical times, such as waiting in the airport for flights, or before going out to dinner. Oh, I also did some swimming too. Although I have a lifeguard qualification, I’ve always found swimming extremely challenging and this experience was no exception.

South America and CGM During this trip I intended to visit Christ the Redeemer Statue, Rio De Janeiro, Ambalse El Yeso – Santiago, Chile and Machu Pechu, Peru. I saw the first two, but after my bag was stolen in central Santiago I was unable to continue my journey onto Peru. Everything was in the rucksack, including my passport and purse, so I had to obtain an emergency passport that would only allow me direct entry into the UK. The first direct flight into the UK from Santiago was full so we had to stay a further two nights until the next BA flight. I’m pretty upset that I didn’t make it to my final world wonder (Macchu Pechu), but I know I will go again someday and maybe have more time to spend there.

South America and CGM With regards to my rucksack being taken, luckily, I didn’t have all of my diabetes supplies in it. I left that with my suitcase back at the hotel with the hotel staff. We had checked out ealrier that morning, but didn’t want to lug the suitcases around with us for final bit of sight seeing. As I said earlier I was wearing the CGM, which alerted me that I was low when I was in the back of the police car on the way to the police station to file the report on the stolen bag. Obviously I had nothing to treat this hypo as it was in my bag, the language barrier didn’t allow for me to tell the police men to stop for me to get some sugar either. I had to wait until I got to the police station where my partner bought me a can of Coca Cola from the vending machine.

South America and CGM Now that I am back, I am looking forward to buckling down to work again. Helping my clients with their training / mindset via my online training tool, finishing my MA dance practices course and teaching dance and fitness. I’m also a woman of habit, so I am also keen to get back to my normal diet. Although I love eating freely when I am on holiday, guessing carbs and eating a lot of them, my body is used to a certain way of eating – 80% healthy, and my energy levels certainly feel it if I don’t eat this way, regardless if my blood sugars are good or not.

How do you like to eat when you travel? Do you work out whilst you are away? Let me know on Instagram, Twitter or YouTube.

Rowena x

Yoga for Diabetics

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A Step Ahead of the Diabetes Game

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A Step Ahead of the Diabetes GameOften time’s people have asked me how I manage good diabetes control with a busy schedule and I always tell them that it’s because I stay ahead of the game. I know that diabetes is not a game, it’s a very real, shitty disease. However, if it were a game I would win hands down because I refuse to give up. With this in mind I’m always trying to find ways to deal with it and manage it with ease. If that means spending time preparing packed lunches, typing food into MyFitnessPal for carb counting, having spare supplies of everything in my car (apart from insulin – if it came to it I could just use the insulin from inside my pump to inject with), then so be it.

Even if you’ve been diabetic for 10 years or ten days you have something to work with. What happened yesterday that could be altered today? What could be changed and why?

If you tend to go high during a certain time of day – Is your basal insulin correct? What did you eat, is there a chance that you may have miscalculated the carbs? Did you eat more than you bolused for?

If you go high everyday because you’re stressed with an insane workload, don’t blame the workload. Accept that you have the ability to lighten the workload or to increase your basal insulin to manage the highs that are caused by the stress.

Likewise, if you’re constantly going low after a certain exercise – don’t blame that particular exercise and avoid it forever, especially if you enjoy it, take the time to figure out what YOU have to do in order to prevent it in future.

Diabetes is no one’s fault so don’t place blame. None of us asked for it and we would rather not have to deal with it. Accepting that your management is a direct result of your action might be harsh at first, but it will eventually lighten the burden of placing blame on others. – On social media, I once witnessed someone blaming a food company for her high blood sugar, but it’s not their problem. The company didn’t force anyone to buy the food, eat it and bolus for it.

If you take anything away from this post, please understand that you have control. Even if your HBA1C is currently off the chart, you can bring it back. Even if you’re unfit, you can get fit. It’s all about understanding the steps you have already taken and what steps you have to take next.

Finally, I don’t want you to get me wrong in thinking I have perfect diabetes control because I don’t. I have those days of very poor control too, and believe me, there have been times when I have been so busy that it seemed like entering the carbs into my pump was a time consuming task in itself, but I always use these experiences as a learning curve so I can manage better in the future.

You can learn more about managing diabetes in this post here.

Take care

Rowena x

I’d love to connect with you on Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.

My Go To Stretch Routine

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As requested, I thought I would share my go to stretch routine. I do this after any type of workout in order to lengthen my muscles, maintain flexibility, and to ease the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that is bound to make an appearance the next day.

If you want to follow along, I would recommend a short pulse raiser to start. Jogging on the spot for a few minutes should prepare you. Let me know what you think?

Rowena x

I’d love to connect with you on Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.

How To Manage Diabetes as a Dancer

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I’ve been Managing diabetes as a dancer for a few years now so I thought I would share some of the ways that I am able to deal with it as well as I do. I mean, I’m not perfect as it is pretty complex job at times but I have been able to refine certain ways of working with it in order to help keep my blood sugars steady.  Before I get into it, you have to understand that what works for me might not work for you. It is a very big game of trial and error. If you follow me on Instagram you will have noticed that I have to make adjustments fairly often and I often use this social platform as a way to keep track of how certain exercises affect my blood sugar. So, tip number one is to start keeping notes of your blood sugars, what you ate before class and how much your bolus was. You will begin to see trends which will give you something to work with.

Tips for Managing Diabetes and DancePay Attention to Different Teaching Styles and Genres of Dance

If you are already taking dance you may already be aware of the pace of certain classes, but if you’re thinking of going to a new dance class, don’t assume that all classes work the same way. I mean, yes, generally, most contemporary dance classes follow a specific structure but some teachers work much quicker than others and allow much less time for water breaks. Whenever I know I am going to be working with a new teacher or choreographer I always let my blood sugar run a little high before class just in case of a low – a high during a dance class is much easier for me to deal with than a low. Also, just in case there is no one in the class who knows you’re diabetic you should let the teacher know before class starts. I generally dance amongst friends which is why I never warn new teachers. I never tell events co coordinators that I perform at either, but writing this now I will make a note to myself to do so in the future.

Tips for Managing Diabetes and DanceJust Check

Towards the end of a dance class you might feel weak and shaky because of the work load, but if you are unsure of whether it is a hypo or not, just check because the sooner you do that, the sooner your mind is able to focus on the dancing which is the whole reason why you’re there. If you do check and you are low mid class, have some glucose drink or a quick snack and then get back to it as quick as you can. Don’t let it ruin your dancing fun. On average I would say that I check my blood sugar once before class, once during and once straight after. If it is a little low beforehand I usually eat a banana or a granola bar. Same process applies for rehearsals.

Learn About Your Own Training

Hopefully you take some time outside of dance class to practice, if so, this means that you should be monitoring your blood sugar with regards to your own training too. Notice if it differs or shares some similarities to your dance class and mark it down. Usually when I get the blood sugar / insulin combination just right, this means that it’s time to up my game in my own training because my body has become accustomed to what I’m giving it and therefore isn’t as challenging as it could be.

Tips for Managing Diabetes and DancePerformance

When you have a performance coming up you will likely do a little bit more training during the rehearsal period which will allow you to build up some stamina. If you are committed to building up that stamina, what worked when you learned the dance in the beginning, may not work during the lead up to performance because of how your body has adapted to the workload. Also, if you get really nervous about performance you are more likely to respond to the adrenaline rush which can raise your blood sugar. Be wary of this and don’t be scared to take insulin to cover the adrenaline rush. I can’t say how much it would be for you, but I am starting with the bare minimum and it has helped the last couple of times I performed. Similar to the above I check my blood sugar about 5 minutes before going on stage and as soon as possible when I have finished, length of performance times do vary, but checking where possible keeps my mind at ease and allows me to focus.

Food

Timing of food is everything for me. I tend to eat at least every 3 hours, but depending on what I am doing in those three hours will really dictate the amount of carbs I eat and the amount of insulin I take. If I have morning class I will eat a little less for breakfast and then have a piece of fruit right before I enter the classroom if my blood sugar is at a normal level.  However, if for some reason my blood sugar is high, I won’t eat the snack because I know there is room for a drop. Same goes for performances which are mainly afternoon or evening – I will eat a little bit less during the meal before it and then have a snack right before performance.

Tips for Managing Diabetes and DanceDon’t Ever Let Diabetes Stop You

This is more important than anything else. The other day I was in class and I had to stop mid-way through to check my blood sugar, it was a convenient time because the teacher suggested that we work on our own for a few minutes in order to go over the movement. Whilst I was pricking my finger and waiting for the number on my meter to show up I realised that when I stood up I would have to work harder than anyone else in order to catch up. I have this mind set anyway. I am one of the hardest working people in the room and diabetes, rather than letting it slow me down, I use it as fuel to speed me up. I have to pick up and retain movement quicker so I have time to fit in the diabetes thoughts too.

I hope this helps. Please email me if you have any questions because dancing, although it is quite a challenge to manage, it is also a way to help you attain a steady blood sugar and is a way to increase in insulin sensitivity. Similar to other cardiovascular activities.

Rowena x

I’d love to connect with you on Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.

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