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What Have You Learned About Diabetes Since Diagnosis?


What Have You Learned About Diabetes Since Diagnosis?Diabetes is a tough one to crack. I barely had a clue about it until I was diagnosed, but I am 4 months in and now I know a lot. Here are some examples.

Type 1 diabetics can safely eat chocolate and whatever else they like (providing they have enough insulin)… I always knew diabetes was something to do with insulin and sugar intake. I thought they just had to be careful around sweets and not eat too many, just like non diabetics should not eat too many. Now that I am diabetic and an occasional chocolate eater I know that I have to bolus for it. For example, a bar of dairy milk=25 carbs=1.25 bolus for me (with my carb to unit ratio). Not much difference from the bolus you would do for a 20 carb banana.

Diabetes is much more serious than I ever imagined. When I was doing my life guard training and my fitness qualifications, I was required to do first aid training. I learned about hypoglycaemia where u would offer something sweet and hyperglycaemia you would offer water and insulin. That was it. They don’t tell you what will happen if it goes untreated – Coma, diabetic ketoacidosis. You get my drift.

Type 1 diabetes is very different from type two. They are two separate diseases. End of!! It frustrates me when people say “can you eat that”, “did you eat too much sugar”?? Er, no!! Calm down.

It is a 24/7 job. I won’t say it’s a constant battle because that makes it seem like it can’t be managed. However, I know that this condition needs a lot of attention and patience. Before you eat, you have to have the patience to test and work out your carbs when you’re hungry. When you’re in the middle of something, anything, if you have symptoms of a hypo or hyper you must stop what you’re doing and treat it.

There are hidden carbs everywhere. One day, I had been to dance class, the gym and for coffee so I was expecting a great reading in the normal range of 4-7. I was about to eat dinner so I tested my blood glucose and I was very shocked to learn that it was in double figures. I was scratching my head until I realised that it was that skinny latte that I had in Starbucks. No sugar, cake or anything else just the skinny latte. I found out that there was something like 25 carbs in that drink alone. I think I’ll stick to my usual Americano next time.

Last but not least. Diabetics can be as fit or a successful as anyone else. Yes, it might be inconvenient sometimes and yes it might make me feel like my head is going to explode, but I have not let this set me back in any of my training. And, if anything, I feel stronger. Nothing is too dangerous as long as I look after myself and monitor my levels.

I have obviously learned a lot more than what is written here. These things just popped out to me now. Do you educate people about type 1 or type 2 diabetes? What have you learned since your diagnosis? I feel like I learn more and more on a daily basis and will continue to do so forever.

Do You Need a Motivator?


Do You Need a Motivator?Sometimes motivation is hard to come by because of excuses, low or high blood sugars, tiredness and general laziness. I find that when I am lacking in motivation I need something to pull me back and a motivational quote usually does the trick. So here are my top motivational quotes. Pick out your best one and put it somewhere you can see it. Maybe on the fridge or the screensaver of your phone, you could even set a reminder to flash the quote up on your screen. It will work if you choose one that is closest to your set goals.

Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now.
Give yourself a bit of time and ask yourself this “is that cake going to satisfy me more than fitting into that dress” I think not.

The stronger you are the better you feel.
It’s true.

It’s not about having time, It’s about making time.
You can always make the time for exercise. Lunch breaks, taking the kids to the park, gardening, house work, the list goes on…

It took more than one day to put it on; it will take more than one day to take off.
How long did it take before you had noticed you had put weight on? Think about this when you’re taking it off. Don’t overanalyse because this can create a lack of motivation.

No matter how slow you go you are still ahead of the people on the couch.
You might go for a jog and you are feeling tired after one minute, who cares, you’re still doing one minute more than you did before.

If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you.
You shouldn’t stay in your comfort zone if you want to see results.

Instead of giving myself reasons why I can’t, I give myself reasons why I can.
Write a list of reasons why you can’t and why you can. You’ll know why this quote is good.

The hardest step for a runner is the first step out of the front door.
It really is. Once you push yourself past the excuses you are ready to take on anything.

You might regret skipping a workout, but you’ll never regret taking part.
When was the last time you felt bad after a workout?

When you feel like quitting think about why you started.
I find that it’s good to make a list of reasons why I started a challenge to make sure I finish it.

You’re only one workout away from a good mood.
I saved the best till last. This is my absolute favourite. Exercise is my therapy and it could be yours too, if you let it.

Let me know if you have any really motivating quotes that you refer to when you’re feeling less motivated than usual.

Three Types of Stretching


Three Types of StretchingI want to share the basics of three types of stretching with you because of the positive impact it has on blood sugar levels. If you are new to stretching, please keep an eye on your blood sugars for the first few sessions as it can be more challenging that you would think. However, before you begin, learn a little bit about it so you are not just stretching for the sake of it.

There are positives behind the three types of stretching. But, tet’s start with why we stretch after exercise, and sometimes before. To put this as simple as possible; when you lift weight, use resistance or even just carry your own body weight your muscles become accustomed to a certain action and the muscle begins to shorten. We stretch to do the opposite; to lengthen the muscle.

There are 3 main types of stretching.

Static Stretching
This is the most popular form of stretching; you have most likely used static stretching during a P.E. session at school or even before a short jog. Static stretching involves taking a muscle to the end of its range of movement and holding it in this position. Example: standing quadriceps stretch. This is safe for beginners. A pre warm up stretch will last 8-10seconds and a cool down stretch will last 15-30 seconds.

Three Types of StretchingDynamic Stretching
This discipline allows you to strengthen and stretch during the same action. Example: a dancer would do front kicks; this would stretch the hamstrings whilst strengthening their quadriceps. The use of dynamic stretching is often used as part of a warm up in an aerobics class.

Ballistic Stretching
I would not recommend this to beginners. Ballistic stretching uses bounces and forceful movements to stretch a muscle. This will take the muscle beyond its natural range of motion. It stimulates the stretch reflex allowing you to go that bit further than you would with any other stretch. Ballistic stretching is used in martial arts, gymnastics and karate.

There are lots of arguments that are either for and against each type of stretching so if I were you I would try them all and see what works best for your body. I use a mixture of them all during my stretching routines and I always have done.

Try these three types of stretching and let me know your favourite in the comments below or your can tweet, instagram or facebook.

Rowena x

My Diabetic Honeymoon


My Diabetic HoneymoonI think it’s time for me to accept that my diabetic honeymoon period is coming to an end.

Having been put on an insulin pump 2 weeks after diagnosis I felt that I was managing my diabetes really well until last week where I was experiencing a few more hypos than usual. The lowest was 2.6 and I felt vile. So, in order to prevent these lows it was suggested that I remove my pump as I was only taking 2 units per day (basal/bolus combined) anyway.

Four days without having to carry the pump was great. I had no readings above 9 and no ketones above 0.3. However, on the last day without it I ate some more carbs than usual and this sent my meter into double figures and rising. In response to this I immediately chose a site, put a cannula in and administered a correction dose. It didn’t do the trick at first so I had to do the same again in the morning.

The headaches and dry mouth are enough to tell me that I am high I don’t even need to check. I have been feeling like this the past few days as the basal rate (0.1) and insulin/carbs (1/15) ratio doesn’t seem to fit well with me anymore as I am seeing unusual highs. I think they may both need increasing? I have emailed my diabetes nurse so we’ll see what she says.

Anyway, honeymoon period or no honeymoon period I have been keeping up with my training. Lots of dance, yoga, running, circuit training, painting, walking, pole dancing and generally moving about. I plan to write a different blog post for all of the above and show a few pics of my skills.

I would love to hear about your honeymoon period. How long did it last? Did you still need to take your insulin? Were you sad when it ended? You can talk to me in the comments below or on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Type 1 and Active


Type 1 and ActiveWho fancies reading about my addiction to exercise? I love anything that keeps me active and fit. That’s the way I have been as far back as I can remember. For me, managing exercise has always been fairly effortless as I have a genuine enthusiasm for it. However, 3 months ago I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Not the best news, I know, but rather than seeing it as a burden, I believe this has given me an extra challenge towards my training. There is no way in this world that this condition will stop me from doing anything active and I hope that it won’t ever stop anyone else. Since diagnosis I have been able to perform (contemporary dance), dance, pole dance, run, cycle, swim, yoga, golf etc. I do everything I normally do and I plan to keep it that way.

My fascination has grown in response to the physiology of the body and how it all works when you exercise. I always thought of exercise to be a release, an improvement tool, a calorie burner and a strength builder. Now I know that a lot of other things are mixed into the equation, especially when combining it with insulin doses. When I calculating my meal time insulin I have to consider how active I will be whilst the bolus is active. For example, if I eat 40 carbs for breakfast and I know I will be still for a few hours afterwards I will take 1unit:15carbs. However, if I know I am going to be very active straight after the breakfast of 40 carbs I will half my dose thus having 1unit:30carbs. I might even have to keep a snack handy (10-15grams of CHO to be exact). I have learned that I am very sensitive to insulin around exercise. It’s as if I am diabetes free, if only.

This blog is for me to ramble on about my experiments and my achievements. I love setting goals for myself and doing anything that I can in order to reach them. At the moment I have upped my weight training and kept my cardio at the same level. In terms of diet I am planning to look into my macronutrients in order to reduce body fat and gain lean muscle. As a vegetarian I am looking to find good sources of protein that are not too high in carbohydrate. So, if you fancy reading about a vegetarian, type 1 diabetic dancer who never sits down then I suggest you follow  me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.