It’s Not Always About Diabetes


It's Not Always About DiabetesAfter a really physical day I am feeling good. I have just sat down with a cup of camomile tea after a lovely hot bath that has soothed my muscles. My macronutrients have been met and, hunger wise, I am feeling satisfied. Also, because of my new kitchen scales, I was able to measure my porridge oats properly and could therefore give myself the correct bolus for it. (This is a big deal to me as it’s my favourite, especially when it’s mixed with chocolate whey protein). Anyway, after day of dancing, walking, basal changes, modified boluses and pump on and offs my blood sugars have been fairly good. My most recent one, before dinner, was 5.7mmol.

Start of the day is as follows; shower, breakfast and preparation of food. I always prepare my food if I have a busy day of classes because it helps me with my bolus / macro calculations. I then go on to do a quick 30 minute power walk to the farmers market where I picked up some 100% pure organic peanut butter. Amazing source of fat! Next, I had a 60 minute contemporary dance class where I took my pump off and ended up a little higher than expected. Grr! Must continue day so I reattach pump, quick food and correction bolus, lunch and on way to the next class which was yoga. As it is only suggested to keep pump off for an hour a day, I abide by these guidelines and keep my pump on for yoga. Now, normally I think I would be a bit paranoid about people looking at my pump but in yoga I am not bothered. I am good at yoga so I think it’s best to assume something nicer. Let’s assume that people are looking at me because they can see how patient I am to be able to build up to the level of strength and flexibility I show. Actually, this is a very good way of looking at it because a lady who was looking at me during class came up to me when it had finished and she asked me if I was a dancer and she told me that she was impressed by me. Well, that made my day. It goes to show that it’s not always about diabetes, is it? Sometimes I look at people and hopefully they think positively about it too. I wonder what makes them really happy, like what is this person insanely passionate about? Maybe I should ask them? Would you answer if I asked you?

Off track again, are you noticing a trend here? Sometimes my mind jumps off to other places, but if you keep reading my blogs, I promise you will get used to it and maybe learn to like it.

To sum up my exercise and stuff, I have done 60 minute yoga, 60 minute intense dance class and about 3 hours walking. All that with no hypos! I timed every one of my meals so that I would use less insulin in order to avoid hypos. I can’t cope with them during busy exercise days. MY TDD today is currently 7.43units of Humalog and is set on 0.1 basal overnight.

The plan tomorrow is to wake up early, do a fasted workout and then eat a nice breakfast and clean the house ready for some family to visit. What are your exercise plans? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me on twitter or Instagram

Pole Dance and Blood Glucose


Pole PictureYesterday was an interesting day for my blood sugars. I woke up at 7.3 so I took a 0.35 bolus in the hopes that it might decrease that number during my workout and before breakfast. I then went on to do fasted (before food) 30 minute circuit training session and when I tested again I was 8.4. So, 8.4 was my starting point and for the next 3 tests I was higher each time. 3 correction doses had failed so I was forced to check my site and change it. It was full of blood so I doubt I was getting the right amount of insulin through it. I guess I must’ve hit it during my workout.

Anyway, since I was a bit higher than I would like for most of the morning, when I finally did get back to the 5mmols mark I felt as though I was having a hypo. Does that happen to you? When I have been running a bit higher I feel hypo symptoms really easily. I suppose it’s not the worst thing that could happen but I really hate the shaky feeling.

Later on, when I was finally back down to a healthy 5.7mmols and I was ready to go to pole class. I took my pump off knowing that the class usually lasts for an hour and that is normally fine. However, the class went on for an extra half an hour and when I got home I tested before dinner and I was 8.9. From experience I know that pole training raises my levels so I should keep my pump off for no longer than an hour. I have considered having a small bolus before class, but the class varies from week to week and I don’t want to go low as it all depends on how the class is paced. Am I doing tricks? Is it more cardio based with dance routines? These are questions I don’t know the answers to until I am actually in the class and taking part. Yesterday’s class was a crash mat day which means I was learning new and challenging moves. The adrenaline kicks in because it’s scary and it then raises my blood glucose. I had no insulin on board and no basal to tackle this.

I think, for now, the safest and best thing I can do is to make sure I am at a healthy level before the class starts so if I do go higher it won’t be that hard to get it back down. I trained hard last night and as a result of this I am feeling moderately sore and bruised today. Same thing tonight, yeah?

Have you tried pole dance before? It’s a really great exercise for strength training and it is loads of fun.

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Avoiding Hypos When Training


Avoiding Hypos When TrainingToday, it dawned on me that in September, when I go back to uni, I will be going straight back into 20+ hours training a week. At the moment I would say I average about 13 hours of training that combines power walking, weight lifting, running, cycling, dance, yoga, pole dance and circuit training. I am really good at managing my blood sugars to what I eat and to how I train. I rarely have a bad hypo (for me, I consider bad to be anything lower than 3.5) and I believe this is down to not stopping any of my training when I was first diagnosed, regardless of hypos. When I was first put on insulin, it took about a week for my blood sugar to come down from 30+ to the normal range of 4 – 7mmols. After the first week on insulin was over, I began to experience hypoglycaemia on a regular basis and I had to figure out a way to stop that as soon as possible.

A typical day at uni would include cycling 5k to uni, 90 minute dance class, quick break, taking another 90 minute dance class, 60 minute dance rehearsal and then cycle home again. As you can imagine, it was a nightmare to look at basal / bolus doses and the food I was eating. As I was new to diabetes and didn’t know a whole lot I did as I was told by the dietician and I took lots of snack with me to eat when I felt low. I was packing cereal bars, bananas and lucozade and would usually have to eat them to treat hypos. After a week of these “extra snacks” I felt like crap and decided I didn’t want to eat these extra carbs and calories because I didn’t need them before I was diabetic so why would I have them now? How would I prevent weight gain if I was eating more? Could I exercise more to burn them off or would that create another hypo?

So what now? How do I manage it now? Well, after 4 months of managing type 1 diabetes around a hectic activity schedule I have found something that is working for me. At the moment I have a semi strict allowance for my calorie intake. Instead of just looking at the overall calorie intake at the end of the day I look at what makes up those calories in terms of my macronutrients. To make up a calorie you need fat, protein and carbohydrate. I will just talk about the carbs for now. My current macro split allows me to eat around 130 carbs per day. I have these in meals and snacks and usually tailor the snacks around my exercise. For example, if I test before I exercise and I am lower than 7 with insulin on board I will eat 20grams of carbs with no bolus. However, if I was higher than 7 with no insulin on board and I really felt I needed the snack I would have to calculate a bolus for it and half the dose. I hope this isn’t too confusing?

Anyway, the point I am trying to get across is that you can manage any exercise if you really want to. The preparation is takes for a dance class is very different to my approach to circuit training. The time of day I train is also a factor. Like, for a fasted morning workout I have to take a small bolus otherwise I go higher and for an afternoon run I would have to lower the basal rate etc. I’m a bit geeky with fitness so I am currently working on a table that will demonstrate how certain exercises affect my blood glucose. If I do a dance class with a new teacher I would not approach this in the exact same way as I do with another teacher who I am already familiar with. It’s all about trial and error and testing.

Oh, one more thing I have to share that is pretty crucial to managing my carb intake. As hypos have to be treated if they occur, I have a window of 15grams of carbs right up until the point I do my last test. This means I don’t calculate them into my meals or snacks. Example, even though I’m supposed to have 130 carbs for the day, my total carb count usually equals to roughly 115 therefor if I need to eat it for a hypo I can but still sticking to my macros. I would rather be a little under than above. I also choose something that is pretty much carb based with very low fat so it doesn’t affect my split.

Please feel free to ask me any questions regarding this post. I think I have confused myself haha.

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Diets, Carbs and Type 1


Diet, Carbs and Type 1.August, for me, is going to be a fun month of training and diet tweaks. It’s all an experimental process and a interesting one at that. For the past two weeks I have reduced my calorie intake to around 1,600. More if I have a heavy workout. At the moment, after only two weeks (and a couple of cheat meals), I feel much stronger and a lot more comfortable in my own body. An added bonus is that my blood sugars have been great. Not often higher than 8 or below 4mmol. Plus, my TDD of insulin is pretty much the same. The diet has allowed me to have a clearer prediction of how my body will react to certain foods.

When I was first diagnosed, I learned that a lot of diabetics, type 1 and 2, followed low carb diets because it was easier for them. I thought that I would have to do the same and I was upset, not because I thought I couldn’t eat carbohydrates, but because I thought I was have to deprive my body of an excellent source of energy. So, as the months have gone by I have still been eating good carbs, and it turns out I am fine(providing I take insulin) and I am glad I ignored all of this low carb business and stuck to what the doctor told me. For me, I just don’t think it is a realistic lifestyle change. Plus, high fat makes me feel horrible and as a vegetarian; it is hard to find low carb sources of protein. The motto I’m sticking to is “Do your homework on the food you’re going to eat and you use your carb to insulin ratio you will be fine.”

Another thing I have cut from diet is alcohol, not because it’s poison and causes me major hangover issues, but because I can’t control myself around food when I’m drunk. I literally don’t have the willpower to say no to food when I’ve been drinking. When I did drink, carb counting was not an issue as I only really drank vodka / soda and that contains no carbs. It does, however, conatain calories from alcohol and I would much prefer to eat my daily calorie goal rather than drink them.

The idea of this little experiment is for me to lose a few lbs before my holiday, whilst looking at my macro split and learning my about my bodily response to it. Currently, my macro split is at 35% protein, 35% carbs and 30% fat. Fat is lower than the others because after having tried eating a higher fat, lower carb diet, as mentioned earlier I didn’t feel good doing it. Also, 1 gram of fat costs more calories than the others therefore you would have to eat a lot less on a higher fat diet. For example, 1 gram of protein = 4 kcals, 1 gram of carbohydrate is 4 kcals and 1 gram of fat is 9 kcals.

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Irritated When Hyper


Irritated When HyperSeen as I wanted to write a post about being hyper, I might as well write it while I’m in double figures. My head is banging, I feel very uncomfortable in my own skin and I am very irritated and snappy. Oh, and thirsty! I’m definitely coming towards the end of my honeymoon period now. I’m never high during the day, especially not from a sandwich. Maybe my site isn’t attached properly? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I should check? I’m not sure who I’m directing this post at or if I am actually going to post it. Although I suppose it’s taking my mind off of this woeful feeling of having a vice squashing my brain.

Anyway, enough complaining now because it makes me sound like a mad woman. I don’t get what I have just written. Did I write it? I’m confused. See, high blood sugar is no good for concentration. Rambling again… I think the culprit of this hyper is from the sandwich I had a lunch time and the fact that I was sat down for most of the day(very unusual for me). Ahh, that’s it. It’s the sitting down. I’m very good at controlling my blood sugars when I am active. However, when it comes to sedentary days I go high. I better play with my ratios.

I hope I haven’t frightened you off from reading my blog. I also hope that if you have ever experienced a hyper you can relate to a couple of things I have said. Even if it doesn’t make any sense.

How do you feel when you are hyper?

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.