Making Diabetes work for you by Dan
- Type 1 Diabetes, it is genetic. Did you expect that you too will be affected like your father and grandfather?
Having Type 1 Diabetes in the family never automatically meant I was going to get it. However, I was aware from around 18 years old, when my father was diagnosed, that there was a greater opportunity of developing the condition. I’m lucky that I was able to see my Father deal with it so well and not let it affect his life dramatically so that when I was diagnosed, I had a good amount of experience to call on as well as a man who could answer all of my initial questions.
- Your life in 2011 as compared to 2016.
I don’t think it could be more different. Apart from my ethics and beliefs, a huge amount has changed. A lot of people see diabetes as a life sentence – an incredible weight on their shoulders but I made the choice very early on to let it benefit my life as much as I could. I’ve developed a huge passion for nutrition and physical training, to understand how my body works and to help people as much as I can. It’s strengthened my both physically and mentally and allowed me to meet and work with some amazing people in and out of diabetes which has been incredibly rewarding. If anything, I’m far happier now than I was in 2011, in so many aspects of my life. Without diabetes, I don’t think I’d be where I am today.
- Diabetes has given you a life purpose. Is this true?
Yes and no. I’ve always had a life purpose. What diabetes has done is given me a great drive to accomplish things that I wouldn’t have considered beforehand. Once you get that ill, nothing really scares you anymore.
- For those who are unaware, diabetes has a honeymoon phase. How was yours?
Great – initially. I basically had diabetes without any of the real complications. I started on insulin for the first two months and eventually was having so many hypo’s that my specialist and I decided to come off it altogether. This was expected to last a couple of weeks but ended up lasting almost 3 years. The difficult period was going back onto insulin which was more a pride thing than anything else. I wanted to prove that diabetics could live without insulin. Obviously a pipe dream but now I see that with or without artificial insulin, I can still achieve all that I want to do.
- Insulin & You. Friends or Foe?
Friends. Definitely. It saves my life daily. It allows me to live a somewhat normal life. I am incredibly grateful for it. Hypos are incredibly tough and those who have never experienced one will never truly understand. Having a positive outlook on any auto-immune condition is essentially. You can’t constantly hate it or be angry by it. It’s not going away, you have to learn to get along.
There are so many people in the world without the access to regular insulin medication, I feel that it would be entirely ungrateful of me to complain about it.
- You’re are a foodie and have Type 1 diabetes. What’s your secret to enjoying good food?
Learn to cook with real ingredients. Find recipes that you love and enjoy them with friends and family.
Having an excellent relationship with food is important. It’s there to enjoy, keep you healthy and to enjoy. Learn to balance the good with the bad – I usually stick with an 80 good 20 bad ratio. Too many people see food as such a negative thing, that it’ll play havoc with their blood sugars or make them overweight. Tracking is crucial here. You need to eat, there’s no getting around it, so it’s all about making it a positive experience.
Food is food and food is awesome.
- Do you ever want to say “I wish I didn’t have Type 1 Diabetes” ?
Sometimes. No-one ever chooses to have an auto-immune condition. However, it’s allowed me to learn the value of my health and develop as a person. It sounds weird, but I think a lot more people would look after themselves better if they really knew how quickly their health can be taken away.
- Fitness is important to you. Five tips from you to novice Type 1 Diabetes Fitness Enthusiasts.
- Find a physical activity you enjoy. This is the most important one. Be it football, cycling, the gym, running, swimming.
- Constantly. Knowing how your body reacts to physical activity and the food you eat before and after allows you to continue to enjoy and experience the benefits.
- Do it with friends. That sense of togetherness is key.
- Increase muscle mass and reduce body fat. Learn the basics – an increase in muscle allows for better insulin sensitivity. Find a good personal trainer who understands diabetes and allow them to help you if you have no experience.
- Take your time. Too many people throw themselves into 6 days a week of exercise and burn out way too quickly. Start slow and build up to what benefits your life. This is a life long journey, taking a couple of months to ease yourself into anything new will only benefit you long term.
- Best recommendations of online resource every diabetes individual should surf or download.
My blog – shameless plug – but I talk about my experiences with diabetes, training, food and nutrition tips as a training nutrition coach. You can find it here: www.thehealthydiabetic.co.uk
Other than that Beyond Type 1 is a fantastic resource and an organisation I do a lot of work with.
- If I can do it, so can you. words of wisdom to young man recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
You are the master of your own diabetes management.
Take your time. It’s going to change your life and there’s no getting away from that but if you educate yourself on leading a healthy lifestyle, track, assess, form good sustainable habits and manage the best you can – you’ll do great.
Twitter & Facebook: @healthytypeone