Archive for May, 2011

Now This Seems Weird to Me

May 13th, 2011

I don’t even know what I was doing when I found this on the American Diabetes Association (ADA) website.  The ADA sells wedding favors?!


(It’s actually a donation I think the bride and groom make to the ADA, and then they put the card on the tables instead of favors to let the guests know about the donation in lieu of favors.)

I’m all for accepting and embracing your diabetes—in fact, I think that’s the only way you can really emotionally survive with the disease, much less thrive—but wedding favors with little ADA logos or what have you seems over the top.

Full disclosure: I have an ADA keychain on my keys that says something about “stopping diabetes” by Living Well, Being Fit, and Having Fun.

But wedding favors seems to me to bring the disease into a realm in which it does not belong. 

Maybe it’s the idea that a wedding raise money for the ADA?  Is the ADA a charity that needs money?  (If they needed money so badly why is all of their promotional material printed in full color?)  Seems like the ADA has a lot of money.  A lot.  At least it looks that way from my perspective!!

I think it is really the idea that EVERYTHING be about diabetes.  I know it’s a bit hypocritical of a blogger who writes about diabetes to say it isn’t all about diabetes… but I really don’t think it is.  Nor do I think it should be!

I think it should be figuring out how to be who YOU are, with AND without diabetes.  If you have brown eyes, you had about as much control over that as you have about your type one diabetes.  So why make everything about your brown eyes?? 

I insist that people ask me how I am before they ask me how my numbers are.  I don’t routinely put my numbers on facebook, I don’t put my numbers in my blog, I don’t put them out there for others to see.  I want and need everyone to see ME, first and foremost, before anything diabetes related.  (I will put up crazy numbers and swings for my friends with diabetes because it’s the simplest and best way to portray a current struggle and garner needed support!)

It’s a choice I made and one I encourage everyone living with diabetes and everyone living with someone else living with diabetes to make as well.

I simply believe that we as individuals are bigger than our disease.  It’s a big ole huge daily pain in the patootie, but that’s kind of my point: even with how big diabetes can be, we are bigger than our diabetes.

Using a day as special as a wedding and as beautiful as a wedding table to promote a donation to the American Diabetes Association doesn’t spread that message in my world. 

Although, to also be fair, I should tell you that the tables at our wedding were named after the decks at camp.

Tiki, one of the decks at Bearskin Meadow Camp

So maybe I am a hypocrite after all!

No.  We MET at camp.  Camp was where we started the whole shebang we were celebrating as we married.

It’s what a wedding is for: celebrating the union of two PEOPLE –not raising money for a national charity.

Surprised by the Ranking of National Weight-Loss Programs

May 12th, 2011

I just read a report that Consumer Reports ranked weight loss programs this year and put Jenny Craig in first place, followed by (can you believe it) Slim Fast in second and Weight Watchers in third place.


(I find it rather amusing that I got all huffy with the article as I read it.  Apparently, I found that Weight Watchers worked for me and am offended that anyone could possibly put it in third place!!!)

It makes sense, of course, that for weight loss, if you eat only what someone else puts in front of you that you will likely lose weight—because you aren’t making choices throughout your day.  Since Jenny Craig is a program with counseling and prepackaged food, there aren’t as many choices as you would face in the grocery store, food court, amusement park, cafeteria, or restaurant.   With the second place winner in the ranking none other than Slim Fast, I’m seeing where the dieters were going with this.

They wanted easy.

And simple.

And fast.

And no thought.

And no work.

Hmm.  Sounds like a lot of “we know we should but it’s just sooo muuuch wooorrrk” things out there.  Like, for example, keeping yourself healthy!

I don’t know where anyone got the idea that staying healthy and fit was supposed to be easy.  I don’t think it was ever supposed to be easy.  Sure, living with diabetes makes a lot of things more complicated than average, but I don’t think anyone has anything easy! 

Maybe the yo-yo diets have a lot to do with the “on a diet/ off a diet” concept, where you eat dramatically differently (or, in the case of Slim-Fast, you drink dramatically differently) when you are “on” than when you are “off.”

The thing is, though: your body needs to always be ON.  It functions best that way!!!  You can’t really have months where you do exercise or watch what you eat, and months where you don’t care.  As it goes with your blood sugars, you know it doesn’t work to your benefit that way!!  You need to keep a closer watch on yourself and your body.

All the time.

In real world scenarios.

So that when you DO need to find something to eat at an amusement park or vending machine, you can make good choices for yourself.  When you have a high you can’t seem to bring down, you know that taking a walk after a meal can help as much as an extra shot of insulin.

It’s all about real world living every day.

How could it be anything else, really, when it comes down to it?

You can do it.  You can make your life work with the body you have.  You can make your body work better for you if you work on it slowly but surely and steadily.

Go for it!

Mix Things Up and Do Something Good For Your Body!

May 11th, 2011

I know I’ve said this before, but it always bears repeating: our bodies are waaaay smarter than we are.  And, our bodies are always looking out for us by responding to a stress by getting stronger.  One of my favorite experts, Jason Karp, Ph. D, said it best when he refers to training as threatening your body’s survival.  In turn, your body does what it needs to do to prevent that threat the next time it comes around.

It’s one of the ways you get stronger and faster!  It’s how lifting a 10 pound weight that used to be incredibly difficult seems easy by comparison when you’re strong enough to lift a 20 pound weight for the same exercise.  And how running a ten minute mile is no longer as difficult once you’ve gotten used to running a nine minute mile.

All of that being said, it’s still critical to mix things up if you want to increase your fitness level and protect your body from injuries that can occur with repetitive stress of unvaried training.  It can be a fine line between not enough and too much!

One of the best ways to keep yourself in tip top shape and free of injury is to MIX THINGS UP when it comes to your exercise routine.  For me, that means doing a lot more than simply running.

I like these ideas from

Take a Dance Class

Replace a day you would normally spend cross training with a Zumba, hip-hop or salsa class. Runners often focus so intensely on forward movement that their quadriceps can become over-developed and as a result, the gluteal and adductor muscles that provide for stability and lateral movement can atrophy. 

These small and often forgotten muscles are necessary to keep the body balanced and to prevent injuries to the IT band, knee and ankle. You can hit the gym and build these muscles by lifting weights, but why not take a dance class that gives you a cardio benefit as well?

Zumba, hip-hop and salsa provide a balanced workout because they require dancers to move in 360 degrees around their bodies. They strengthen all major and minor muscle groups in the legs; provide a core and cardio workout, and the bonus? A dance class once a week helps break up the daunting mental block that training can inflict on the psyche.

Do Speed Work in Spin

Sprints in a high-intensity spin class have the same benefit on fast-twitch muscles as a track workout, but the impact on your joints is far less. Plus, if you aren’t part of a running group, putting together a speed workout can be overwhelming.

If you take a spin class, you get the social benefit of sweating amongst your peers and the added inspiration this brings.

Replace One Day of Strength Training With Pilates

Abdominal muscles are an integral part of running. Not only do they protect your back and keep you stable and upright, your pelvic floor helps lift the two tree trunks below your waste. So the stronger your abs, the easier each step, and the less likely you are to pull a hip flexor.

Another benefit to Pilates is that it lengthens muscles. Repetitive motion like running and standard weight lifting causes muscles to contract and tighten, which can lead to injury.

Pilates provides a balance to this shortening. It also helps bring the body into alignment by using small movements to reverse the bad habits we develop in our everyday lives. Since most injuries occur because one part of our body is compensating for another due to misalignment, Pilates is an important way we can protect ourselves.

Strengthen and Stretch Your Feet

Your feet are the most important body part when it comes to running and the common maladies of Plantar Fasciitis and a pulled IT band often start here. To remain injury-free, your feet must not only be strong, but flexible.

If you don’t live near a beach or lake with sand, and you’re not into the barefoot running shoes, then for ten minutes a day, sit with your bare or socked feet on a towel, repeatedly squeeze and try to pick it up with your toes.

To stretch your feet after this exercise and every run, sit on your heels with your knees on the floor and your toes curled under for as long as you can stand it. This yoga pose (called “Hero’s Pose”), stretches the bottom of your feet and is the single best way to prevent plantar fasciitis.

It will be painful at first, but eventually you’ll be able to get through an entire 30 minute television program.  

Replace One Short Run With a Stair Workout

Running stairs is a great cardio workout and training tool because you’re still running, but the motion is different than if you were on a flat road. It strengthens your core, all of the major and minor muscle groups in your legs, and helps with stability.

What on Earth am I Complaining About?!

May 10th, 2011

I met another one yesterday. 

I called my new health insurance to see what copays would be for Humalog versus Apidra, and the woman I spoke with said my insurance began May 1, 2011 and terminated April 30, 2011 so she couldn’t give me an answer.


So I called a different number for the new insurance and spoke with someone to confirm I really do have coverage.  (I do.)  I told her it mattered because I have type one diabetes so I’ll need to be filling a prescription soon.

She asked me when I was diagnosed.

Now, you probably know that normally, when you’re on the phone with someone or are standing in front of them and you mention you’ve got type one diabetes, “when were you diagnosed” isn’t the first question.

It isn’t the first question unless they know what they’re asking.

It turns out; her son has type one diabetes.  He was diagnosed when he was 18 months old and he’s eight now. 

Oh, and he’s autistic.

As  I’m struggling to process what it must be like to take care of an 18 month old with type one (which, by the way, I still haven’t been able to do even though I’ve been trying for more than a decade), the “autism” part filters in.


She kind of tried to shrug it off and say simply “I’m a lot more patient than most people.”


I mentioned that I blog about what it’s like to live with type one and she sounded interested because, she said, she doesn’t know what it feels like.  She said “he can’t communicate what it’s like with me; when he’s screaming I know he’s low.”

Wow, again.

It brings to mind the one-legged marathoner who kept me from ever feeling badly as I ran behind him for twenty six miles.  He had some struggles in his life, I’m sure. 

It brings to mind those facing a disease for which there is no hope of survival, or that means an existence dictated by hospital beds or morphine. 

I mean, sure, diabetes is difficult, but are you kidding me?!  We can actually DO something about our health in our daily lives and we can have full active intelligent happy amazing lives.  We can even do it without others knowing we count every carb or prick our fingers, if we decide that is the best way for us to get through.  

We with diabetes are so very lucky to be living right now rather than even a few decades ago!! 

I guess I just feel silly sometimes when I’m faced with a bigger reality than my own.

And this is the part for which I will never ever forgive myself: I didn’t wish her a happy mother’s day.

Tips for Dealing with and Preventing Plantar Fasciitis

May 9th, 2011

If you know how to pronounce “plantar fasciitis” you’re probably rolling your eyes or grimacing right now.  (If you can’t pronounce it, that’s okay: most people can’t either say it or spell it.  “Plantar” is phonetic but fasciitis gets confusing with all the “i”s in there: fash—eee—eye—tis.)

Plantar fasciitis is that painful condition in one or both feet that a lot of people have had to deal with at one time or another.  It’s a drag, to say the least.

You may feel it most when you first get out of bed in the morning and put your foot on the ground.  Your heel may hurt like the dickens throughout the day, and may feel worse as you stand or walk or climb stairs.

I’ve known a fair number of people who have given up on most exercise because of their incredibly painful feet.  (You can probably guess how I feel about that!!)


I’m in favor of doing things NOW before you’re in pain to strengthen the muscles and connective tissues in your feet so you can prevent plantar fasciitis from rearing its ugly head.

First of all, the plantar fascia is the strong connective tissue/band (fascia) connecting your toes/ball of your foot to your heel at bottom (plantar surface) of your foot.

As you take steps through the day and during your workouts, your foot naturally collapses inward and flattens out.  If the exercises are new, higher impact than you’re used to, or if your shoes don’t fit correctly or you aren’t wearing shoes at all, the plantar fascia can become overstressed and irritated and stop functioning correctly.

Then your heel will start to hurt.

Like I said, it’s a drag!

To strengthen your plantar fascia before it’s irritated and causing you problems, try these two little tricks when you’re on facebook or watching TV.  Remember, you’re in charge on these and if you’re already experiencing symptoms of an inflamed or irritated plantar fascia, see a podiatrist for medical advice tailored to your body.

  1. Toe Grabbies.  Put a washcloth on the floor and place your bare foot on the ground with your toes on the edge of the washcloth.  Try to move the washcloth under your heel without raising your foot or heel off the ground!
  2. Ball Rollies.  Place either a tennis ball (brave enough thank you very much) or a golf ball (more brave/pain tolerant) under your bare foot on the ground.  Roll it back and forth on any sore spots from at least 30 seconds to one minute at least once per day.  Start with this one sitting down before you try it standing up.  You are in charge of how much weight you put on the ball—you want the ball to be massaging your plantar fascia, not breaking anything, so be careful!

The names for these exercises are simply what I would call them in my own head—something about adding “-ies” to the end of words that signify something requiring effort makes the exercises seem like they require less effort.


No More Sit & Be Fit

May 6th, 2011

Sometimes I’m glad I don’t attend some talks at the fitness conventions I attend.  The report from this one sounds like it would have been rather depressing to hear in person.  This one was given at the ACSM Health and Fitness Summit last month by Len Kravitz, Ph.D., a well-known expert when it comes to the physiology of exercise.  He reported on the new science of sedentary behavior referred to as “Inactivity Physiology.”


Inactivity Physiology isn’t necessarily about what exercise and the lack of exercise does to a body.  It’s about what happens when you SIT for the majority of your waking hours.

We all kind of do that, don’t we?  (Well, most of us do, now that we aren’t responsible for feeding the horses, milking the cows, tending the fields, thatching the roof, or hunting for food.)

Apparently, regular exercise for 30-60 minutes three times a week isn’t enough to fully combat the effects of SITTING for the massive entirety of the remaining time.  Nope; that inactivity causes a dramatic drop in an enzyme (lipoprotein lipase) that regulates blood fats.  In particular, the lipoprotein enzyme captures fat from the blood and uses it as fuel.

Which, in turn, results in higher and higher levels of all the bad stuff: triglycerides, cardiovascular disease, and lower levels of the good (happy!) cholesterol.  All that stuff we as people living with diabetes need to WAGE A WAR against in our bodies. 

Turns out, we’ll need to wage that war STANDING UP instead of SITTING DOWN.  No question.

It makes me want to figure out a way to rig your computer chair to dump you right this minute as you read this so you will spend less time today simply SITTING.

I’d keep typing, but that would encourage you to stay and read.  I’m hoping you GET UP and GET GOING even if it’s for a teeny trip around the office/house/room. 

Go for it!!!  We all need it!

23 Days

May 5th, 2011

Reading the Forecast article about Nat Strand, winner of the Amazing Race and fellow type one, I was irked by the mention that the show producers wouldn’t carry any additional supplies for Nat.  I’m not so sure they SHOULD have, but it bothers me anyway. 

Although, clearly, she and her partner Kat DID win, so no matter what the producers did or did not do to support Nat’s life with diabetes, Nat rocked them allSo there.

But it made me wonder how I would manage all my supplies for a 23 day trek around the world.  First of all, I probably wouldn’t do it.  I’m not that brave when it comes to world travelling, nor am I interested in the frantic competition I think Amazing Race probably feels like… I’m perfectly happy to stick to my own routines, hectic as they may seem (despite me never really travelling more than 50 miles from home).

It turns out, I don’t actually have in my house right now all the supplies I would want to take with me for 23 days.  I don’t have enough vials of insulin, despite the fact I have plenty of insulin.  If I didn’t know where I was going or where I’d end up but I knew I’d be out of touch with my doctor or pharmacy, I’d take a lot extra!!  If I didn’t know I’d be someplace Medtronic and FedEx could reach within 24 hours, I’d take a lot more syringes and some long-acting insulin (turns out I don’t have any of even that in my fridge; shame—or something—on me).

And I’d take about triple the test strips I currently possess.  And an additional meter and a heck of a lot of batteries for all of the assorted gadgets.  (I would estimate I’d check 12-16 times a day… at least, that’s what I do when I’m sick or something is really crazy.)

(I probably wouldn’t bring the blue ruler, though: that was just for those who don’t know what any of this stuff is because they aren’t on pumps.)

Still, if I had only one backpack that needed to carry all of my supplies AND all the low food I’d want, AND a significant supply of food to carry me through the crazy places Amazing Race sends people, I think I’d go ahead and just wear the same outfit for the entire 23 days.

Priorities, people.

What would you bring if you were to prepare for 23 days out in the world??

Tired of Your Own Excuses?

May 4th, 2011

Do you ever listen to yourself and get tired of hearing your own excuses?  I do.  I’m not putting myself on any other level than anyone else on this: I think some days I accomplish perhaps more than some average bears only because I’m scared that my true laziness will someday be revealed!

I do get tired of my excuses though.  I get tired of pondering changes or worse yet knowing what steps to change I should make, having them even in order as to priority, and for some reason not making the changes.  Do you know what I’m talking about?

Not that me being tired of hearing them leads me to stop making the same excuses all the time.  (I told you, I’m just like everyone else when it comes to some things.)  Sometimes I need some time to get riled up enough at my own excuses that I make a change, take a step, and really get moving in the right direction.

So when someone else gets a bee in their bonnet about hearing excuses I have to laugh a little.  Because I understand: life is about choices, and we don’t always agree with the choices others around us have made.  (Stood next to a smoker lately?)  As a trainer, I am sometimes hired by a client who is trying to avoid their own excuses… or, rather, perhaps they want to tell the excuses to someone new.

I also love it when the bee in that bonnet has also been in MY bonnet, and has spurred me to say the same exact things that I’m hearing them say.  It makes me feel like I am doing the right thing with myself.

You can read the blog that I read if you want some additional reading today.  I like how the author moves from a complaint (hearing excuses) to an action plan (create a priority list)—one of my favorite transitions to make!  If you can complain about it, there is someone out there who can help you with an action plan to fix it.

If it is fitness-related, you already know someone you can call who can literally get you moving in the right direction.

If it’s health-related, you may have a team in place already and you can add me to your team for the day-to-day living you are working on.

No more excuses. 

Be The Change You Want To See

May 3rd, 2011

I was happy to be a part of the Diabetic Youth Foundation’s FUNraiser this weekend and I had a great time walking with the families and kids.  Thanks, DYF!

Before we launched on our walk, one boy stood up and started talking about how much camp had changed his family and his (type one) brother’s life for the better.  He made some comment about his brother’s classmates initially thinking diabetes was contagious when his brother was first diagnosed.

We all kind of laughed when he said that… who could be so silly to think diabetes is contagious?!

But I’ve been thinking about it ever since!!  I don’t remember anyone ever asking me if my diabetes was contagious, but I guess I can see how some not in the know can think diabetes is contagious… radio and TV commercials area always mentioning “diabetes” (of course, those are almost 100% of the time directed towards those living with type 2, not type 1 diabetes) only proliferate the staggering amount of mis-information.

That said, I quickly did a google search for “diabetes contagious” and I am really disappointed by what I found!!

I found a lot of replies on general question sites that involved phrases like “is stupidity contagious?!” and “please don’t be so ignorant” and some really sarcastic things I seriously doubt someone would say as a response in real life.  (At least, I hope they wouldn’t!)

Now seeing THAT kind of thing upsets me.

Listen, I’m just as frustrated as the next person living with type one about the misinformation out there about “diabetes” and I feel just as gypped out of a full name that doesn’t have to share the disease name with an older larger sibling taking all of the gloryI’m just as tired of answering the “can’t have sugar” questions and I’d be just as happy to have no one look at me as they ask me again “but you aren’t overweight…?”

But really?  Answering an honest question about either type of diabetes with disdain and mockery?

We can do better than that.

We need to take steps if we want to eliminate the misinformation out there.  Yes, WE need to be the ones to explain what life really is like.  WE need to do it—no one else can.

It comes back to being the change we wish to see in the world—one little step and one little answer at a time.

100% Winner 100% of the Time

May 2nd, 2011

I struggle just like anyone else with the concept of “winning”… I’m competitive enough with others and with myself to put quite a bit of importance on that idea of being at the top or in the front or wearing the gold.

It isn’t one of my better qualities: it gets in my way a lot.

That said; I’ve come to understand this is something I do, and like living with diabetes, it is easier for me to learn to strategize and cope rather than fight every day.

Some ways I’ve come to learn to cope with not being the best/ fastest / smartest / kindest /most popular /prettiest/ funniest/ healthiest/ most graceful at everything I ever do or try:

Re-define what “winning” is.  When it comes to diabetes, this one is a lot like removing judgments from blood glucose readings.  If you can think of a different goal than “finishing first” or “highest score” or “80-120 all the time” (none of which I believe to be possible for the overwhelming majority of us on any kind of consistent long-term basis), and organize your thinking with that new goal in mind, you are well on your way.

Be realistic in your own criticisms.  Sure, we can be fairly hard on ourselves and sometimes that is warranted.  But a lot of the time it only serves to delay our progress by weighing on our psyches.  If you really are trying to improve your time or achieve some similar objective goal, you are going to need to clock your progress and really see how you are objectively doing.  If it isn’t an objective goal, be as honest as possible with yourself and kindly evaluate yourself now versus yourself a year ago, or in whatever time frame is reasonable.  It’s essential that you evaluate your positive AND negative progress, and evaluate both without harsh or hateful words directed inward.

Keep the true end goal in mind all the time.  If you want to accomplish a specific goal like acing a test or losing 20 pounds or what have you, you need to also look beyond that stated goal.  Are you trying to ace the test so that you feel smart?  Are you trying to lose weight to bring down your blood pressure?  If these end goals are the real thing, then it is sometimes easier to achieve those than the stated specific goal. 

If you only got 89% and wanted to get 90% on that test, you could absolutely be a winner because you learned the material and actually were smarter than before, even with missing an answer. 

It’s all relative, and it’s all pretty transitory.  What sticks with us are our feelings about ourselves and our own worth. 

I say 100% winner, 100% of the time.