Exercise: Getting Started with Type 2 Diabetes

Everyone knows that if you live with type 2 diabetes, exercise will be beneficial not only for your blood sugars, but for your overall health and well-being. The tougher issue is to know where, when, and how to get started. Learn more about the risks, benefits, and factors to consider when starting an exercise regimen while living with type 2 diabetes. Please note: always check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.

Benefits

The benefits of exercise for people with type 2 diabetes are well-known. Exercise helps maintain tighter blood sugar control, lowers the risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular complications, improves blood pressure levels, strengthens muscles and bones, and helps to improve quality of sleep and the body’s ability to handle stress. According to the CDC, adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (like walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity (like jogging or dancing) each week.

Factors to Consider

The best type of exercise is the type that you’ll do regularly, so a main factor to consider is finding something that you like doing. If you dislike the gym, don’t force yourself into a habit of going. If you love the outdoors, craft your fitness routine around hiking or a morning walk. If you love music, maybe take up dancing. The options are endless, so find an activity that you’ll enjoy, and you’re more likely to stick with it!

Recommended Types of Exercise

  • Walking
  • Jogging/Running
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Dancing
  • Weight/Strength Training
  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Swimming

Additionally, making a fitness activity a habit is the best way to make sure you do it regularly. Pair a walk while sipping your morning coffee each day, or make a date with a friend each Saturday afternoon for a hike in a local park. Opt to bike to work a few times per week, or go to the grocery store on foot, instead of driving. Creating a habit of exercise is the best way to make sure you stick to a new routine.

Make your fitness routine known by sharing your intentions with family and friends, and get them in on it, too. Having people around who support your new lifestyle will ensure that you keep at it, and they’ll benefit from joining in as well. It is also beneficial to have tech help you out. Read up on the 10 best fitness apps for beginners, and prepare to get hooked on being active, tracking your progress, and meeting measurable goals while getting healthier.

Precautions to Take

If you’re new to exercise, it’s important to ease into it. Start with walking, or simply moving more: take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park farther away from the entrance to the grocery store when you do your weekly shopping. Wear a pedometer or fitness watch to track your steps, and aim to get 10,000 each day.

It’s also important to check in with your doctor or care provider before starting any new exercise routine, to make sure you are healthy enough to begin. Also seek their input and advice on what exercise they recommend for you to get started. You will also want to discuss any potential adjustments to any of your diabetes medications before starting a new routine. Additionally, make sure you have quality shoes for walking and exercising, as healthy foot maintenance is vital for people with diabetes.

Lastly, make sure you’re always prepared for your workout with checking your blood sugar before, during, and afterwards to make sure you’re within your target range, and always carry low snacks and plenty of water with you to make sure you’re staying hydrated and protected from hypoglycemia while exercising.

It’s crucial to set realistic goals for your exercise. Are you looking for more peace of mind? To lose weight? To have a healthier HbA1c? Spend more time outside? Really get a clear focus on what you want to accomplish, and aim your exercise routine around that goal. Remember, start small so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Lastly, make sure you have fun. Exercise is about building healthier habits, getting your heart rate pumping, and enjoying yourself while doing something that’s good for you. If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right! Make sure to enjoy yourself, and you’ll find that a healthy exercise routine builds dividends over time.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Former NFL Player with Type 1 Diabetes Shares His Story

Jake Byrne was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a teen, and he didn’t let his condition stop him from pursuing his dreams of playing professional football. He also wrote a book to inspire others with type 1 diabetes to pursue their dreams. We talked to Jake about his journey and the advice he would give to young people recently diagnosed. 

How old were you when you first became interested in football?

Since I was a little kid. My parents are from Wisconsin, and I grew up watching the Green Bay Packers every Sunday. I first started playing football in the 3rd grade.

When were you diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?

I was diagnosed when I was a sophomore in high school; I was 15 years old.

How did your diagnosis affect the trajectory of your football career at the time?

The largest hurdle to overcome was how to manage a new disease with the physical and mental demands the game of football put on someone’s body.

Did you become discouraged about your future?

Yes, the most noticeable change was the sudden weight loss. I lost around 30 lbs. and had to figure out how to adjust to a completely new lifestyle living with T1D.

What worried you the most, and how did you move forward?

How to manage my blood sugar was my biggest worry. Stabilizing my blood sugar to be able to stay in a healthy range for a 2-3 hr. game or practice was such a challenge. There was just not a lot of information or people I knew that could provide helpful insight on how to manage in such an extreme environment. For the most part, it was trial and error that was my method of finding what worked for me.

What was your most memorable football experience?

I have a couple. I never thought I would make it as far as I did in my football career. I always wanted to make it to the NFL, but I set more short-term goals that seemed realistic at the time. The first was after I finally got in a good rhythm with my diabetes and football and was able to play well enough to earn my first scholarship offer from the University of Arkansas. This eventually led to several other offers, which lead to my decision to attend the University of Wisconsin. The second was my Junior year when we beat Ohio State (who was #1 in the country), which lead us to become Big10 Champions earning us an invitation to play in the rose bowl in Pasadena, CA. The third was when I finally got a shot to play in my first NFL game on Sunday for the Huston Texans.

What was the most challenging aspect for you in regard to playing football with type 1 diabetes?

Keeping my blood sugar in a safe range. Lows were always a struggle.

Tell us a little bit about your book. What prompted you to write it? What was the inspiration and motivation behind it?

The inspiration behind the book started when I first received a letter from a young kid who was struggling to convince his parents to let him play football, triggering the feelings around how lost I was when I was first diagnosed. I was looking for some hope and guidance on how to move forward. From that point, I wanted to find a way to share my story to help others that were going through a difficult time overcoming adversity.

*Editor’s note: Jake’s book, “First and Goal: What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up”, can be purchased on Amazon.

Can you tell us more about how having type 1 diabetes affected your football career experiences and vice versa?

Playing football at a high level is a challenge in itself. Then diabetes adds a level of complexity and discipline on top of that no-one else has to deal with.

Did the training and commitment involved in playing the sport at such a high level translate to more optimal diabetes management?

Absolutely, the amount of physical activity involved in sports like football leaves very little room for error. You can’t take one second off with T1D.

What advice would you give to newly-diagnosed kids and teens who have professional sports aspirations?

Never let diabetes set your limitations. Control your diabetes; don’t let it control you. It all comes down to your willingness to be disciplined in having a proactive approach to their daily routine to match your lifestyle.

Where are you today, and how do you think type 1 diabetes affected your path, overall?

Diabetes taught me very quickly that I had to be very disciplined in everything I do; it ingrained a work ethic and a sense of responsibility that is now part of who I am. That mindset allowed me to chase my dreams to play in the NFL, transition into my career into robotics, and eventually led to an opportunity to work for Locus Robotics as the Director of Customer Success. T1D taught me that through my life that if you work hard and have a thought-out plan, you can accomplish anything you set out to do.

Thank you for taking the time to speak to us, Jake. Your story is sure to be an inspiration to many young athletes with type 1 diabetes. We wish you all the very best in all your future endeavors!

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Are you a competitive athlete with type 1 diabetes? What challenges have you faced and what advice would you give?

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors & Prevention

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, one’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes depend on a combination of environmental, lifestyle and genetic risk factors. Some factors, like physical activity and eating habits, are more in one’s control than factors like family history or ethnicity, but with the right planning and action, people can help reduce their odds, and sometimes completely prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors

  • Being overweight (having a body mass index of 25-29.9) or obese (having a body mass index of 30 or more). You can calculate your body mass index (BMI) here.
  • Being 45 or older
  • Having a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Are African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander
  • Living with high blood pressure
  • Having a low level of HDL cholesterol OR a high level of triglycerides
  • Previously had gestational diabetes OR gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more
  • Not getting regular exercise
  • Having a history of heart disease/stroke

The American Diabetes Association also has a free diabetes risk test that one can take to assess their individual risk.

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

There are some scientifically proven ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, if one is at higher risk for the disease. Mainly, losing weight if one is overweight or obese and becoming more physically active (increasing activity to at least 150 minutes per week) are the most effective ways to prevent or delay the onset of the disease.

The National Diabetes Prevention Program is an evidence-based lifestyle change program, covered by most health plans, that works with patients at risk for type 2 diabetes to prevent or delay the onset of the disease. This program has a hyper focus on everyday habits one can change and adopt to lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, like ways to increase physical activity and helpful tips and advice for healthier eating. Studies have proven the success of the program: participants who achieved weight loss of 5-7% of their body weight reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%.

A 10-year follow-up study, The Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study, showed that participants in the intervention group were still 30% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes a decade later than individuals in the placebo group. Participants who did develop type 2 diabetes delayed the onset of it by about four years.

Other Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

If the National Diabetes Prevention Program isn’t covered by your health plan or a program doesn’t exist in your area, there are three main ways to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes on your own (always consult your doctor before beginning any weight loss plan):

  • If you are overweight or obese, lose 5-7% of your body weight
  • Get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, or aim for 30 minutes most days of the week
  • Eat smaller portions of the foods you love, and replace sugar-sweetened beverages with water

Ask your healthcare provider for additional advice about preventing or delaying the onset of diabetes, including taking or omitting certain medications to mitigate your risk of developing the disease.

Health tip: Replace sugar-sweetened beverages with water. | Photo credit: Adobe Stock

Managing Prediabetes

Prediabetes is when one’s blood glucose is higher than normal, but not high enough to diagnose as diabetes. Prediabetes is a serious condition, because it significantly raises the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. About 1 in 3 Americans has prediabetes, and it can be hard to track and diagnose, because it often doesn’t have any symptoms, and people who have prediabetes usually feel fine. It is crucially important that all people regularly see their primary care providers for routine check-ups, as prediabetes can often be caught in the early stages and managed well when detected early. Prediabetes is often called “borderline diabetes” or “glucose intolerance” or “impaired glucose intolerance”.

One can manage their prediabetes and prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes by losing weight (if needed), becoming more physically active, and following a reduced-calorie diet plan. Consult with your doctor if you think you have prediabetes, and request a glucose test for confirmation and to make a treatment plan. With a little planning and proactive action, you can delay or completely prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Have you recently been diagnosed with prediabetes, and/or have you started a program to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes? What tactics and strategies have been most successful for you? Share this post and comment below; we love hearing from our readers!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Type 1 College Athlete Shares His Success Story

It is refreshing to see so many people living with type one diabetes in the sports world. Billy Fredrick is another great athlete out there representing us on the baseball field. Billy received a full scholarship to UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara), who was ranked 6th in the nation in baseball, despite living with diabetes since he was a child. Billy’s story is one of perseverance, commitment and talent and I thought it would be great to share his journey in the hopes it would inspire children to never quit on their dreams. 

Hi Billy, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. I think many kids who are diagnosed with type 1 think that this may stop them from living their dreams. I thought talking to you would be inspiring and show them that type 1 doesn’t have to stop them from anything they set out to do!

Allison, thank you for having me. I am very happy to talk about living and conquering diabetes. Life with diabetes is no easy task, but we can still accomplish great things.

I understand you were diagnosed at 11 years old with type 1 diabetes. How did you and your family handle the diagnosis?

It wasn’t easy at first. My life changed drastically. I had to begin checking my blood and taking shots of insulin. Moreover, I had to be aware of exercise intensity and carb amount in my diet. This sudden change took some time to get used to.

As the months passed, the new daily routine became habit and reflex. My family and I became more knowledgeable and confident in the process as time progressed.

Photo provided by Billy Fredrick

I have a 10-year-old myself, so I know at that age, some children do like their independence while others still enjoy their parent’s help. Were you hands-on with your diabetes management, or did your parents handle things until you were ready? 

I wasn’t super independent as a kid, so I was happy to hand over the responsibility to my parents. My mom did an incredible amount for me. She would come to school at lunch every day to check my blood and give me shots or work my pump. She would wake up around 2-3 am every morning to check my blood while I slept. She also had a big record book, where she documented all my glucose levels and food intake, in order to discover any important patterns that may help with my management. She was and still is a super mom!

At what age did you start managing your own diabetes and what was the driving factor behind when you decided to take control?

I started being fully dependent when in high school. My family and I felt that I would be able to handle it then. I was committed to it, so it went well. Commitment is an ongoing topic within the diabetes conversation; it is so necessary. I would also handle it at baseball practice as well. My daily schedule was consistent, so I was quickly able to find basal/bolus rates that worked well for me.

How were things socially for you growing up with type one diabetes? Were you vocal about it or did you not talk about it much?

At 11 years old, popularity or coolness is the most important factor at school. At first, I was worried that I might be looked down upon by my peers. However, I was very surprised at how accepted I was within my friend group, and elsewhere. They were kind and understanding towards it.

Here’s the bottom line: I was not a different person; I was still Billy, and my friends knew I was still Billy.

I tried to hide the fact in elementary school, but by the time I was in junior high, I was open to talking about it.

At what age did you start playing baseball? Were you nervous about managing your diabetes while playing? Were your coaches supportive?

I played baseball since I was five, and had developed a passion for it by the time I was diagnosed.

I was never nervous during games. I usually had plenty of time to check my blood in between innings. Baseball also doesn’t require a large amount of exercise, which allowed me to be so stable.

All my coaches were very supportive of me, and gave me the liberty to take breaks when I was low.

Photo provided by Billy Fredrick

Did you then, and do you now, wear a CGM or a pump? What do you find to be your most helpful tool in managing your diabetes during a baseball game?

I never played with a CGM. I didn’t want to wear another thing on my body during the games. I thought it may have been a hassle. Checking my blood a lot was the biggest tool in managing my level during the games. I brought some tablets to the field in my back pocket if I felt I was gonna go low in the outfield. I also brought a variety of food to the game (some high carb, some low carb), this allowed me to refine my blood sugar, and give me energy. Near the end of my college career, managing my diabetes was very easy because I was a seasoned veteran.

I use a Medtronic pump and CGM now. I like them. My control is getting better and better with it.

I understand you hit .333 during the College World Series, where you drove in a game-winning run with a bunt! You must have been stoked! How do the excitement and adrenaline affect your blood sugar during the game?

That is a great question. My blood sugar goes up pretty quickly when there’s a lot of excitement. There were many times during playoffs that year when adrenaline kicked in and spiked my blood sugar. Nervousness is another factor; it brings my blood sugar up also. A key is to remain attentive to your emotions during games.

Generally though, it tends to balance itself out with the exercise, so not much needs to be done on my part.

Did you ever experience burn out or have a difficult time managing your diabetes during baseball that made you want to stop playing? Can you tell us about that time?

I have never been burnt out during baseball. I was so committed to baseball and diabetes, that I was willing to push through any trial.

However, after I stopped playing, I did get burnt out a few times. I thought managing my levels would be easier when not an athlete, I was wrong. It was harder. My routine was less consistent (I only exercised a few times a week). This inconsistency caused my blood sugar to drop during times of exercise, and rise during times of rest. This made it difficult. As a solution, I am making exercise more commonplace. Exercise is incredibly important as a diabetic, and for normal people as well.

What are your favorite go-to snacks for lows?

Blue Gatorade or orange juice are my go-to beverages. Goldfish are also awesome!

Did you know any other people living with diabetes that inspired you to become a baseball player or in any other way?

I am sort of the black sheep of the family. I have no relatives who are diabetic.

It was fun to see baseball players like Jason Johnson and Sam Fuld play in the big leagues.

Your success story is amazing, what are your plans after college? Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years from now?

After getting my degree in Geography at UCSB, I decided to go to my community college to get another bachelor’s degree. (I didn’t really have many majors available to me because I was a busy student-athlete at UCSB.) I am currently working toward my bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering, and would enjoy designing anything from bridges to car parts for my career.

What advice would you tell a child living with type 1 diabetes who wants to play a sport but is reluctant to try due to their condition?

When your blood sugar is good, you are just like a completely normal person, capable of anything. My first recommendation is to work hard toward good blood sugar levels, because that opens the door to opportunity. Secondly, don’t be afraid to try new things.

Something that comes to mind is that no one on the other team knew I was diabetic. I seemed like a regular person to them. That is exactly how diabetics should think of ourselves. When we are committed to good blood sugar, nothing will hold us back.

Billy, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to me today. I am a huge baseball fan (and a baseball mom) so I just love your success story and know it will inspire so many children out there!

Thank you, Allison! I am glad you are a big baseball fan as well, and wish the best of luck to your son in his future baseball career!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Charlie Kimball and His Driving Force to Success

The COVID-19 outbreak presents unique challenges for those of us living with diabetes.  Charlie Kimball, a professional IndyCar driver and father of two and lives with type 1 diabetes. His sport (and job!) is now on hold, and he is home trying to manage his diabetes, eat healthily and stay fit, all the while adjusting to life as a family of four. Charlie and his wife just had a baby in March, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I thought it would be nice to talk to Charlie about how he is managing despite what is going on in the world.

Charlie, congrats on your new baby! And thank you for taking the time to talk to me!

How long have you been living with type 1 diabetes?

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been living with type 1 diabetes for 17 years. At age 22, my diagnosis felt devastating and I stopped racing mid-season, unsure of how I could possibly continue to pursue a career as a professional racecar driver.

Each year on October 16, when I celebrate my “diaversary” (that is, the anniversary of my diabetes diagnosis), I reflect on the support I’ve received from the diabetes community. They, along with my wife, my healthcare team and my IndyCar family, all play a role in how I navigate and manage my diabetes.

Did your diagnosis play into your choice of becoming a professional race car driver?

Although I was actively pursuing a career as a professional racecar driver before my diagnosis, I believe racing with diabetes empowers me to be an even better driver. Physically, I have become even more in tune with my body and more connected with my team since my diagnosis. I’ve also found it really rewarding to represent people living with diabetes as part of the Novo Nordisk Race with Insulin program to reinforce the idea that diabetes doesn’t have to stop you from following your dreams.

Charlie Kimball, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet

What challenges did you face in this profession due to your type 1 diabetes?

At the time of my diagnosis, it was mid-season while I was racing in Europe and I took some time off to figure out blood sugar testing, insulin management, and how to get back on the track. Thanks to my amazing support system, I was back in a race car three months later and claimed a podium finish in my first race back.

When I decided to move back to the US and race in IndyLights (the feeder system to IndyCar), my endocrinologist, Dr. Anne Peters, met and worked with the IndyCar medical staff to create a plan to get me back behind the wheel.

With the recent news of the first person living with diabetes to be certified by the FAA for a First Class Medical, how great does it feel to know you are the first licensed driver in the history of IndyCar racing?

I first raced in go karts at nine years old and I come from a motorsports family. When I was first diagnosed, a friend helped me to put everything into perspective by pointing out that, while I’d need to manage my diabetes for the rest of my life, it was important – and possible – to get back behind the wheel. I’m really proud of my role as the first licensed driver with diabetes in the history of IndyCar racing, and I’ve never shied away from talking about living with type 1 diabetes. Now, I’m glad to see other drivers out there who are also living with diabetes on the track!

I know from my travels that there are incredible people with diabetes doing inspiring things all over the world. It never ceases to amaze me when I see people with diabetes following their dreams -– whether they are making history in their profession or they are simply accomplishing goals that they may not have considered possible, like running a half marathon

Photo credit: Charlie Kimball

When you heard the virus was picking up speed, what were your first thoughts? Fears? How did you prepare for staying at home?

We recently welcomed my son in March, so we were impacted by some of the same considerations new parents are facing during this time. But, when I held my baby boy for the first time, it was hard to think about anything else other than the love I had for my new family of four.

There have been a lot of changes over the last few weeks and while I’d love to be racing right now, this has been a good time to connect with my family, and an opportunity to plan for future races with both my healthcare and race teams.

Even though I am home, I am still committed to staying active, eating healthy and paying close attention to my blood sugar. Also, right now, a crucial part of my management plan, is making sure that I have enough medication at home and keeping track of when I need to reorder. Having a supply of insulin on hand is not a luxury. It’s a necessity, especially at this time. My partners at Novo Nordisk are working very hard to ensure patients still have access to their medicine. If anyone is having problems affording their medicine during this time, please visit NovoCare.com for information on how Novo Nordisk can help

I’m sure racing comes with a lot of stress and adrenaline. How do you recommend people handle unpredictable blood sugars due to the stress during this time?

Yes, you’re right, racing does come with a lot of stress and adrenaline. I manage that through careful planning every race weekend to ensure that my blood sugar remains in range. But everyone has their own stress and we all handle it differently. The everyday realities of work, family, and life inevitably create that, and I encourage everyone to just have a plan in place for all different situations.

As for our current situation, I’ve found that I’m handling it like everyone else, by washing my hands often and practicing social distancing. It’s been important for me to stay in constant contact with my healthcare team, so they can help me to adjust my diabetes management routine appropriately.

I keep a close eye on my continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and that allows me to make small adjustments throughout the day if needed. I also take time to exercise, laugh with my wife and children, and connect with people who matter to me – albeit virtually these days. This all helps reduce that stress.

Charlie Kimball, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet

How do you plan ahead for a race so that your blood sugars won’t get in the way?

I work very closely with my healthcare team on my plan for each race. We track everything from my workouts that week to my meal before I get on the track. Using this data to make a plan comes naturally to me – it’s the same way I approach driving a race car. On the track, my race engineers, strategists, and I utilize around 50-70 sensors that feed into the central brain of my car. They are calibrated so that I can monitor every detail during a race – think g-force, speed, throttle, RPM, tire pressure – and, importantly, my blood sugar levels. My blood sugar levels from my CGM are tracked and displayed on a custom screen that sits on my steering wheel and is relayed back to my team in the pit lane so that we can make adjustments as needed.

With IndyCar racing on hold, what are you doing to stay active and healthy? Both mind and body?

I’ve partnered with my team to develop a modified workout routine while I’m at home. While I’m not racing, it’s still so important for me to stay in shape so I can do my best when I’m back on the track. Beyond staying active, I’m focused on eating nutrient-rich foods, tracking my blood sugar levels, and taking my medication.

Technology has always been an important part of my diabetes management. With it, I’m able to monitor calories, carbs, hydration, and of course, my blood sugar. Lately, while I’m at home, using my CGM has been a helpful way to watch my blood sugar in real time throughout the day. For me, keeping a close eye on my numbers and taking a mindful, disciplined approach to my diabetes management has been the key to my success during this time.

I am also using this time to connect with my family as we adjust to life as a family of four. I’m especially grateful for my wife and mid-morning naps for keeping the Kimball household happy and healthy during this time!

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me, Charlie. Congrats on your success as an IndyCar driver and as well as on becoming a family of four!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

How to Avoid the Quarantine 15

As most Americans approach their second full month of quarantine (with widespread shelter-in-place orders in all but a handful of states), with playgrounds, pools, recreational centers and gyms closed, many may be wondering how they can avoid the dreaded, “quarantine 15” that people have been joking about on the internet lately.

If you’ve been consumed with stress-eating and low step counts are haunting your days, take heart: there are some simple ways to get you back on track (and fitting into jeans again soon). Here are our top tips to stay healthy during this time:

Adhere to a Regular Eating Schedule

If you have kids at home that you’re trying to homeschool, pets that need attention, and competing Zoom schedules with your spouse, nothing feels normal. It’s easy to slowly slide from your regular routine of, “quick workout, small breakfast, shower” to drinking coffee and panic reading the news ‘till noon, and then storming the kitchen once mid-afternoon hits. If you can stay on a regular eating schedule for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, by the time evening (and Netflix) time hits, you won’t be starved for calories and make poor choices.

Don’t Treat Every Day Like a Friday Night

If you’re like me, you eat remarkably healthy during the week, but definitely look forward to your Friday night glass of wine, as well as relaxed eating standards during the weekend (I can never say no to a Saturday ice cream outing). Once shelter-in-place orders hit, I started treating every day like a Friday night: wine and nachos one day, a margarita and pizza the next. This wasn’t good for my blood sugars or waistline. Even though these times are not normal, if you can carve out space for little treats only once in a while to retain some sense of normalcy, you’ll feel a lot better in the long run, and your blood sugars will also thank you.

Get Movement Every Day

Gyms may be closed, but no one has canceled nature. One silver lining of this pandemic is that it’s hitting during the most beautiful time of year. Flowers are blooming, and temperatures are mild and warm. This is the perfect time to take a bike ride, go on more jogs, or take a nightly walk after dinner. There are also plenty of online options for yoga, pilates, or cardio classes on YouTube. Take advantage of time saved from no commute, and cultivate a morning exercise routine instead!

Get Creative in the Kitchen

It might be tempting to get pizza every day or order takeout (and hello, it’s way easier!), but try and take advantage of this time at home by getting creative in the kitchen. Remember that Vitamix you got as a wedding gift that’s collecting dust in the basement? Or that juicer you ordered during a cleanse phase that you’ve never really touched? Try and buy one new vegetable a week and create a brand new recipe around that. Or order a recipe book online and work your way through it with your family. Vegetables like garlic scapes, jicama, watermelon radishes, and fiddlehead ferns are just a few delicious vegetables begging to be tried that you may have never even heard of!

Photo credit: Katee Lue (Unsplash)

Find an Outlet for Your Stress

Often times when we go to snack, we’re not *actually* hungry, but bored, tired, or stressed. Try, for a few days, to respond to hunger cues, eating only when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. This can be hard, because as people with diabetes, we normally eat in response to a high or low blood sugar, and not to our hunger cues, but try it out. Also, supplement your outlet for stress from eating to a healthy activity like meditation, journaling, or gentle yoga. Other outlets for stress can be listening to a podcast, painting, or dancing in your kitchen. Even if you’re not looking to lose weight, your mental health will thank you. This will also become especially helpful when treating lows; if you have an existing outlet for unwanted stress, you’re less likely to over-treat them, and can prevent the blood sugar rollercoaster.

Have you noticed weight gain since the start of COVID-19, or are you healthier than ever? How has quarantine affected your lifestyle? Share this post and comment below; we love hearing from our readers!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Registered Dietitian Shares How to Stay Healthy at Home

The COVID-19 pandemic has left us all in fear, especially for those who are elderly or have pre-existing conditions. Knowing that we fit this demographic adds an extra layer to this difficult time. We’ve all been staying at home and trying our best to keep our minds and body active and healthy. I reached out to my diabuddy, Ben Tzeel, MPH, RD, and CSCCS to get his advice on how to get through this time at home.

Hi Ben, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. I know you are a registered dietitian (RD) and strength coach and you are very active within the diabetes online community and doing your part to advocate, educate and support others dealing with this disease. You spend your time sharing your expertise on nutrition and exercise, even offering one-on-one coaching, helping people living with diabetes achieve better glucose and weight management. Both of these are even more trying during this crisis. I thought it would be nice for our readers to hear a perspective of a type 1 RD on how to remain healthy while at home!

How long have you been living with type 1 diabetes?

Almost 21 years!

Did your diagnosis play into your choice of becoming a registered dietitian and strength coach?

Yes! Absolutely. Growing up, I’d go to the endo every three months as I was supposed to, and as an athlete, I’d have a ton of questions about blood sugar management during practices, games, and more. I played baseball and volleyball and began lifting weights when I was fifteen. Still, no matter who I would talk to – endo, dietitians at the clinic, etc. – no one seemed to have any definitive answers, and it became a “figure it out for yourself” type deal, which got frustrating.  I started to take training more seriously in college, and learned nutrition was the X factor that could level up my training and my diabetes, so I ultimately became an RD.

How has your overall health and blood sugar management been leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic?

For me, it was pretty status quo – I was training as I usually do, five days per week with a combo of strength and interval cardio, and my blood sugars were pretty solid.  Life for me was normal, as it was for most of us.

When you heard the virus was picking up speed, what were your first thoughts? Fears? How did you prepare for staying at home?

I first heard about it in the end of January and didn’t pay it much attention, but once large events started getting canceled, including the Arnold, where I was supposed to meet up with some other members of the T1D tribe, I started to take it a little more seriously.  I actually went to Costco to stock up on food in case there was a lockdown, which for me in Florida didn’t happen for another four weeks. I wouldn’t say I was scared, but I definitely knew it was something serious and contemplated how I would adapt to stay at home life and minimal leaving.

Right now, people want to get in and out of the grocery store quickly. What are your staples foods that help keep you on track with your goals?

Great question. For me, before anything else, I’m planning out my meals ahead of time, so I have a plan going into the grocery store and don’t have to go up or down aisles unnecessarily. I’m thinking of my proteins (chicken, turkey, pork, canned tuna, salmon, cheese, greek yogurt, eggs), my vegetables (greens, peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, and more), and my fiber sources (chickpea or black bean pasta, whole grain bread/tortillas) and making sure each meal has them, and then getting food according to the recipes.

You’ve also got to have snacks that are delicious but won’t throw you off track – NRG bites are a favorite of mine, quest chips, and enlightened ice cream have all come in handy so far.

We are all trying to come up with quick, easy meals. What are some quick go-to ideas that will keep us on track despite this?

I’m the world’s laziest chef, so I love cooking up a ton of meat and veggies in the Instapot and portioning it out for a few days, but by having the protein on hand along with the foods mentioned previously, you can create things super quick. Tacos, burritos, anything Mexican, tends to be a winner for easy and delicious, any type of salad with chicken is a go-to, and I love peanut butter and jelly on the high fiber tortillas.

Things are getting harder for many financially. Do you have any healthy inexpensive snack or meal suggestions?

If you can buy in bulk, go for it, especially for meats and produce – just cook it up and you can freeze it after portioning it out. It saves a lot of money and also, time.

For snacks, you can’t go wrong with something as simple as veggies and hummus, cheese sticks, or even crackers and tuna.

I know a lot of us are stressed…very stressed. How do you suggest people combat emotional eating? 

Stress will wreak absolute havoc on your blood sugars, so lowering it is going to be key to success. To combat emotional eating, try to situate yourself with some sort of barrier between you and the food, like sit in another room.  When snacking, portion it out, put the container away, and consider moving to a room away from the food so you can’t just get up and go grab some more. But also divert your attention to something else that is hopefully more constructive, like going for a walk or reading a book.

Many people thrive on routine, which is really hard to achieve right now. Do you find you have more success with eating right when you stick to a routine and schedule? 

Routine is key right now – keeping things as normal as possible for eating is going to help you feel your best from both an energy and blood sugar standpoint.  Once you start introducing eating at strange times, eating foods you normally wouldn’t, and eating from sheer boredom, that is where things could become a bit more haywire, and once you fall off the tracks, it can spiral out quickly if you don’t stop it.

Many people want to remain active but aren’t sure exactly how. Besides going for long walks, what are some basic exercises people can do at home?

It’s all about bodyweight workouts to start with! Pushups, squats, lunges, planks, v-ups, side lunges, jumping jacks, burpees, and wall sits can all be combined into a circuit that will definitely make you work hard.  If you have some heavy household objects, you can use those like dumbbells to press or row.

What have you been doing to stay in shape? With being as knowledgeable as you are, are you finding it hard to adapt to our new normal while staying focused on your overall health?

It’s definitely been a little strange having not been in a gym in a month, but I’ve remained consistent at home. I’m fortunate to have a kettlebell and a few resistance bands, which is enough for me to maintain a fairly normal training routine, but again, I’m doing a ton of pushups, lunges, and squats, since those are the types of things I’d be doing anyway in the gym.  To me, the biggest key is to just move. I can say that my overall movement has been difficult, since I don’t really leave where I live, but I’ve still been getting to 5000+ steps per day.

I did create an at-home, 4-week workout program for my clients that I’ve been following as well and that has been super helpful to keeping me on track with different types of training.

Right now, a lot of people are struggling mentally. What are your coping strategies to get through this time?

Biggest thing is to focus on what you can control. None of this is an ideal situation, but dwelling on the negative is going to get you nowhere.  Focus on how you can improve, stay on track, get better, and figure out a way to adapt so when this is over, you can look back at this time and say, “Wow, I could’ve squandered that stay at home time, but instead, I feel like I’ve really used it well and gotten ahead, I’ve gotten better.  Shift your mindset’s frame from “Why me? This sucks” to “What can I do today with the opportunities I have?”

Thank you, Ben for taking the time to talk to me and for all you do for our community! It is more important than ever to take care of our mental, emotional and physical well being so we appreciate these tips!

What have you been doing to keep your mind and body active during this time at home? Share and comment below!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

How Physically Active is Your State? New Data From the CDC

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Jimmy McDermott and Ursula Biba

Data from the CDC show that 17% of people in Colorado self-report an inactive lifestyle, up to 48% of people in Puerto Rico

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data on adult physical activity by state, showing rates of physical inactivity across the US.

Physical inactivity was self-reported through telephone interview surveys from 2015-2018, as part of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Respondents were classified as physically inactive if they answered “no” to the following question:

“During the past month, other than your regular job, did you participate in any physical activities or exercises such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking for exercise?”

The data represent the percentage of survey respondents from each state who responded “no” and were therefore categorized as physically inactive.

Map

Image source: diaTribe

  • Colorado, Washington, Utah, Oregon, and DC showed the lowest rates of physical inactivity, between 15% and 20%.
  • States with the highest rates of inactivity (30% and over) included Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
  • Regionally, physical inactivity was the highest in the South at 28%, followed by the Northeast at 26%, the Midwest at 25%, and the West at 21%.
  • Racial and ethnic minorities show disproportionately higher levels of physical inactivity across the country. Frequency of physical inactivity was highest in Hispanics at 32%, followed by non-Hispanic blacks at 30%. Non-Hispanic whites showed a lower rate of 23%. This difference demonstrates inequalities in social determinants of health and the socioeconomic roots of physical inactivity (and subsequently, obesity and other related metabolic conditions).

All maps with physical activity data can be found on the CDC website.

How much should you exercise?

The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans was released in 2018. The guidelines suggest that the biggest health benefits occur when someone shifts from no physical activity to even a small amount of activity. There are many simple ways to get moving:

  • Take a walk after a meal – make it part of your lunch break!
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Do a few squats while brushing your teeth.

While a small increase in activity can make a difference, the guidelines do suggest that people build toward minimum weekly activity recommendations. Each week, adults should get either:

  • 150-300 minutes (about 20-40 minutes per day) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like a brisk walk;
  • 75-150 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise like running or jogging (about 10-20 minutes per day); or,
  • Some combination of moderate- and high-intensity activity.

For adults, experts also strongly recommend lifting weights or other resistance training.

The guidelines find that doing all your exercise for the week in one or two days is no different for your body than spreading exercise out over three or more days. So, how you fit exercise into your lifestyle is entirely up to you.

Looking for ways to include more physical activity in your life?

Check out our articles:

Source: diabetesdaily.com

COVID-19: Apps to Stay Active at Home

Within just a few days, the world as we know it has changed. We are all now understanding the reality of this disease, COVID-19,  and are being forced to social distance and stay home whenever possible. Some of us have taken work to our living rooms, homeschooling our children, making 3 meals a day for an entire family, all while trying not to panic that either you or your loved one falls under the high-risk category.

We mustn’t forget about self-care. It is important for us to be in a good place mentally, emotionally and physically for ourselves and anyone else who may need us. It is also proven that staying active boosts our immune system, which we all need more than ever.

With so many workouts available online, there is no shortage of things to do from your own home or yard. Depending on what you like, here is a variety of ways to stay active while being stuck at home.

Back to the Basics

Calisthenics is probably the most underrated form of exercise. And it is great to do at home since no equipment is required. Also, anything cardio-related will strengthen your heart and your immune system! Try to do a routine of a certain amount of rounds and repetitions of moves like burpees, sit-ups, push-ups, lunges, squats. One of my favorite free apps for calisthenics is Madbarz. This will be sure to get your heart pumping and leave you feeling energized!

Take It Online

It is really wonderful how people are coming together during this time. Many gyms, fitness companies, and coaches are providing their clients and the public with free workouts. Here are a few to check out and this is a great time to try something new!

  • BeachBody – They are offering a two-week trial to new members.
  • Nike Training Club – This app is offering free workouts designed by trainers. It is available on both iOS and Android.
  • Tone It Up – This fitness program for women is offering a free month for new users.
  • Skyting – This yoga television is allowing new members one week free. Perfect time to try a different form of exercise, yes I’m talking to you powerlifters!
  • Barre3 – This full-body workout will help you work on your cardio, build strength and leave you feeling refreshed and empowered. They are offering two weeks free.
  • Comptrain – If you love CrossFit like me, this website is for you! They offer free workouts daily that are challenging and sure to humble us all!

Get Moving

Oftentimes, people think exercise has to be at a gym or running in a park but that is not the case! Doing a good thorough cleaning of your house (which we could all use right now), doing loads of laundry or cleaning out your closet is sure to burn some calories! Track your steps and calories burned on a device like Fitbit.

Dance Party

If you have children who enjoy Tik Tok, Just Dance, and other interactive dance games and apps, this is the time to get onboard! You can bond with your children while getting in a sweat.

No matter what you do to stay active, it is vital for both our bodies and minds. Getting fresh air, vitamin D and keeping our bodies moving is key not only for our physical but our mental health as well. The fact that it boosts our immune systems, too, is a great perk!

What will you do to stay active during these uncertain times? Share and comment below,  let’s all help each other!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Review: Senita Athletics Apparel Designed with Tech in Mind

Whether you wear a pump, CGM or just want your phone close by for emergencies, it is nice to find athletic wear that meets your needs. Senita Athletics makes durable, affordable and functional apparel that will allow you to keep your tech on you during even your most active times. Senita Athletics is designed to make you feel safe and not let diabetes get in the way of whatever it is you are doing.

Who Are They?

Maddie and Jenna have been close friends for many years. Teammates both in high school and Division I University, they were both no stranger to the many different brands and types of athletic wear available. After they both had children and vowed to get back into shape, they couldn’t wrap their heads around the prices of some of these clothing. They sought out to find manufacturers who could create high-quality fabrics at affordable prices. And in 2015, the Senita Athletics brand was born, offering products at a fraction of the price of its competitors.

Senita Athletics
Mesh Crop Top | Photo credit: Senita Athletics

What Do They Offer?

Senita Athletics offers a variety of different products for all types of activities and lifestyles. They carry an assortment of sports bras, tanks and long sleeve/sweatshirt options. They carry different lines as well, so there is a nice selection of pants with differing types of fit and fabric to choose from. Many of their products are designed to hold phones or other devices, which are perfect for people with type one diabetes.

How Much Does It Cost?

Senita Athletics is able to offer its customers affordable pricing by cutting out the middle man, the retail stores. Their products cost significantly less than the big brand names. You can see a good snapshot of their prices on their collections page.

My Review

I am an avid CrossFitter and go five times a week religiously. My workout clothes are put through the test between the vigorous workouts and constant washing so I am always looking for quality products that will last.

I was pleasantly surprised just upon touching the pants that I could tell they had enough spandex to hold me in and wouldn’t be too thin where I would be self-conscious about them being see-through. The best part is the pants come with pockets. They are placed on the outer thigh and through all the burpees, power cleans and back rows, they never once got in the way.

I also got a crop top that says “Fierce”; I just love this top and the message and it will definitely get me in the right mindset for a good sweat session!

Other products to try are the sports bras. These bras have a pocket straight down the back so it is out of sight and out of the way! I highly recommend these and plan on purchasing one before my Spartan Race this spring!

With a family connection to type 1 diabetes, Senita Athletics has kept our needs in mind when inspiring many of their designs. They have a special “Sweet Blue” line that has tops, bottoms and a very inspirational tank to help lift us up. Their Sweet Blue leggings have dots on it, which represent each time a person has to test their blood glucose. I am happy we have Senita Athletics apparel and more importantly, their support!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

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