Diabetic Fitness,  Diabetic Life

Type 1 Diabetic Athletes: Living An Empowered And Passionate Life

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Inside: Learn the mindset of Type 1 Diabetic Athletes that allows us to be empowered by our situation rather than give power to our situation.

I have always been an athlete but I have only been a Type 1 Diabetic Athlete for 12 years.  As I kid I played basketball and field hockey and in college I joined the track team.  Oh, how I miss the days of eating half a Papa John’s pizza on the bus ride home after a meet.  I never spared a thought for the number of carbohydrates I consumed.

Half a pizza really needs to be added to the post with my list of What To Eat On A Day Without Diabetes.  

Today, I love to be the only girl in the weight room most mornings.  I also have a weekly rotation of swimming, biking and running workouts.  (I’m often asked if I do triathlons.  I like to do all the pieces, just not all together, but maybe someday.)

Why I Choose To Workout

While being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes has changed some of the ways I workout it has not changed why I workout.  I work out because I love it and I am not about to let diabetes take that joy away from me.

girl running down a foggy, tree lined street

It would be so easy to see diagnosis as a giant flashing stop sign and decide that I could go no further, that I was sick and weak.  Instead I chose to draw strength and inspiration from those around me and I found a way to keep going and get stronger.

Part of being diabetic is finger sticks, site changes, insulin costs, high blood sugars and low blood sugars.  The other part of this condition is your mindset and your definition of typical.  The people that surround me play such huge part in crafting this definition.

Starting Positive

Over the 12 years of living with this condition I have focused my energy on maintaining a positive attitude.  This is honestly due to the fact that my family stayed positive and realistic from the first day I was diagnosed.  We focused all our energy on learning new ways to do things and gave little attention to things that I could not do.

After being diagnosed, I had to be patient as I went back to working out.  There was a lot of trial and error.  There was a new, constant focus on safety and being prepared.  I had to accept that I could no longer just step out the door and go for a run without packing my snacks, tester, and phone.

FREE Download – Sweet Basal’s Runner and Biker Checklist: Avoid extra worry and ensure you are prepared with this great resource.
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As I talked about in my previous post, (Diabetic Running: Running With a Pack of Hungry Toddlers) the frustrations came and went, but over time, I found that I could still do the things I loved.  I had to pack more snacks, but I could still get them done.

Fig Bar and Fruit Snacks to take on a run
In My Running Belt: Fig Bars and Fruit Snacks

Type 1 Diabetic Athletes

Type 1  Diabetic Athletes may not be easy to spot to the untrained eye but we are everywhere.  You can find Type 1’s climbing mountains, running marathons, rocking the roller derby, and playing football.

I recently reached out to an online Type 1 Athletes group.  I asked for pictures of them doing the things they love.  As you can see from the pictures in this post, there is some serious physical strength in this group.  What you can’t see is the insane level of mental toughness and passion they each posses.

Behind each of these amazing pictures are months of trial and error.  For each day when everything worked like clockwork there were likely five days when they saw their blood sugars rise or fall without warning or reason.

There were likely many workouts that went unfinished thanks to low blood sugars and meals that were specifically timed around workouts. Blood sugar tests were taken on the fly, and more continuous mental math was completed each day than in a college calculus class.

You can’t see the snacks, meters, continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps, glucose tablets, and extra supplies each of these people have stashed in case the need arises.  The hassles and inconvenience of being safe and prepared never creating an excuse for why they should stop.

You can see the smile, pride and passion on each one of their faces knowing that they tackled not just the mountain, marathon, or opponent, but they tackled their situation, and they most certainly did not back down.

Each one of these accomplishments came with a choice.

Keep trying or give up.

Share Your Strength.  Post your pics in the comments and click the links on the left to SHARE this post.

Craft Your Own Mindset

The Type 1 athletic community is a constant reminder that I can let my diabetes control me or I can choose to be empowered by my diabetes.  Surrounding myself with people who share my goals, drive and passion has crafted my mindset.

In my mindset I am not sick, weak, or looking for an excuse.  My mindset tells me I am crazy strong, mentally and physically.  It tells me that I am capable of far more than I realize and that it is that it is ok to feel pride when I push myself harder than I thought possible.

Regardless of what hurdle life has tossed in your path, your ability to stay focused on what YOU want out of life is largely due to the mindset you choose to inhabit.  Choosing to be surrounded by negative influences that look for excuses and breed doubt can only result in pulling you away from your goals.

Meanwhile, choosing to be surrounded by people who share your same goals and demonstrate consistent positive effort can help to train your brain and allow you to create a reality where success is seen as typical.

   group of people holding hands and jumping together

Choose To Be Empowered

Diabetes is a condition that needs to be monitored and treated every minute of every day.  Days are full of educated guesses and unexpected reactions.  There is no day off and we never fully stop thinking about diabetes.  It plays a role in every aspect of our life.  We go to bed knowing that we have to do it all over again in the morning.  Living with diabetes requires we show up every single day.

If we want to live, there is no choice.

How to live is a choice.

Type 1 Diabetic author with insulin pump after a workout

I am a Type 1 Diabetic Athlete and I am stronger because of it.  The people in this post inspire me and help to craft my “typical”.  Type 1 Diabetic Athletes are living examples of being empowered by your situation rather than giving power to your situation.

Share Your Strength!!  Are you or someone you love a Type 1 Athlete?  Post a pic in the comment and share your strength with our community!  Please SHARE this strength with others.  Click the social buttons to the left SHARING and like Sweet Basal on Facebook and Pinterest.

FREE Download – Sweet Basal’s Runner and Biker Checklist: Avoid extra worry and ensure you are prepared with this great resource.  Have a great run/ride!!!
[email-download-link namefield=”YES” id=”2″]

Favorite Running Belt

Here’s a recommendation for my diabetic running buddies and those who downloaded the Running and Biking Checklist link above.  This is I my favorite running belt.  The Spi-Belt stays put and the pouch is super stretchy making it easy to hold a lot of supplies.  It is easy to access while running so you can test your sugars while running, a talent we have perfected.  Choose from a wide variety of colors and easily machine wash when needed.

Special Photo Thanks To:

Ginny Shovick, Chris Matthews, Nick Espinosa, Zach Rosen, Lyndsey Gregerson and Alicia Dahl

Check out this video of Ginny Shovick (the mountain climber in this post) talking about why she runs.

Diabetic Mama of Twins fueled by my family, working out, eating, dog walking, getting lost in the woods and insulin. Writing to share the journey this Type 1 diagnosis has taken me on since 2007.

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