Category Archives: Fitness

No D Day.

Today is No D Day.  A day set aside each year for the d*&$%#@!* online community to take time off from speaking of, blogging, tweeting or Facebooking about d*&$%#@!*.  I’m all for it so thanks G for coming up with the idea!  What I’m going to focus on today is the things I love 🙂

Number one, my husband.  I am reminded daily (yes even when I am cleaning up after him constantly) of how blessed I am to have a husband that treats me with respect, consideration, love and affection.  We will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary next year and I honestly love him more now than I did then.  He is the most mild mannered, patient person I think I have ever known.  He always seems to try and motivate me to do things when I am lacking.  (see: all the time)  His heart is as big as the world and I know I can count on him for anything.  We share something very special and for that I am eternally grateful.

Number two, my sister.  Being an identical twin, you share a special bond with your sibling that is scientifically proven to begin in the womb.  Although I see my sister nowhere near as much as I would like, we communicate frequently each day via phone calls, texts, emails, etc.  We have never had a serious fight.  Ever.  And with us being so close, I feel as if my niece and nephew are a special part of me as well.  And with a new baby on the way, I couldn’t be more excited.  Probably more than she is 😉

Number three, food.  I admit it.  I love food.  Of all different varieties.  My newest crazes are Pumpkin coffee and Müller Greek yogurt.  I tried Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte and fell in love.  The stuff is absolutely delicious!  I thought Dunkin’s pumpkin coffee would taste a lot different since they’re lacking the “spice” but it’s actually just as good.  And a bit better nutritiously, even if only a smidge.  I tried the Müller Greek yogurt for the first time yesterday and love it.  I had the caramelized almond and strawberry flavors.  Both very, very yummy.

Number four, exercise.  One would think that if I love exercise, I would do it all the time right?  Well I unfortunately struggle with this.  However when I do exercise, whether it be a run on my elliptical, some Zumba-ing, a bike ride or the few times I go to the gym, it makes me quite happy.  It feels wonderful to sweat out all your frustrations.  To push yourself when you feel like quitting sooner.  Knowing that you are helping your body work better is a huge plus too.  Now I just have to embed that in my brain somewhere so I can remember the next time I don’t feel like working out!

Number five, technology.  I’m not even certain how I became so obsessed with technology.  But I’ll be the first to admit that I am.  If I’ve had a device for more than 6 months, that seems like a long time to me!  My newest toy is the Kindle Fire HD 7”.  I like that it’s lighter and smaller to carry around with me than the iPad but the screen on this one is fantastic.  My next toy may very well be an upgrade to the iPhone 5 however I think I have some time to decide since it seems none of the stores in my area have them in stock!

Number six, nature.  Whether it be sunsets in the Caribbean or beautiful greenery in Boston Common or the autumn color of trees in NYC, I love it all.  Whatever kind of trip we take, I enjoy finding the greatest scenery for pictures.  And then when I look back at them, I think wow, that view was really before my own eyes.  The earth has much to offer for us to appreciate.

I could seriously go on and on about things I love.  There is a lot in my life that I am happy with and sometimes I need to remind myself of this when times get tough.  I hope you can take a moment and think of the things you love and make you happy too 😀

(image credit:

Secret Motivation.

Finding motivation to exercise has always been a struggle for me.  However, I have improved on that greatly over the past few months.  If I only get some kind of workout in twice a week, that is my new standard for minimal exercise, compared to the nothing I used to do.  I’m not going to lie.  I love to exercise.  I love pushing myself.  I love how I feel afterwards.  I love working up a good sweat.  But I’m also lazy.  And work a lot of hours.  So that makes finding time and energy difficult at times.

Last night when I got home from work, the weather was nice.  And I knew I had about an hour or so before the sun went down.  I wanted to go for a bike ride.  But I didn’t feel like I had the energy.  I debated for a couple of minutes.  Literally standing in the living room trying to decide.  But I went for it.  And as I figured, I was so glad I did.  I used the Map my Ride app for the first time and clocked in a 7.25 mile ride.  Not bad for someone who didn’t have energy huh? 😉

The place I love to ride is a bike path along one of the parkways in my neighborhood.  There are two near each other and I usually opt for one.  However last night I did some of both and was so glad I got to enjoy beautiful sun setting scenery along the way.  I have to say that I love and appreciate the backgrounds nature provides.  After seeing that last night, it may just be some secret motivation for me to ride some more.

Hey, whatever gets you going right?  🙂

A Heart to Heart with Ginger.

Ginger Vieira is one of those people from the diabetes community that I look up to and admire.  Not only has she been living well with diabetes, she made a career of helping people live well also.  I had the pleasure of meeting Ginger last year at the Unite for a Healthy Future event.  Her positive attitude, healthy outlook and smile are contagious.  I had some questions I’ve been wanting to ask her and she was nice enough to let me share it with all of you.       

S: Tell me more about your diabetes diagnosis.

G: The most unique part of my diabetes diagnosis is that I actually diagnosed myself and no one believed me for a week. I was 13 years old, in the 7th grade, and the entire 7th grade does a health fair every year. One of the kids in my class, Miles, did his project on “diabetes.” I had been feeling sick for about 3 weeks – my whole family got the flu, and it seemed like mine never went away! I started reading Miles’ poster on diabetes while we were in science class, and I had all of the symptoms listed. I told my mom later that day that I thought I had this “thing called diabetes.” We didn’t know anything about it, so she said, “No, no, that’s impossible.” A week later, I started crying because I felt so awful, and we finally went to the hospital.

S: Tell me more about your celiac diagnosis.

G: I’m really lucky in how quickly I was diagnosed with celiac. Most people don’t even get tested until they’re bodies are suffering and they feel really sick. By then, your small intestine has already experienced a great deal of damage. My endocrinologist just tested me on principle during the second year of my life with Type 1 diabetes.

I was very good at following my gluten-free guidelines throughout high school, and then I teetered out of those lines during college for about one year. In other words, I cheated whenever I felt like it! Because I was diagnosed so quickly, I really don’t have very noticeable symptoms, if any, to gluten. I would get a headache sometimes, but because I was eating small snacks of gluten so often, I stopped noticing how unhappy my body was.

Today, I can honestly say I have no interest in eating gluten (*cheating) because everything about my body feels healthier and happier when there is no gluten in my body. Can I get away with trying my best friend’s chocolate ganache cake pop sometimes? Yes…but I try to keep those “taste-testing” excursions to just 3 or 4 small bites a year.

S: How did you know you wanted to be a trainer/coach?

G: Well, it was really never something I thought about until I had hired a personal trainer for my own health goals during my senior year of college. Within a year of training with him, I knew I wanted to motivate people to take good care of themselves, to see how much they are capable of, to become stronger and more confident in their own skin than they thought possible!

I never thought of myself as an athlete until that year. During the next year, amidst powerlifting competitions and training, I realized I wanted to do more than just teach people how to exercise, I wanted to help them change the way they see the challenges in their health, change the way they pursue their goals, and change the way they literally think about themselves.

That year, I began training as a cognitive coach in David Rock’s coaching program that is based on the neuroscience of the brain – the way your brain thinks, the chemicals involved, and how to create a conversation that leads you to making incredible changes in your thinking habits.

S: Do you have a lazy side? If so, how do you push yourself?

G: I was always fairly active in middle school and high school, but it wasn’t until my senior year of college when I found my passions in exercise, and the confidence in what I’m capable of—I’ll try almost anything now. Today, it’s so easy to convince myself to get up and go to the gym because my body craves it. My brain craves it. And I just feel balanced and at peace when I’ve made time for it.

And that’s exactly one of the things that I love helping other people discover in themselves. It takes an immense amount of commitment and focus to get to that point, but you will get there eventually if you make it your goal.

Don’t get me wrong…I love my couch, though! And the occasional nap!

S: What is your all time favorite food?

G: All time favorite? Oh, goodness. I can’t choose just one. But here are three foods that I could eat every day:

1. Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage
2. Fuji Apples
3. Ben & Jerry’s Pistachio Pistachio

S: Do you ever eat “unhealthy” foods?

G: Yes! I keep a container of Ben & Jerry’s Pistachio Pistachio in my freezer at all times! A healthy relationship with food includes junk food. My relationship with food is about balance. About 90% of my day is good clean food: eggs, meats, apples, carrots, hummus and water. But if I’m craving something sweet, I don’t make that off-limits. Telling yourself that you cannot or should not eat a certain type of food in order to “ be healthy” or even in an effort to lose weight, will probably backfire on your incredible.

When nothing is off-limits, and there are no rules, then junk food is no longer a big. I don’t ever binge on the ice cream in my freezer…because it’s always there! I can eat it whenever I feel like. I basically nibble on it throughout the week. And I exercise so much that every remains balanced. When I was powerlifting training regularly (which I’m not now), I actually needed over 3,000 calories a day, so I had to include junk food just to get it all in! Today, I really only need 1800 to 2000 calories.

This question actually brings up something I am super-passionate about coaching other folks in. Your relationship with food!

I truly, wholeheartedly believe that diabetes skews and twists our relationship with food. It makes food a chore, an evil, a thing that can save our life, and a thing we’re supposed to avoid and count and think about constantly.

I also truly believe that developing a healthy relationship with food is very possible. I’ve done it for myself, and every coaching client I’ve ever worked with has come to me with a goal of overcoming emotional eating.

This is the next topic I’m writing my next book about. I’ve created the outline for the book, but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten!

S: Have you ever been on an insulin pump? Why or why not?

G: Yes, I was on an insulin pump about 6 months after I was diagnosed. I was the first teenager at Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital they actually let go on a pump…that was 1999! I went off my pump about 6 years later. My skin really didn’t like it, my infusion sites were always itchy and getting clogged with blood or infected. I didn’t feel comfortable doing yoga with my pump, always stretching and having the infusion site pop out. It would’ve never fit with my powerlifting belt, I would’ve been bruised constantly. Yada yada. It’s just not for me.

My A1C has basically been around 6.8 to 7 percent whether or not I’m on an insulin pump. I’m very happy to be using Lantus and Humalog.

S: I love your dog. What kind is he and is it hard at all to take care of a dog so big?

G: His name is Blue. He is amazing. He’s a goldendoodle (part poodle, part golden retriever).

He was a very stubborn puppy (like mother, like son), so I was very strict in his discipline to ensure that he knows I’m the boss, the leader of the pack, and his mama. Today, despite his size, he’s awesomely well behaved, incredibly friendly, and a lover of life. *However, given him a bath is a pain in the butt.

Meanwhile, because of his size, it’s also really easy to tackle him, wrestle him, and basically wrap my whole body around him when I need him to sit still while my friend is cleaning his ears (he hates that!).

I also recently adopted a 9 year-old pup named Einstein. He’s learning from Blue how great life can be. He was given to a shelter because his owner was dying, and I don’t think his owner took him outside very often. He didn’t even know his name or how to sit when I got him.
Today, due to lots of cuddling, kisses, and walks in the woods, he’s become a very happy canine…and a good friend of Blue’s.

S: I started reading your book (and will continue just as soon as I finish the Hunger Games trilogy!!). So far I loved how you explain things. What was the moment when you thought, I’m going to write this book?

G: Hmm…well, when I started powerlifting training during 2009, I had to learn so much about basic human physiology because not only did the endocrinologists in my area know nothing about competitive sports, exercise and diabetes, but the head endocrinologist there also rolled his eyes at me when I said I wanted to train and compete in powerlifting.

So I was on my own.

I read medical textbooks and talked a lot with my trainer, Andrew, about basic exercise physiology. After really coming to understand it well, and taking a lot of notes around my own blood sugars, training workouts, and competitions, I realized that this was my book. This information that you can’t find easily anywhere else.

It’s frustrating to me, in one sense, that doctors don’t take the time to teach us some of this stuff, but I know they don’t have time. We are all capable of learning it though, and it applies to every part of life with diabetes.

S: Your newest venture was becoming the mental health coach for Team WILD. How is that going?

G: Oh, it’s only just begun! TeamWILD is founded by the awesome Mari Ruddy (a two-time cancer survivor and tri-athlete living with Type 1 diabetes). Working with and for Mari is great because she sees what her staff is capable of and gives them the reigns to be as awesome as they can be.

TeamWILD is holding it’s camp in Boulder this coming June, and I will be one of the main 4 staff members running the camp. You’ll also find three videos from me in your training packages if you sign-up for any of the various programs TeamWILD offers!

Wanting to exercise is the first step, but the next step is making sure that you’ve learned everything you need to in order to exercise effectively, safely, and productively with diabetes. Going for a jog when your blood sugar is 240 mg/dL, even if you don’t have ketones, isn’t going to give you all of the benefits you’re hoping for. You’ve gotta learn how your body works and how to manage diabetes on top of that.

TeamWILD is an awesome source for learning that information, and reaching all of your athletic goals in endurance sports.

If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend interacting with Ginger online – I’ve included links where to find her at Living In Progress, her book Your Diabetes Science Experiment which can be purchased as a paperback or an e book, her services at Team Wild and you can also find her on twitter @gingervieira 🙂

Sick or Not.

I haven’t been feeling well for going on two weeks. Not exactly sick but not well. When you have diabetes, any little ailment or ill feeling causes more questions and concerns than normal. And I hate that. Things like the sniffles or a little dizziness or some fatigue can be brushed off by a person without diabetes if they choose. But when you have to worry about your BG as well as the feeling you are experiencing, it’s a whole different ball game. Your mind begins to wander about the cause of your suffering. Could I be starting with another auto immune condition? Could it be complications? Is it diabetes related at all? To determine if your high BG is being caused by not feeling well or if not feeling well is being caused by your high BG is next to impossible. Not to mention making sure ketones aren’t part of the scenario. It can all be a bit overwhelming.

As for what has been ailing me, I’m hoping to find out. I’ve already had a couple of things ruled out and have a few appointments scheduled in the coming week. I have a feeling most of my symptoms could very well be allergy related believe it or not. And if that’s all it is, I can deal with that. I really just want to feel back to normal already. Especially to get back to working out. (did I really just write that??) But I take not feeling well very seriously. Maybe too seriously?  And I can’t help but place the blame for that on diabetes.

New-to-me Product.

So I’m a bit late on this one … this has been out for quite a while but I got my very own Tummietote from Tallygear in the mail yesterday. And I used it during my workout last night.

But let me take a few steps back. Living with diabetes in this day and age, there are a few devices that you need to have with you all the time. Some of these may even have to be on you. With that in mind, short of creating a “tool belt” for diabetics, Donna and Matthew created the Tallygear line for their daughter Tally who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2007. From their site “Our wish for you or your child is to make wearing an insulin pump or any other personal item more comfortable and secure. We began with the idea to create a belt to make wearing the insulin pump more comfortable…we believe we have gone beyond that. The belt is not only comfortable but, it is also extremely stylish and can be very discreet.”

I’ve heard so many great things about this product but never got around to getting myself one. After recommending it to a twitter friend based on others’ reviews, I decided to order one. And I’m really glad I did. Recently switching to the OmniPod, I no longer have an external pump to wear somewhere on my body. But I do see how convenient this belt would be for a pump. I do however, still need to carry my Dexcom receiver with me all the time. That fits perfectly in one of the pockets that closes with velcro and is easily accessible to view my BG trends. It has three of those pockets altogether.  The belt is extremely comfortable; it is wrapped around your tummy with velcro.  I also like how soft the material is.

They come in so many different fun colors and patterns and various styles too. I would also recommend this belt for people who do not have diabetes. You can very well fit an iPod, phone, or other little important little gadgets in it to take with you on the go, especially when active.

*Tallygear did not provide me with their product for review. I purchased the Tummietote on my own accord and these opinions are strictly my own.*

Great Motivation.

Over the course of the past 8-9 weeks I really stepped it up in terms of exercise.  I was consistently working out 3-4 times a week.  (That may not sound a lot to some, but compared to my doing nothing previously, it is to me)  Up to last week that is.  I wasn’t feeling too well; like I was coming down with some illness or something; so tried listening to my body and took a rest period.  Not so coincidentally, I started seeing too many ups and downs in my BG readings.  I knew I had to get back to it.  And last night I forced myself onto my elliptical for a really good workout.  And woke up to this.

Now don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t happen every single time I exercise.  But I do notice it a lot.  It’s a big difference.  And this has become my main motivation to keep up with exercise. And those undesirable complications that have begun to haunt me in little ways? Yeah keeping those to a bare minimum is also a huge incentive for me.  So when my lazy side tries to take over, I think I’m going to look at this picture.  Or recall the intravitreal injection I had recently.  And that should keep me going!

Biggest Loser.

I like being healthy. Well who doesn’t really? I love reading up on what foods are good for you and which ones to stay away from. Or the latest fitness craze. (Zumba anyone?) I even subscribe to Health magazine – both the good ol’ paper edition and the online newsletter. But so many times my lazy and tired side takes over and it’s hard for me to stick with a work out routine. I prefer working out at home for a number of reasons but I won’t get into those now.  Last year my hubby got me an elliptical for my birthday.  (Insert best gift giver ever!!) It went unused for the first few weeks but thats a different story.  I love having that equipment at home but I’ll admit, it does get kind of boring to use just that. (Add HBO GO on my iPad and it’s a bit more entertaining however still not the most fun ever) At the beginning of the year I got myself a wii fit. I like it a lot. But recently I took it a step further and got a “game” to go with the wii fit board and it’s finally something I’ve been keeping up with.

I am loving this!  It offers a program that you can customize to your liking.  It sets a schedule for you based on your needs and(or) wants.  You can set the tone for your work outs by choosing the length of time, type and intensity.  You can even change the background scenery for each exercise.  Periodically you enter into a challenge just like on the show.  It’s fun!!  It mainly relies on the wii board and remote to “monitor” your exercises.  And sometimes it’s a little off and I hear Bob or Jillian telling me “I hope you’re not quitting” or that a little more effort will help me obtain my goals.  That’s usually when I start cursing at the TV in a sweaty, huffing state since I know that I’m trying very hard and doing the exercises right.   Just a minor glitch if you want to call it that, that I can certainly live with.  My ultimate goal is not to lose weight, although I’d be extremely pleased if I do.  I want to get the activity my body needs in order to stay healthy and to help use the insulin I take more effectively.  When I’m done with a 30 or 40 minute activity from this game, I feel it.  And that’s a good thing.  I can finally say that in the last month+ I’ve been exercising regularly.  And that makes me happy.  And my body is happy too 🙂

(sidenote: I have no affiliation with Nintendo, NBC, Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper 😉  and the photo is courtesy of the NBC store)