Push-ups

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Even if you’ve never done a single push up in your entire life, during this quick and informative video, you will learn exactly how to perform a push up from beginner to advanced; no excuses! By the time the video is done, you will have everything you need to get started immediately.

The only requirement is making the time to fit it into your day. The good news is it will take less than 5 minutes, and we all have 5 minutes to spare, especially for building our strength and giving ourselves the gift of health! The feelings of empowerment that come with seeing our physical abilities and strength grow are indescribable. Choose to give yourself that gift of confidence today!

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How to Exercise Without Worrying About Your Blood Sugar

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Exercising with diabetes can be a frustrating disaster. Worrying about going low and having to eat a ton of food, never even knowing exactly how much to eat. I’m sure you’ve even had the thought, ‘What’s the point of all this exercise if I just have to eat like a pig to do it!’ Ugh! Right?!

 NO, WRONG!

 I’m Dr. Jody Stanislaw and I’ve had type 1 diabetes for 35 years. I can show you how to exercise without having to eat or worry about going low. Truly.

 If I could have known what I’m about to tell you when I was a teen, I would have seriously paid thousands of dollars for this information because it would’ve dramatically improved my life!

 I hated having to eat all the time when I played sports or went to the gym. I’d get so frustrated because I wanted to be thinner but it seemed like I always had to eat more calories to avoid going low than I was even burning. I felt fat all the time. I developed an eating disorder. It was awful.

 But now, all of that misery is behind me! I have finally learned how to not have eat anything when I exercise! Plus, I don’t worry anymore about lows. And at the age of 42, I’m in the best shape of my life, finally.

I have no idea why this life-changing information is not part of basic diabetes education. This fact actually makes me mad, given all the millions of you who I know are suffering like I was before I knew this simple and profound information you’re about to learn. I’m sure you’ve been taught that it’s too dangerous to exercise without eating. Understanding what I’m about to tell you, you’ll gain the wondrous freedom of knowing that does NOT have to be true.

I would have paid $100,000 to know this information. It would have saved me years of frustration and prevented me from ever developing a devastating eating disorder. And it’s so simple!

  • Are you sick of exercising and worrying about going low?
  • Wouldn’t you love to exercise without having to eat anything?!
  • Are you tired of always having to carry food with you when you’re active?
  • Wouldn’t you love to just enjoy your workout and have stable blood sugars?

Guess what? I’m about to tell you how!

Here’s How to Workout without Eating or Going Low…

#1) Do not workout within 4 hours of a high carb meal, unless you want to eat like a horse &/or go low.

When you eat a high carb meal, you have to take a big dose of fast acting. Well, fast acting works for up to 4 hours, so if you have a high carb meal, make sure your workout is at least 4 hours later so you don’t have a lot of insulin in your body while you exercise. Insulin is what makes you go low, not exercise. (Read that line again!) I know it’s shocking but it’s true. Understanding that will change your life.

#2) Make sure your background insulin is fine-tuned to your individual needs correctly.

Having your basal rate/long acting insulin dose set correctly is critical. If it’s too high, exercise will make you crash. This process requires a lot of detailed records. I help my patients do this everyday. Although it’s a complex process and can take a few weeks, it is critical not only to avoid lows during exercise but to establish the foundation for good blood sugars 24 hours a day.

If your background insulin is not set correctly, you will be constantly plagued by endless, frustrating and unpredictable blood sugar levels. You need to do this. (…and don’t worry, I can help you.)

#3) The less insulin you have in your body while you exercise, the better.

This tip combines the wisdom of #1 & #2 above. The million dollar message here is, the less insulin you have on board while you exercise, the less likely you’ll go low.

Remember the day before you first were diagnosed? I can guarantee you that no matter how active you were, it was impossible for you to go low. Why? Because it’s NOT exercise alone that makes you go low. It’s the insulin. Without excess insulin on board, you CANNOT go low. Exercise just makes your insulin more powerful. It makes it work faster and harder.

So if you must have some insulin on board, the further away the dose (thus the insulin is hopefully past it’s peak of power) plus the smaller the dose (thus the lower the momentum to make you go low), the lower your chance of going low.

I would have paid $100,000 or more to know this life-changing wisdom back in the day when I was a frustrated teen eating 100’s of calories during every workout!! This is priceless, life-changing information that can make your life so much happier, healthier, and easier! I’m so excited to share this with you today that I have to end this sentence with multiple exclamation marks!!!!!!!

Now of course, I’m not saying to have NO insulin on board. That would put you into DKA and I’m NOT suggesting that. You must always have some insulin on board. So the sweet spot that allows you to exercise like a normal, non-diabetic person is to ONLY have your baseline need of insulin on board. (I can help you establish this.)

#4) If you need or want to eat before your workout have protein.

When I’m about to exercise, be it for 30 min or all day, I have a protein based snack. Why? Because then I can enjoy some fuel without having to dose for it. Sure, I could eat some carbs and just reduce my dose for them but by how much? 25%? 50%? 73.92%?

Figuring that out causes more mental stress than it’s worth because as soon as you dose before exercise, you raise your chances of going low, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to worry about that while I’m having fun being active!

So what do I eat? A handful of nuts. Some turkey slices. A hardboiled egg. Beef jerky. Chicken wrapped in lettuce. An avocado. Some tuna fish. Celery and almond butter. My famous no carb flax muffin. (Don’t have the recipe?? Email me! It’s delicious!)

You can happily eat any of these things before or during your workout without having to worry about dosing, thus enjoying the bliss of stable blood sugar while you’re being active. What a joy that only us awesome folks with diabetes can understand! Ahhh, yes!

#5) Eat low carb on a daily basis

Today’s standard recommendations taught by diabetes educators around the world is to count your carbs and dose. Well, I’m sorry to bare the bad news, but if you want good blood sugars, that approach does NOT work.

Meals digest at all different rates. But insulin only works at one slow rate. Trying to get the digestion of food and it’s associated rise in blood sugar to hit at the exact same time that your insulin is peaking is almost an impossible task. You’d have better luck winning the lottery!

Insulin is not a fast or precise tool for blood sugar regulation, but it’s the best we’ve got so far. (Yes, I’m counting the days until the Bionic Pancreas is a reality for us all! What a day of extraordinary celebration that will be!) But in the meantime, all we’ve got is ‘fast acting’ (that term always makes me laugh) insulin.

So, please do not try to carve a rock if the only tool you have is a dull spoon. Translated into diabetes speak, that means eating a low carb diet is essential if you want to enjoy good blood sugar levels. Low carb choices allow you to take smaller doses. Smaller doses greatly reduce your risk of going low, especially of having one of those really bad lows, which can only be caused by a large dose of insulin.

By having less insulin in your body, not only during exercise, but at ANY time of day, you’ll greatly reduce your chance of going low, at any time of day.

So there you go! You now have the knowledge of one of the most valuable and priceless tools I wish every single person with diabetes knew. You now know how you can enjoy being active without having to eat a ton of food or worry about going low. The value held in this information is priceless!

For this to be your new reality though, you MUST have your long acting dose set correctly. AND know how to eat low carb 80% of the time. AND have the knowledge for how to dose your fast acting properly. This takes a lot to get right and I can help you.

To get help with all of this and to find out what your unique requirements are, sign-up for a free intro consultation.

Working with me can change your life, as it has for the hundreds of patients I’ve helped all across the country. I specialize in type 1, but work with motivated type 2’s as well. I work via phone so you can talk to me from the comfort of your own home. No commute. No waiting rooms.

Take a look at what some of my patients have to say:

My blood sugar levels have improved more since following Dr. Jody’s advice than they have in all the previous ten years of living with this disease. I feel better than ever and have the lowest A1c of my life. – Patrick Graff, age 25

To say that Dr. Jody changed my life is an understatement. Her knowledge and expertise, as well as her caring and compassion, have significantly improved my health. Trust her and believe her; follow her guidance; you will not regret it!” – Marjolaine Renfro, age 63

Dr. Jody listens and really looks at the whole picture of your health. I’ve never felt so heard by a doctor. She was the first one who finally was able to turn my health around. I now feel better than I have in years. – Julie Headle, age 45

I can teach you how to avoid having to eat a ton before exercise, gaining weight, and worrying about going low. Whether you are a type 1 or 2, sign up for a free intro consultation with me.

Learning this information will change your life. Please don’t delay

I look forward to speaking with you soon,

Dr. Jody Stanislaw

Type 1 since 1980…and thriving!

Yoga is the Magic Word

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I woke up at 4 am this morning to a Blood glucose reading of 4.9. Not really a big low for someone living with diabetes, but low for me, especially because I know my body. I know that if I go back to sleep I’ll be too low. I’ve been on long-acting Insulin for over a year now and I still feel like I’m on a learning curve, discovering what food trigger highs, how much insulin triggers lows and using diet and exercise to keep me stable.

It all takes discipline. Something that comes quite naturally to me. When people ask me where I find the motivation to stay so focused the answer is simple, Yoga.  My Yoga practice keeps me sane. I owe my passion for yoga to my teachers. As a young adult, I lived in a small town in Australia and took up yoga with two yoginis who had studied with Patthabi Jois in India. The practice they shared was like a dance. It transformed my body and shaped my mind and taught me that I could achieve anything. I couldn’t get on that mat early enough. It’s all I wanted to do and the only thing that really made me happy. I wanted to be like them and achieve what they did. Their mastery made me want to excel. I was competitive and I still am. But now I compete with myself. It’s like a game. I wonder some times if its dysfunctional to always strive to do better.

I often use the word hate. My partner is always pointing it out. He says no one should hate anything and insists things can be uncomfortable or challenging, but that hate is too strong a word.  Nevertheless, I hate having diabetes. I hate having to check my blood sugar, not being able to enjoy a variety of foods without fear of lows or highs. I hate that with all the new technologies there is no definitive cure and I hate going to sleep at night with the fear that I won’t wake up in the morning. I hate that this disease strikes children and that it’s so random and unpredictable. I hate, hate, hate diabetes!

There I’ve said it.

I truly feel that the expression of anger is a healthy emotion. My anger has helped me to accept my diagnosis.

And anger keeps me disciplined.

The other side of discipline is relaxation, the essence of yoga. With every moment of mastery in a posture, there’s a deep sense of letting go. As one muscle tenses the opposing muscles releases. The postural practice is one of tension and flexion, opening and closing, day and night, feminine and masculine. It soothes and invigorates and constantly seeks harmony. It’s the perfect complement to any challenge.

A yoga practice demands your attention, it pulls you out of the need to identify with all the thoughts, worries and anxieties about your condition. It gives you a mental and emotional break from living day in and day out with diabetes. Wherever you place your attention during the practice that’s where the energy goes.

So what kinds of practices work? Is it the postures? The breath? Being mindful? In my experience, it’s all of the above.  To practice correctly you have to execute the pose, breathe deeply and be completely mindful. It doesn’t matter what pose you do. If you are there, the magic happens. In fact, it’s impossible for you to be absent. Because without you there, present, there would be no yoga.

Yoga these days can be misrepresented. It’s splashed all over the media as something that young vegan, smoothie drinking girls do in bikinis on the beach.  Don’t get me wrong. I think those girls are beautiful, but that’s not yoga. The practice of yoga is for everyone, any size, any age. There is a practice that’s perfect for you. I encourage you to find a teacher you gel with and a practice that feels right.

Inspired to get motivated or want yoga to help lower levels? Choose an active practice like power or vinyasa yoga.

Want to relax, restore and rebuild your adrenals? Try yin or a slower form like hatha.

Ready to develop discipline? Choose a style of yoga that has the same set sequence. The mind loves repetition and routine.

Wanting to come to terms with your diagnosis? Explore nonphysical styles like Bhakti or Karma yoga. Both Bhakti and Karma yoga are styles which ask you to give of yourself in devotion or selfless service. When we step away from what’s in it for us and give. We forget our ourselves in the offering.

Want something practical you can do right here and now to get the ball rolling?

Try this quick breathing and moving vinyasa:

Sit in a comfortable cross legged seat, straddle a bolster, or if you have any knee or lower back issues sit in a chair with your feet firmly planted on the floor.

Interlace your fingers at the center of your chest

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Inhale and extend your arms out in front

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Keep inhaling and reach your arms towards the sky with the palms facing upwards. It all happens in one continuous movement.

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Exhale, unclasp the fingers and release the arms down by your sides

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Inhale take your arms behind you, clasp the fingers with the palms facing each other and reach your knuckles towards the ground

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Exhale relax your hands on your thighs with the palms facing upwards

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Repeat this sequence five to 10 times.

When you finish the vinyasa sit quietly observing the sensations in your upper body and notice the breath becoming calm and imperceptible

You can do this sequence any time you need more energy, or to get motivated to do a longer practice.

Rachel’s Bio:

Rachel Zinman is an international yoga teacher with over 30 years experience who was first diagnosed with diabetes in 2008 at the age of 42.  It took nearly six years for her to accept and understand her diagnosis of type 1 LADA diabetes because she refused to believe that she couldn’t cure herself with yoga and alternative therapies. Her personal journey from denial to acceptance led her to discover that even though yoga couldn’t cure her condition it could definitely help her to manage the volatility of the disease. Now her mission is to give back and share how yoga helps her to manage her health each and every day. To find out more about Rachel and her new book on Yoga for Diabetes visit  http://yogafordiabetesblog.com/yoga-for-diabetes-book/ and http://www.yogafordiabetesblog.com

 

Punch Fitness

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My routine at Punch Fitness is obviously driven by my personal trainer, Villi Bello, but I do influence him somewhat by indicating what I want to target.

Last week I came to the gym after 10 days of intense traveling for Lyfebulb and I was jet-lagged and exhausted!

We decided to do more gentle work, but still get a good cardio and strength mix in.

We began the workout with boxing while weights were attached to my arms, the elliptical machine, and lots of exercises involving my core and arms.

I think the plank is such an optimal work-out since it includes a large part of the body at once, and Villi asked me to do it one-legged with the other leg moving to the side and upwards (as pictured above).

I also enjoy the TRX machine, which we used for lunges, arm bends and simple thigh exercises.

We did two kinds of crunches, regular ones to the center, and ones where you twist from side to side.

Finally, we did push-ups, on the knees and on my feet – with two legs on the floor and for a few brutal seconds, on just one leg at a time!

Villi always finishes my sessions with some nice stretches and asks me to drink water before I leave the gym – my jet-lag was gone and I ran outside into the beautiful spring weather!

Upper Body 250 Blast

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In this workout, we focus mainly on upper body exercises.  Because of the high amount of sets you will also see an increase in your heart rate, making this cardiovascular as well.  If you’re looking to get the most out of this workout, I’d recommend taking as little rest as possible.  Push yourself to get through as many rounds as you can, with little rest in between!

Mixing up your workouts is essential to getting lasting results.  When working with my training clients, I like to use a combination of strength, cardio, and interval training.  The Upper Body 250 Blast is an example of something I’d use in a session and would pair with some interval cardio training to get a full-body pump.

Upper Body 250 Blast

10 Dips

10 Push-Ups

10 DB Shoulder Presses

10 DB Bicep Curls

10/side Rotating Planks

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Dips: With your hands shoulder-width apart and fingers facing towards your back, use a bench to hold your body weight right at your waist.  Your feet will be in front of you on the ground, slightly bent to support your body.  Slowly lower your body until your shoulder joints are below your elbows and push back up until your elbows are nearly straight.  Repeat for a full 10 repetitions.

Push-up: Start in a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders.  Lower your body, making sure to keep your back flat and a neutral neck.  Push back up to high plank.  A modification for this is to lower your knees to the floor instead of being on your toes.  Repeat for a full 10 repetitions.

Dumbbell (DB) Shoulder Press: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and begin with your arms at 90 degrees, palms facing forward.  Press dumbbells straight up until arms are nearly straight.  Come back down to 90 degrees and repeat for a full 10 repetitions.

Dumbbell (DB) Bicep Curls: Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand and palms facing forward at your sides.  Keeping your arms stationary, curl the weights up towards your shoulder and slowly lower.  Repeat for a full 10 repetitions.

Rotating Planks: Start in a high plank position.  Rotate your hips, shoulders and feet while raising one arm towards the ceiling.  Rotate back to the starting position and repeat on the other side.  Do this motion on both sides for 10 repetitions each.

Aubrey Taylor Health & Fitness:

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Fit Fabulous Bride:

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From Obese to Athlete with T1D: Turning Adversity into Advantage

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When the diagnosis of T1D hits, we all go through a similar chain of heavy, sometimes crushing emotional reactions. Shock, disbelief, sadness, anger, denial, pity, confusion, and fear of the unknown. After the initial lessons on when, how, and how much to inject/bolus, and how to check our blood sugar levels, most of us get sent on our way with not a single word regarding the fact that we need to take the proper time to grieve; to mourn the loss of the person we were before T1D altered ourreality forever. Addressing the intense emotional aspect of diagnosis and living with a chronic disease is very necessary and often overlooked by many HPCs.

On August 25, 1994, the day after my 12th birthday and 3 years after my diagnosis, my father passed away unexpectedly at the age of 55. Combined with the unaddressed emotional fallout of living with diabetes, his sudden death sent me into a deep depression fueled by binge eating and feeling completely helpless and hopeless. I ballooned up to 200 pounds, and my A1C stayed around 13% for the entirety of my teenage life.

After years of introspection, and many attempts at healing my broken relationship with food and exercise, my diabetes, and my mindset, I finally came to a powerful realization that it wasn’t my diabetes that was the problem, it was the choices I was making around my self-care that were slowly killing me. I was knowingly killing myself through my choices, and I wasn’t reflecting the person I felt I was on the inside to the outside world. I knew I needed to change and finally begin embracing my power of self-love.

And so the journey from obese to athlete began. What also began was the first intentional acknowledgement of the fact that I never processed my diagnosis emotionally in the ways we all need to in order to move forward, make progress, and truly love and accept our perfectly imperfect selves.

Why Knowing Isn’t Enough

We all know how important our nutrition habits are in determining our quality of health and life. We all KNOW that we should be eating healthy, nutrient-dense foods. We all KNOW that processed, high-carb, high-sodium foods damage our bodies and wreak havoc on our blood sugars. But knowing is not enough; common knowledge is not common practice! Without consistent ACTION, changes simply will not last.

I didn’t lose 65 pounds and mend my depression and binge eating addiction overnight. It took years of trying, failing, and occasionally succeeding.When something didn’t work I had to pick up the pieces, examine what worked and what didn’t, and move on to the next plan of action. I tried many diets. Some aspects of each I liked and some I didn’t, so I took what worked for me, reassessed, and kept trying, eventually building my own diet that I’ve written a book about! Check out Unleash Your Inner Diabetes Dominator on Amazon!

Make Up Your Mind…It Will Be Hard and It Will Be Worth It

Making life-altering changes is not easy, and to sound as cliché as possible, in order to have something you’ve never had, you have to become someone you’ve never been. In order to succeed at changing our bodies, we must first change our minds.Optimal health is a life-long journey that we GET TO be on if we so choose.

Just like we must mourn the loss of our old selves when we get diagnosed, we must also consciously acknowledge the emotional side of change if we want our changes to be sustainable. We must understand, accept, and embrace that we are unhappy with some aspects of who we are now (just part of being human), and that we are ready to let go and create new habits to shape our next level.

Our Minds and Bodies Are Always Connected

Once I began to feel confident about my nutrition choices in my early 20s, I began to take interest in exercise for the first time in my life. Just like learning about nutrition, I had to learn about exercise; what I liked and didn’t like, and how each type of exercise made me feel.

Fast forward to 2010, I became a certified Personal Trainer whose love for physical fitness grew from non-existent into a burning passion, proving that people can change drastically at any time in their lives once the decision to change is made. Now I am blessed to teach others how to think, eat, and move in ways that allow them to achieve a quality of health and life they previously thought unattainable, the same way I once thought about myself.

Change is the price of surviving and thriving. Change gets a bad rep, but in reality is one of the only things we can be sure will always happen consistently. When we embrace change rather than fear it, amazing things begin to happen.

Lessons Learned

My top three lessons for sustainable transformations are: 1) we must embrace the power of self-love before we can make a meaningful and lasting changes, 2) we must recognize that although we can’t control our diabetes, we can control the choices we make when it comes to our self-care in order to live the healthiest, most vibrant life possible, and 3) we are truly powerful when we acknowledge and participate in our diabetes community.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help; managing a chronic disease is not something that is meant to be done alone, and we are not alone. Asking for the help we need is a true sign of strength.Always be willing to share the knowledge you’ve gained through your own experiences by acting as a peer mentor to those who are willing to ask for help. When we embrace the mindset of service and contribution, we realize that we are so much stronger than we think we are!

Meet Daniele Hargenrader

Swimming to Stay Fit

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Swimming is a perfect sport to get fit because it helps to use all the muscles of the body. Swimming ideally should be practiced in the sea where you can get benefit of the sea water and the sun. But to get fit you cannot wait for every summer, or to live near the sea! Good swimming pools now exist in many hotels, which means you have access while you travel for business or pleasure, and are also in many fitness centers.

Swimming is also very well suggested for people that have suffered injuries, and in particular for those with issues with the knees and the ankles. A lot of people that have physical problems that cause them to be unable to run, can very swim every day or at least several times a week.

Personally, I have not been able to run well in the past few years. I used to run marathons, play squash and basketball; now I swim at least three times a week.

My training schedule consists of 45/50 minutes of swimming divided in 4 modules as follows:

  • Ten minutes of crowl style starting slowly and the increasing in speed
  • Five minutes of walking in the water slowly
  • Ten minutes of butterfly style also starting slowly and then increasing the speed
  • Five minutes of walking in the water taking both legs to the high level of the chest together in constant action
  • Ten minutes of back stroke always at the same speed
  • Five minutes of walking fast in the water.

I also used to do a few laps in the pool under the water to improve my apnea breathing system. I have trained as a usual scuba diver, so you should be already be trained to do so.

After this period of 44/50 minutes of swimming I suggest, when you come out of the water, to always do a session of stretching for 5/10 minutes.

Remember to use water goggles and ear protection when you swim.

After swimming always drink at least a glass of water in order to hydrate your body.

And finally have fun while swimming!

 

Lady with MS

My two year MS anniversary

This was post republished with permission on Lyfeblog on DATE.

Two years ago I could not have foreseen what MS would bring to my life. And no, I am not deluding myself with mindless positivity. I despise MS, although I have grown used to it. My surprise stems from the fact that I am a much happier person now than I was before my diagnosis.

I have received such support. And I know who loves me. That is not a childish comment – I mean that I have learned a hard life lesson, and I now value it as such. Some people stick around, some don’t. And some people… Well, I don’t want them to stick around. I realised who I love when I think about who I want to visit me at my worst in hospital. Old friends have returned, and new ones have walked in the metaphorical door.

I am a better person (that sounds trite, but it also happens to be true). More compassionate, more empathetic, and with a far greater tolerance for people who are struggling. I have turned into an advocate.

But I also have stricter boundaries. I have no patience with incompetence, shallowness, lateness or half-truths. Those who know me in person know I was never great in this regard… But now I just don’t care. I may be in hospital tomorrow (or tonight, it has happened that way), and I no longer choose to spend my time with people who waste it.

I have something of a prejudice against lifestyle diseases… If you have your health, for God’s sake make the choice to look after it.

And I know for a fact that it is possible to know more about MS than the doctor or nurse you happen to be speaking to – even in a country with a decent health system like Australia. I have corrected doctors and negotiated with them. And I admit, I have shouted at them. I have no doubt I will do all three again.

I settled into some hardcore medication, albeit with the occasional hiccup (note to self: forgetting to take the tablet for 24 hours is a bad idea).

I experience MS pain in my hands and major joints. There is no rhyme or reason to it, no cause and no cure. It is horrendous. I lose hours when it happens, which tends to be in the early to late morning. I can’t predict it, I can’t stop it, and I sure as Hell just can’t take a handful of Ibuprofen and work through it (trust me, I’ve tried). When it happens, it is debilitating.

I changed my diet. I am largely processed food free. It sucks. But it also rocks: I am quite a bit lighter and my skin has never looked so good. I hope to Hell it helps the MS too.

I failed to exercise… And I don’t have an excuse. My neurologist laughed at my ‘I do incidental exercise’ approach.

But I do have an extremely high tolerance for risk. MS gives me complete uncertainty… So I find myself willing to take my chances on things I probably shouldn’t.

I am persona non grata with the financial powers that be. Insurance agencies won’t touch me, even with a risk premium. Aside, of course, to provide me with Death Cover (which I now have). Technically, I am eligible for the NDIS when it rolls out, meaning the Commonwealth Government classifies me as disabled. But I am not eligible for any disability benefits from the State or Commonwealth Governments… Go figure. I have a decade of professional public policy experience and I can’t figure the rules out. But consider it a lesson learned: go get your income protection and life insurance now, don’t wait for whatever magical date you have in your head (I was waiting to draw down my mortgage and roll it all up together).

I now have a will and three different types of Power of Attorney. Yes, there are three types – medical, financial and guardianship. Go get them. Seriously. Once you take the time to think though the ramifications of not having one (and yes, people like you sometimes need them), it isn’t so hard.

I quit my career. They say most people with MS stop working within ten years. I skewed the average: I walked out in less than a year. But I am building a new one. Writing, advocacy, storytelling. And damn, it feels good.

I have a partner, who I met me after my diagnosis. Two months after, when I was still recovering from my first episode and the methyl prednisolone that knocked me around for weeks. I shudder to think at how I looked and acted when he first met me. Looking back, I realise how sick I was. I used to grow tired just leaving the couch at that point. But he saw through the sickness, and I am forever grateful.

And finally, while it has nothing to do with MS, a quirk of fate has made me a de facto grandmother in an ever-expanding American family at the age of 34. Who knew.

Anything can – and does – happen.

Grace and diabetes, a story of acceptance

I spent my life equating value with effort. I always thought I had to put in 110%. That’s why, when I kept reading 18 mmol/L on my glucometer, I felt like a royal failure.

I tried everything, I mean everything. I’d rationed my food, walked up and down hills. Ingested chromium and cinnamon. Swallowed mountains of bitter gourd, had acupuncture and kinesiology. I even tapped my chakras for a whole year. I cried a river, searched my childhood for wounds, visualized my pancreas as a big pink love heart regrowing cells “compassionately”.

I prayed, man did I pray!

I even tried giving up for a while, my version being; pigging out on a bag of almonds. No matter what I did, the effort I put in did not equal a healthy pancreas.

Being an innovative person I tried a multitude of approaches. But nothing worked because I was missing the key ingredient. Acceptance

I refused to believe that I had an autoimmune disease and that there was no way out!

Imagine… You’re in Prague. You don’t speak the language and can’t read the signs. How do you get to your destination? The most essential information in this equation is to know where you are. Are you at the train station? The tram stop? The airport? Once you know where you can ask someone, google map search, whatever. But if you don’t know the where it’s going to be hopeless.

That’s what it’s like when you refuse to accept your diagnosis. I knew there was a problem. I knew I had diabetes. But all the information about what I thought I had was wrong. I kept treating type 1 as if it were type 2. I kept telling everyone, “My cells are resisting the abundant insulin I produce. I just need to open up my cells again. That’s why you see me eating blah blah blah and doing these yoga practices and having those treatments.” I can remember my ex trying to counsel me, explaining that my big issue was fear. If I could just stop being afraid maybe I’d heal. In hindsight I can only giggle at the ridiculousness of it all.

Knowledge is power

To get anywhere you need to know where you are. But knowing about something is very different than actually experiencing something. I knew all about Type 1- but to be honest only what I’d remembered from my friend’s son injecting in front of me once. Why should I learn about something I couldn’t possibly have. I was a yoga teacher and a yogi. Surely yoga fixes everything!

And when my doctor told me encouraged me to get my A1c down or we’d have to start ‘medication’. I was terrified.

I’d never taken a pill in my life!

So I put in even more effort. And that’s when everything tanked. We were on retreat at a beautiful resort on a hill in the middle of the tropics. I was teaching yoga at dawn, inhaling avocados and trudging my way up and down hills in a last ditch effort to get my levels back down. Deep down I knew it wouldn’t work. My self-assuredness was gone. My motivation exhausted. I couldn’t see the point.

I’ve often heard or read that it’s at the point where you truly give up that grace steps in. I don’t think I’ve ever truly understood what grace means. People talk about in lofty terms. Like… and then such and such happened and I was showered by grace.

Understanding grace was about getting real with myself. It happened when I actually accepted for the first time that I was a type 1 diabetic and that my only option was Insulin. I felt it when my diabetes educator said that being diabetic couldn’t possibly be my fault. And I still feel it now as I write. Grace isn’t tangible but it’s no less potent. Grace is what gets me through each and every day.

Rachel Zinman is a senior yoga teacher and teacher trainer with over 30 years experience teaching nationally and internationally. She is currently completing a book on Yoga for Diabetes. If you’d like to preorder the book visit http://yogafordiabetesblog.com/yoga-for-diabetes-book/ . You can also find out more about Yoga for Diabetes on her blog http://www.yogafordiabetesblog.com

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Simple moves for life – a yoga pose in 7 steps

rachel-yoga

At 19, I started yoga tough. I couldn’t touch my toes. My hips were tight and my upper back and chest were so muscle bound I could hardly breathe. To top it off I was highly competitive. When I looked around me and saw people doing arm balances, or sitting in wide open splits I was jealous. My need to be the best drove me hard and I pushed myself to the edge. I treated my yoga class like boot camp. But doing it tough isn’t all good. I overstretched, injured myself and stressed my nervous system. I had yogi burnout and I was only 25.

Not long after I fell pregnant, and with the changes in my body came a new perspective. I realized that slow and gentle isn’t a cop out. Instead it’s nurturing and it heals. I began to explore postures that opened me without effort. I rested in between sets. I allowed my body to guide me through the practice.

30 years later I have refined my approach and put together sequences that are easy to implement. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have or how open or tight you are. If you keep it simple and build in stages eventually the body will be open and strong.

One of the central poses of a yoga practice is mastering the down dog position. It’s quite a challenging posture because it requires that you have strong wrists, open shoulders and hamstrings. and a natural arch in your lower back. When most people first attempt this pose they’re arms start to ache, their hamstrings scream and they think what’s the point!  Working into down dog in 7 steps is the key. Each step along the way is a pose in its own right. You can perform the sequence in one fluid flow or just do one a day, one day at a time. Eventually over time you’ll feel light and open in the final posture and be able to easily hold it for 10 breaths or more.

Pose 1

Start in Child pose take your seat to your heels and have your belly against your thighs. Reach your arms out in front and lift your elbows, Breath deeply so you can feel the back of your body breathing.

Pose 1

Pose 2

Come into cat pose on all fours. Have your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Breathe and relax here. This is a really simple way to strengthen your wrists and open your chest. When you have held the pose for 5-10 breaths return to child pose.Pose 2

Pose 3

Come into half dog. This is a perfect variation to down dog. Make sure your hips and knees are in line as you stretch you arms out in front. Place a blanket under your knees if they are sensitive. Rest your forehead on the floor. Breathe deeply into your chest. Hold for 5-10 breaths and then come back into the cat position, send the seat back to the heels and rest in child pose.Pose 3

Pose 4

If down dog is too challenging and you can’t do half dog because you have knee pain or it’s hard to get down to the floor, place your hands on blocks underneath your shoulders. Extend your spine and breathe. This is also a great variation if you have high blood pressure because the head stays level with the heart. If you don’t have blocks you can also do this with your hands at the wall with the arms extended. If the hamstrings are tight bend the knees.Pose 4

Pose 5

Come into dolphin pose. This pose is great variation to down dog if you have any kind of carpal tunnel problems or weak wrists. It also works strongly to open the chest.  Start the posture on your hands and knees in the cat position, then place your forearms on the floor directly underneath where your hands were. Make sure your elbows are shoulder width apart. Clasp your hands together inhale and lift your sitting bones to the ceiling. make sure you draw your chest towards your thighs. Bend your knees in the posture if your hamstrings are tight. Stay here for a few breaths and come down to child pose.Pose 5

Pose 6

Start in child pose. Inhale and lift your sitting bones high to the ceiling. Keep your knees bent which helps to lengthen the spine especially if you are tight in the hamstrings. Make sure your feet are no wider than your inner hips. Bring your weight towards your hips away from your hands. Feel your spine long and extended. Take a few breaths here and come back and rest again in child pose.Pose 6

 

Pose 7

To come into the full down dog position straighten your legs, make sure there is no pressure in your lower back or pain in the hamstrings. If there is, bend the knees again. Push the floor away from your hands sending the weight towards your hips. Engage your thigh muscles and breathe deeply into your chest. If you feel tightness behind the shoulders round your upper spine a little to relieve the pressure. Hold for 10 breaths unless you feel fatigued. Come down and rest in child pose.Pose 7



2015 Favourite Five

Melbourne’s mercury is currently set at 39 degrees celsius and there are no shortage of reminders that 2016 is only hours away. 2015 has been a whirlwind of a year. Challenges, blood, sweat and tears littered the way of achieving milestones. Right now, I’m breathing a massive breath of relief for surviving another year and feeling super proud of all that I have accomplished in 2015. Here are my 2015 favourite five.

  1. Passing my PhD confirmation.
    • A huge milestone for me in my PhD journey – being “confirmed” means that my project is on track and supported by my university and school. The process included submitting a detailed research plan and presenting my project to a panel of internal and external researchers who have expertise in my research topic.
    • > Read about how I look after my mental health here.
  2. Travelling to Brussels, Vancouver and Adelaide for diabetes.
    • My first European and Canadian trip! I’ve never really considered myself bitten by the travel bug. Of course I want to see the world and I consider myself to be incredibly lucky to do this now while championing for diabetes whether it be through research or the IDF Young Leaders Programme.
    • > Read about my reflections from my Brussels trip here.
  3. CGM.
    • Diabetes technology is ever evolving but is still out of reach for many due to cost. The convenience and peace of mind of being able to see trends in my sugars is a luxury I am grateful for.
    • > Read about my experiences of wearing a sensor on my arm here.
  4. Continuing to keep active.
    • Exercise or going to the gym is something I go through phrases off. Keeping it a constant throughout the year has been a struggle. Funnily enough my Fitbit has been a key motivator is getting my butt in gear.
    • > Read about how somedays a sleep in trumps gym here.
  5. Being elected as president-elect of the IDF YLD Programme.
    • I am humbled and honoured to help lead the Young Leader in Diabetes Programme towards bigger and better successes over the next few years. In Vancouver, every Young Leader I met and spoke to was filled with such intense passion to help others, it’s now up to us as executive and regional council to turn their projects into successes.
    • > Read my Thank You post to all the incredible Young Leaders here.

Here’s to a productive 2016 with new experiences, friendships, challenges and milestones. 2016, I’m ready for you!