fbpx

Real Talk with Dave: How To do Disneyland as a Diabetic

   We all know Disneyland is The Happiest Place on Earth, however, going to the park as a Type 1 Diabetic can be somewhat of a challenge and not always the happiest it could be. This past week, I had the privilege of spending my 21st birthday at Disneyland and I came across some minor challenges and things I had to figure out throughout the day, but through it all, I learned some valuable bits of knowledge to carry around with me whenever I am out on the go for a long period of time away from home. I have put together some helpful tips and tricks in making your trip to Disneyland, or any other long day trip by that token, a fun and enjoyable experience.

DO:

1/ Plan your day: When going to Disneyland, you may not want to worry about T1D getting in the way of your fun, however, it is very important, especially as a Diabetic, to plan out your day, what time you will arrive, leave, eat your meals, etc., so that you can arrange accordingly your day and ensure the most fun and less stress during your Disney day! When you know approximately what time things will take place, you can plan how many snacks you should bring to regulate your blood sugars throughout the day as you walk around the park, you can know what you will be doing and when, making sure you have all the right supplies in case of an emergency, and so on.

2/ Bring enough (and more) supplies: When going literally ANYWHERE as a Diabetic, it is always smart to have all the necessary supplies that will be of great help, whether in an emergency or not. Always planning ahead and preparing for the worst is key in making sure you have the best outing possible. When I go to Disneyland, I have a backpack with me at ALL times and in that backpack, I carry different pouches and cases full of backup pump sites, syringes (incase my pump were to somehow break), batteries, alcohol swabs, juice and glucose tabs, water, and so much more because nobody ever knows what may happen as the day goes by and it is better to have all the supplies readily available with you than having to leave the park and go home simply because your site went bad, perhaps. I typically advise that you bring a second backup of everything, just in case your first backup tends to fail somehow. Yes, your bag may be heavier than you would like at this point, but it is better to be safe than sorry!

3/ Stand your ground: As a Diabetic, one of the most frustrating things can be dealing with uneducated people (such as security or anybody else in the public eye) and having to explain what your Insulin pump or medications are for can be somewhat of a challenge (sometimes). When going through security, depending on the guard at the time, be prepared to explain your Diabetes to them and don’t let them force you in through the metal detector, resulting in your pump to breakdown from radiation. Simply explain the dangers of going through with a pump and most of the time, they are very understanding and kind, they just may have to pat you down or use a wand, which isn’t all that bad, again, better safe than sorry. Your right as a Diabetic allows you to carry all your supplies, food, and drinks with you at all times, as you are dealing with a chronic disease that shouldn’t be cared for lightly.

DON’T:

1/ Forget to stop and check: When at Disneyland, you’ll probably be so caught up in all the fun, that the last thing you will want to do is worry about your T1D. However, it is important that every now and then, you stop and take a rest to check your blood sugars and treat accordingly. You will have a much better time knowing that your numbers are just fine if you simply take mini breaks throughout the day to care for yourself!

2/ Show up to the park with an almost empty pump reservoir: It happens, but sometimes, we need to take a step back and think before we act. When going on a fun-filled day, we MUST always make sure we have a decent amount of Insulin in our pumps (or carry an extra vile of insulin) as you never know what emergencies you may run into. Also, when at Disneyland, you may run into foods and treats that you want to allow yourself to have and most of those foods may be high in carbs/sugar, requiring larger amounts of Insulin. When I know I will be out of the house for a full day, I always either change my pump site the night before, allowing for a full reservoir of Insulin or I just make sure I have a fresh new vile of Insulin that I carry around with me throughout the day incase my pump goes empty, in which depending on the weather, you will need to make sure your Insulin stays cool and out of direct sunlight or severe cold temperatures.

3/ Have only a few sources of sugar on hand: One of the scariest parts about T1D is going low and we all know the panic that comes with low blood sugars. Always make sure you have some form of sugar on hand throughout the day (depending on how long you will be away from home) and if you somehow run out of sugar as the day goes by, RESTOCK! Stop what you are doing and go buy some juice or candy right away, because you don’t know when your next low may hit and if you are not prepared and find yourself standing in a long line to pay for some sugar when you are low, it won’t be a fun time and that will add to your panic. Like mentioned above, ALWAYS be prepared!

To sum up, going to Disneyland is supposed to be a fun time for you, so to take out the stress and ensure that you will have a great day, try and follow these tips during your next adventure!  

Live well,

 

Dave

How to Turn Your LYFE on in 2018

The holiday season is the best time of the year, filled with family, food, and laughter! As much as everyone loves gingerbread cookies, pumpkin bread, and all of the holiday drinks, too much of a good thing can take a toll on our health goals. Here are some recommendations on how to start the new year off strong, and stick to your goals!

  1. Make sure your health and fitness goals are attainable! Setting goals that are challenging, but reachable, is key. An example of this could be, going for a 30-minute walk or run everyday, cutting refined sugar out the diet, consuming less meat (especially red).  For Type 1’s, having a lower A1C, eating less carbohydrates, or food logging daily could be great goals!
  2. Don’t forget about your mental health.  This time of year drives motivation to get healthy and “fit”, but often, we forget to take care of our mental health. The holidays can be a stressful time, and it is important to recharge mental so you can start 2018 fresh! Yoga, meditation, reading, journaling–  anything that brings you joy and releases stress should be a priority, just as much as a hard workout!
  3. Find a friend! Whether it is a workout buddy, an “Instagram friend”, or just a close friend who you share your goals with– it is important to have someone to share the journey with, and keep you accountable!

Remember to give yourself some credit! Celebrate the victories along the way, big or small.  

The Lyfebulb Philosophy – An Introduction

img_4349 

  • Work Hard
  • Eat Well
  • Exercise Regularly
  • Expand your Horizons
  • Relax Frivolously
  • Do Good

We believe that living well and being happy with yourself include all these components. It is not enough to work hard and play hard but we need to take care of our bodies and minds as well. Treating our bodies as finely tuned machines is a method top athletes are used to and that works for periods of our lives but to succeed to be overall happy the human being needs more than just fuel and toning, we also need intellectual stimulation, feeling needed and to use our hearts.

I have lived a life that has been divided into different phases, the first phase as being a child athlete in gymnastics, track and field and tennis which required me to keep my body very strong and flexible.

This changed when I was diagnosed with diabetes a few days before my 17th birthday after which I dedicated many years to forcing my brain to take in as much as possible about my own disease and show the world that I could compete well in academics and later on in the work place. I did not focus on my health for a few years and due partly to my lack of care for my own body, it broke down and forced me to switch focus again.

After having to solve for several complications to diabetes, such as kidney failure, vision loss and general dysfunction, I started the third phase of my life, which now took into account my body and mind, but I still had not included my heart. When you are fighting for your life, it is hard to think about what you can do for others, but survival instincts take over and the individual becomes selfish. I see this a lot in people who have chronic disease, they tend to feel sorry for themselves during periods of time and it will take some soul-searching until they realize that helping others, ie doing good makes you feel and even look better!

When I realized all this, more than 20 years after my diagnosis I felt a new kind of energy and motivation that reached beyond making money or getting ahead. I wanted to make a difference but to do that, I needed to take very good care of my mind and body.

For me, my motivation changed from being a competitive athlete, star student and young professional trying to make it, into an adult with some disabilities but with a clear compass for what I wanted to accomplish and how I wanted to be seen.

I think motivation is the driver for behavior and any program to affect health, esthetics or performance need to include strong motivational triggers, otherwise technology, diets, gyms do not work.

My simple advice to anyone who wants to keep a healthy diet is to eat a balanced diet, with proteins, fats and carbohydrates, but to reduce the portion sizes and the amounts of simple carbs, saturated fats and red meat as soon as you want to reduce weight. Another important trick is to have many smaller meals, rather than a few heavy ones, to never have a large meal late in the evening and to replace alcohol with water as much as possible. You want to keep your metabolism high and working, which you do not do if you starve yourself and skip meals. Coffee is a great metabolism booster, although there are side effects to consider if you are hypertensive or if you have GI issues.

Regarding exercise, my simple advice again is to be regular and to incorporate physical activity daily, almost as a part of your routine. It could be a walk in the morning, after lunch and dinner, taking the stairs and to walk the distance from the last bus stop before reaching your home. If I do not have time to get to the gym or go for a run in the Park, I pay extra attention to my body during the day and do small things such as lifting my legs while sitting, tightening my muscles in meetings or volunteering to do errands (will make you popular in the office). Getting your heart pumping is critical and using your muscles will build tone and make you look better.

At Lyfebulb we also believe in broadening your horizons beyond work and exercise. This means that we encourage individuals to participate in activities that are not directly related to your work, for example music, art, antiques, theater, movies. This is different than just enjoying some time off, which falls under the category of relaxing and we add the word “frivolously” to make sure there is no required learning in the relaxation.

Personally, broadening of my horizons is the most difficult pillar to incorporate in my life and that has to do with my competitive spirit. If I am not very good at something, I rarely participate actively, just passively, as a form of relaxation. For example, I love watching movies, but I do not push myself to watch so-called intellectual movies or classics unless they are enjoyable. I do not listen to music to learn about a composer/artist or genre, only to feel happy or work out. I love fashion, but only if the clothes appeal to me personally and if I would consider buying them. I am not interested in their history, the designer or how they were originated or made. I have a strong sense and clear views on esthetics – but only for my own pleasure.

Lastly, doing good – something we feel we should all be doing daily and always keep the concept in mind. It actually should not even be a thought, but it should be inherent to your character –  we believe that people who are good, normally do well!

So now let us get back to motivation. What drove me to become a top tennis player in my country as a teenager? Not doing good, not to be healthy and not to be rich, but I was driven by the motivation of winning, becoming a champion and the satisfying feeling that I was truly excellent at something. A similar feeling drove me to do well in school, but the direction my studies took me also included the motivation to learn more about my personal disease and to be part of the race toward a cure. I wanted to graduate with two degrees from a top university in record time, and so I did. But when I had reached that goal, my motivation to pursue medicine was lower than my motivation to become successful financially and to again prove to the world that I could do something very hard, ie move careers and become a successful young woman in finance despite my scientific background. Although it appealed to me to make money, financial success was never the driver, while “winning” still was. I set up goals for myself, in getting great jobs, performing well in meetings and being recognized for my intelligence. When I got very sick due to genetic predisposition to microvascular complications and mismanagement of diabetes, I was motivated by a different driver – health.

I needed to get back in shape metabolically to continue the life I was living, and although I made big changes, this fight required double transplants and lots of medical care to get to the point where I am now.

 

What motivates me now – health and doing good are at the forefront, success at work and personally are secondary. I want to be happy and I want to make others happy. I love seeing the work we do at Lyfebulb make a true difference for people and that I can use my experiences to help others – companies, individuals, foundations and hospitals. I guess I still like to be recognized and my inherent insecurities push me to work very hard and to continue my quest, but I never forget to keep space open for my health which clearly is backed by how I eat, exercise, relax and how I expand my horizons!

My advice to others is to recognize your personal motivation – it may differ from mine. If you focus on your looks, health, family, net worth really does not matter. All that matters is that you use your trigger at the moments when you need to make decisions and that you keep in mind the 6 Lyfebulb pillars of our Philosophy.

For example –

1: if your motivation is your family, keep them at the forefront of your mind when you are faced with stress. When you are close to eating the wrong meals, skipping your daily exercise or when you are close to making an unethical decision – think about your family and how they will suffer if you are no longer strong and happy.

2: if your trigger is your financial situation, think about the long term and how your health is critical to your pocketbook and that making short term profits while disregarding your waistline and your morals will not enable you to enjoy the money for a very long time

3: if your driver is your appearance, consider the food you are eating or avoiding to eat and the exercise you are dropping or overdoing. It is equally bad for your appearance long term to be too skinny as it is to be too fat. Health is reflected by your appearance, so if you drop your driver, your health will be suffering a great deal.

We will be featuring a number of ideas to stay on the plan – simple, enjoyable and motivational posts will be launched on our various social media outlets. Stay tuned and do not hesitate to reach out to tell your story and to ask us more about ours!

Interests - Select all that apply