New Year, New Fit With Diabetes Challenge!

Fit with diabetes: Let’s do this, together. 

If you need a little motivation and support to get started on your health and diabetes goals in January, why not join me in taking the Fit With Diabetes Challenge?

It’s a free, 4-week challenge focused on diabetes and exercise, healthy nutrition, and weight management with diabetes. I, along with a team of top diabetes experts, will take you through some of the most important aspects you should know about the aforementioned topics. 

The challenge starts on January 3, but you can go ahead and sign up here: https://diabetesstrong.com/diabetes-challenge/

How the Fit With Diabetes Challenge works

The Fit With Diabetes Challenge consists of five parts:

  1. Daily activities or “challenges” that take you through everything you need to do in a step-by-step fashion
  2. Articles covering the most important topics on diabetes and weight management
  3. Weekly meal plans
  4. Workout programs that you can do during the challenge (home and gym workouts)
  5. A Facebook support group for challenge participants to ask questions, share experiences and connect with other people who want to be Fit With Diabetes

Each week, there will be a giveaway where you can win awesome diabetes products from challenge sponsors like One Drop. Additionally, there will be a special discount from One Drop to all challenge participants. More on that special deal later! 

Who all should sign up? 

Did I mention that it’s totally FREE to take the challenge? Anyone and everyone is welcome to join! 

The challenge is for all fitness levels. It’s based on my own experiences with diabetes and exercise, as well as the knowledge and insights of other diabetes and exercise experts. There will be posts by:

If you are ready to join me to learn more about diabetes, weight management, and exercise, then sign up for the challenge! In 2018,  we’re getting Fit With Diabetes together!

Sign up here: https://diabetesstrong.com/diabetes-challenge/

Diabetes & Eye Care: Keep Your Vision Sharp

We’ve had huge advancements in eye care.

Thanks to new diabetes medications and devices, it has become easier than ever to improve our diabetes control and reduce the chances of developing severe eye complications.

Additionally, new cutting edge eye tests and treatments have played a major role in the decrease of diabetes retinopathy.

So much so, that the American Diabetes Association has published its first position statement on the subject in 15 years. The position statement recognizes that “diabetic retinopathy diagnostic assessment and treatment options have improved dramatically”. It also emphasizes the importance of controlling glucose, blood pressure, and lipid levels to minimize the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and of reducing its progression.

It’s easy to keep an eye on your eyes. Here’s how to make eye care a part of your daily routine.

6 tips to help you keep your eyes healthy and avoid complications related to diabetes.  

1. Schedule regular checkups.

Make an appointment with your eye doctor at least once a year. It is much easier to find and treat problems early with regular monitoring. Regular tests like dilating the pupil will help your doctor view the blood vessels in your eye and check for damage. Also, talk to your doctor about eye care specific to your needs – contacts lenses, eye drops, glasses, etc.

2. Check blood sugars often.

Maintaining your blood glucoses will help prevent damage to the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. An A1c test can help you gauge what your average blood glucose is; aim for 7️⃣% or below.

3. Manage your blood pressure.

High blood pressure alone can cause eye problems. If you have high blood pressure ⬆️↗️ and diabetes, talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your blood pressure (medication, diet, exercise). Also be sure to have your blood pressure checked regularly. For most people, it should be 140/80 or lower.

4. Check your cholesterol levels.

Get your cholesterol checked regularly. High levels of “bad” LDL are linked to blood vessel damage. Boost “good” HDL cholesterol by eating heart healthy foods, cutting out trans fats and exercising regularly. Talk to your doctor about ways you can better control your cholesterol levels. ❤️

5. Get moving.

Exercise helps you control your blood glucose, shed pounds and manage your blood pressure. ‍Talk to your doctor about a workout plan that is best for you.

6. Taste the rainbow.

A healthy diet filled with colorful foods will help you maintain or lose weight, reduce blood pressure and provide your body with essential nutrients and vitamins. Try to incorporate dark leafy greens, organic eggs (especially the yolks), fatty fish like salmon, fruits high in vitamin C and almonds into your diet. Avoid excessive carbs, this can result in high insulin levels and can disturb eyeball growth.

How Jay Cutler Tackles Type 1 Diabetes

Pro-bowler and NFL quarterback Jay Cutler is a shining example of how to successfully manage diabetes and achieve greatness 🏈

Think diabetes can stop you from becoming a pro-football player? Think again. Jay Cutler is one of many professional athletes who is proving that even though diabetes is a game-changer, it’s not the end-game.

Cutler’s Diagnosis

Cutler had an exceptional track record before receiving his T1D diagnosis. He led his Vanderbilt University team past the University of Tennessee for a 28–24 win in their 2005 season, the first since 1982, in addition to being one of the Commodores’ greatest offensive players of all time. As the third-best quarterback in the 2006 NFL draft, Cutler was picked up by the Denver Broncos — he was at the top of his game. But in 2007, while with the Broncos, he experienced significant, unexplained weight loss and reported feelings of fatigue in the 2007 season. In April of 2008, at age 25, Jay Cutler received a type one diabetes diagnosis.

I was aware I was having an issue one time last year against Kansas City. It was early in the game, first or second series, and I just didn’t feel right—I felt out of it a little, shaky.

Diabetes & the NFL

What does a NFL quarterback do when given a T1D diagnosis? “I went the whole summer just kind of dealing with it and figuring it out, test driving insulins to see what worked, what didn’t work, what my numbers were,” Cutler told ESPN. Jay had to adjust quickly to blood sugar testing.

How does a newly diagnosed T1D maintain diabetes while playing a NFL game? “I try to enter the game in the 80s knowing that when the game starts and adrenaline kicks in that I will jump up 20 to 30 points. Throughout the game I monitor & check my sugars periodically to make sure I’m still in a healthy range.” Despite this major life change, Cutler was named player of the month and top passer in the AFC during his 2008 season, and went on to play with the Bears for eight more seasons after diagnosis.

Latest & Greatest

You can live with diabetes and still live the way you want.

Since his Bronco days and diagnosis, Cutler has gone on to play for the Chicago Bears, swapped out his NFL jersey for a FOX Sports anchor position, and, most recently, signed on as the Miami Dolphins’ quarterback (as of August 2017). This pro-footballer proves time and again that diabetes is no obstacle he can’t tackle.

I want to be hands-on and make a difference. I think I got this for a reason.

What are his secrets? Cutler attributes much of his diabadass success to diet, exercise, constant blood sugar checks and being proactive. He’s lowered his sweet intake (unless, of course, he’s low – then he’ll opt for a Snickers or Milky Way), and limits carbohydrates, choosing healthy proteins, fats, and vegetables instead. Whether on or off the field, Jay Cutler continues to score big with his diabetes and we can’t wait to see how he conquers it this season with the Miami Dolphins!

One Drop Caicos: How to Build a Training Plan

One Drop Caicos Training Diaries

We are a few weeks out from the One Drop Caicos adventure, and preparations are well under way. These diabadasses have been training since January! As part of our One Drop Caicos series, team captain Erin Spineto shows us all the prep involved for their mega-trek across the Caicos Islands. 

As we prepare for the One Drop Caicos Adventure in June 2017, we are doing a ton of training. These training diaries are stories from the field and things I have learned from my time in training.

For each new expedition I go on, I am tasked with developing a training plan that will get me into shape so that I can complete the trip safely. No one wants to show up for a trip underprepared.

Caicos - Training Schedule

I have posted a portion of my training plan here and here with an explanation below in hopes that it may impart some wisdom when you have to build a training plan of your own.

Although each trip is different, there are some principles that apply to any training plan.

WHO IS TRAINING?

You should always pick a training plan that fits you.

I have learned through plenty of trial and error, with my thyroid issues, asthma, work schedule and taxi driver schedule (I have two very active kids), that my body cannot handle a seven- or even a six-day a week training schedule. I will go into over-training very quickly and will miss more weeks recovering than if I just worked out less. So I usually shoot for 3 days a week with one VERY quality, long workout each Sunday.

My husband, on the other hand, needs a seven- to ten-a-week training schedule, with his first workout of the day being a 5 a.m. swim. His body won’t reach its peak unless he pushes this hard. So you need to assess your body, your mental training style and your current life-stress load (work, school, dating, other responsibilities) and pick a plan that is reasonable. You should choose a plan that will allow you to complete 90-95% of the workouts.

THE PRE-SEASON OR BASE TRAINING PHASE

The Pre-season is set up to take me from where I am now to the base level of training that starts six months before an expedition. The most important thing to do in the pre-season is to get your body used to each sport and to learn the PROPER TECHNIQUE for each sport. Now is the time to get out that YouTube app and watch TONS of form videos. Then try to do the drills at least once a week. There is no faster way to get an injury than having bad form.

For this trip that means that by the end of the Base Period on Jan 1, I should be able to paddle for 90 minutes, bike for at least 15 miles, swim 1700 meters straight, and hike for at least 6 miles with a 25-pound backpack on.

I have more experience with long distance paddling, and I know that is usually where I end up with the most overuse injuries, so I won’t be doing many paddle workouts until January.

I spend more time walk/running than the other discipline because it is my weakness and because I can do it at home on the treadmill even after it’s dark outside, without having to worry about someone watching the kids. It is always good to work on your weaknesses in the Base Phase of training. And it never hurts to develop a plan that you know will fit into your lifestyle.

If you’re wondering why I always do 42 minutes of walk/running, it’s because that’s how long a full-length episode is of the horribly cheesy show I watch while on my treadmill.

SIX MONTHS PRIOR TO TRIP

One of the most important parts of a training plan for a long-distance endurance event is the long run, or long paddle, swim, or hike. For the Jan to June Training Plan I have listed the long workouts for each week. These are mandatory workouts. I usually try to do them on a Sunday since I have more time then and make sure that I never wuss out on one of these.

These workouts should be done slow. At a speed where you feel like you could go on forever. You want to find the pace where your body can clear and get rid of the lactic acid your muscles produce during exercise faster than it is produced. At this speed, you won’t end up with any lactic acid buildup, which means you can go for much longer. This is the “you could talk in full paragraphs or almost sing” pace.

HOW TO FILL THE REST OF THE WEEK

For the rest of the week, once again, try to find out how many workouts your body and life can handle. Ultimately, it would be best to do each sport at least once a week. The other workouts during the week will be shorter, more in the 40-120 minutes range and focus on form or some speed.

Swimming will present an interesting challenge for this trip. On day three, we will be traversing nine islands. So we will hike the length of each island and then swim between islands, contending with the currents and pulling our waterproof backpacks behind us.

Around week 12, I will start to practice with my setup to pull my bag behind me. The dry backpacks will contain all of our gear and be floated behind us with a sort of strap that attaches to a waist belt.

Starting at week 14,  I will get used to riding a cruiser with some weight on it, either in a basket on the front or in a backpack. It will change how I balance and will usually work my arms a little more, so I will have to get used to it.

I will also spend some time around week 12 getting used to a SUP with 30-40 lbs of gear on the front. I will probably start to play with the actual gear I will bring on the trip. Gear tends to move around and there are hacks you can work on to make sure it stays balanced and tied down well.  A lot of that knowledge comes from just playing with different configurations and seeing how it works with your stuff.

I will also try to spend some time in a place with waves or chop. Balancing on a board with chop is a skill best learned at home before the trip and can only be learned by spending a lot of time in the chop.

I will find some super windy days and get used to paddling into the wind, with the wind, and at a 90-degree angle to the wind. These all feel very different. The wind will be at around 12-15 mph each afternoon on our trip. Most of the time it will be at our backs, but it can come in from the side or ahead of us too.

PERIODIZATION

Every fifth week, fourth for the first month, will be a rest week. This is the week that you back off on workouts, cutting both intensity and time, so that your body has a chance to recover. This is the most important week of all five. It is the time when the last four weeks of work pay off.

TAPER

The last two weeks before I go will be taper weeks. This means the overall distance of my workouts and frequency will reduce, but not the quality. The first week should be at 75% of the total distance and frequency. The second week should be at 50%.

WHEN IN DOUBT…

If you haven’t done a few pre-built training plans, it is always a good idea to start there, especially for common distances like a 5k or a half-marathon. Use those until you get a good idea of what you are capable and what works for you. Then you can start to use your knowledge to build plan for yourself.

When you get into more rare sports or distances, it always pays off to ask people who are more experienced than you. They have gathered much wisdom that can be critical to your success.

7 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

7 ways to lower blood pressure naturally

Your heart pumps blood every time it beats. This blood gives energy and oxygen to every part of your body. Therefore, it is important to keep your heart healthy at every age! If you maintain a lower blood pressure, then you will limit the strain on your heart and reduce you risk of health complications such as stroke.

The average heartbeat

Understanding Your Numbers

Picture this–You are at the doctor’s. She takes your blood pressure and turns to you. “100 over 70.” It seems like she’s happy, but… What does that mean!?

How to interpret blood pressureTop number: systolic blood pressure

When your heart beats, it contracts and pushes blood through your arteries. The pressure created by this force is called your systolic blood pressure. A normal reading is below 120 while a reading of 140 or more indicates hypertension (high blood pressure).

Bottom number: diastolic blood pressure

Your diastolic blood pressure is the pressure in the arteries when your heart rests between beats. At this time, the heart fills with blood and oxygen. A normal reading is below 80 while a reading of 90 or higher indicates hypertension (1).

Diabetes and High Blood Pressure

The combination of diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure) significantly increases your risk of deadly complications including:

Hypertension is a silent problem—you may not know you have high blood pressure until your provider checks. So, get your blood pressure tested every year!

7 Ways to Minimize without Medication

Medication isn’t the only way to lower your blood pressure. Consider the following lifestyle changes to reduce your blood pressure and keep it down!

1: Lose weight

As your weight increases, your blood pressure is also more likely to increase. Losing as little as 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) can help! (2)

2: Watch your waistline

Extra inches around your waistline can increase your blood pressure so, limit the amount of body fat around your stomach. Men’s waist measurements should be less than 40 inches (102 cm) and women’s waist measurements should be less than 35 inches (89 cm) (2).

3: Exercise

The best exercise to reduce blood pressure is any exercise, so take your pick! (3) Many people enjoy walking, cycling, swimming, dancing, or weight lifting! Find out what works best for you, and move for at least 30 minutes a day. If that seems overwhelming then, complete three 10-minute workouts to gain the same benefits! (4)

4: Choose healthy foods

Stock your fridge with healthy options that are low in sodium and high in nutrients that can help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium (5) (6).

  • Eat whole, healthy foods. Dark leafy greens and fish are heart healthy choices!
  • Avoid processed (boxed) foods whenever possible
  • Read food labels to check for sodium (Learn how)

5: Limit alcohol

Drinking alcohol in small amounts may slightly lower your blood pressure. But having more than 1-2 drinks can actually raise your blood pressure by several points and could reduce how well your hypertension medications work (7).

6: Quit smoking

Cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine narrows your arteries and as a result, raises your heart rate and blood pressure. Smoking increases your risk of hypertension, heart attack, and stroke. If you quit smoking, then you can lower your risk of these complications and your blood pressure (8).

Not a smoker? Inhaling secondhand smoke also puts you at risk of high blood pressure and other health issues.

7: Breathe

While chronic stress may not directly cause hypertension, stress contributes to hypertension by promoting unhealthy habits linked to high blood pressure (e.g., binge eating or drinking, smoking) (9). Meditation is an excellent way to reduce stress and lower your blood pressure! Check out our One Drop Guide to Meditation.

Ready for an adventure? Meet the One Drop Caicos team!

One Drop Caicos Team

Erin and the Sea Peptide Salties to Trek 120 miles

Who doesn’t love a good trip to the Caribbean? Sparkling blue seawater, white sand beaches . . . And when you’ve got a T1D crew island hopping by way of hiking, swimming, cycling and paddleboarding, it sounds like the most picture-perfect adventure there could ever be! Enter Erin Spineto and her Sea Peptide Salties.  Each year, Erin leads a team of T1Ds on an adventure that would whip anyone into shape! Erin sums up her philosophy in 3 sentences:

  • Every person with diabetes can be happy.
  • Every person with diabetes needs others to commiserate with, to plan with, and to adventure with.

  • Your big adventure may not be the same as my big adventure — but whatever your BIG is, you can find a way to make it safe even with diabetes.

This Year’s Challenge

For their 2017 adventure, this gang of four is headed to the Caicos islands for straight-up sea, sun and swim, with a little diabetes sprinkled on top.

“The goal is just to get a group of type 1’s together to push what we think we are capable of,” explains Erin, captain of the 2017 adventure. She’s rounding up the troops in the Caicos islands, both north and south, for major island hopping (not to be confused with bar hopping, although sandbars will definitely be involved). Erin’s been adventuring like this for the past 5 years, making this her sixth Great Adventure. This year, she’s joined with Kati and Erika. They’ll be covering 50 miles on paddle boards, 20 miles hiking and swimming, and another 50 miles on bikes — for a total of 120 miles from South Caicos to North Caicos.

The team has already started hardcore training (January 1st, to be exact), and we’re hopping on board with them to get a feel for how all four of these kick-ass T1D’s are able to train and execute such an amazing feat – all while maintaining their BGs in the middle of uninhabited islands and waters. Before getting down and dirty with training routines, though, we wanted to introduce our One Drop fam to the crew!

What does it take to make the One Drop Caicos Team?

Erin emphasizes that having a good attitude and being flexible are key:

Each August, I open up the application period for the next year’s adventure. I am looking for people who have a good attitude and are flexible. It is so important when you travel with people that they are the type of people who can have everything go wrong and still look at it like a fun part of the adventure.

 

So, I look for people who want to be a part of a team not those who will force their ideas and demand that others follow. People who are encouraging and hold others peoples needs in high regard. We will all be pushing ourselves to the limit. We’ll all get moody and snap at some point in the trip. So knowing that that is a natural part of the journey is helpful.

And you don’t need to be a star athlete to join:

A good background in sport is important but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the sport we will be doing. This time, Kati has a background in synchronized swimming.

Meet the team!

So, now that Erin’s given us a rundown of everything these ladies are doing to prepare for this epic adventure, let’s meet the team! From now through the summer, we’ll be following their progress and keeping you updated on how they are training hard, having fun, and keeping it #diabadass.

How do you train for a challenge like this?

Although this crew has been training since last summer, the real training began on January 1st. The team spent August through December building a base of fitness, gathering their gear, and learning good form so that their bodies could handle all of the intense training they’ve been doing since the new year.

We all have such different backgrounds, lives, and bodies that we don’t all follow the same training plan. I tend to go into overtraining rather quickly so I max out at about three quality workouts a week with plenty of rest, stretching, compression clothing and pumping in between. I don’t know if this is a result of having to deal with thyroid issues on top of diabetes, my day job, my side job and my family, or the fact that I am just getting older.

 

Some of the younger girls can handle six or more workouts a week and feel better that way, so they do that. But we all do the same long workout each weekend to stay on track.

As for the workouts themselves, they are varied and intense! But, of course, plenty of rest is also built into the plan:

The workouts rotate through all of our disciplines — hiking, stand up paddleboarding, swimming, and cycling on Electra Cruisers — with a focus on paddling, since such a large part of our trip, 50 miles, will be on Stand Up Paddleboards (a.k.a. “SUPs”). And it is also one of the more dangerous of the activities. With cycling, if we need to pull over or stop, we can. With SUP we will be covering 50 miles of uninhabited islands and waters. So, pulling over isn’t really an option.

 

Our workouts will increase in intensity at a set interval so that we don’t stress out our bodies too much, usually never more than a 10% increase each week. We also have built into the plan a rest week every five weeks.

 

And they’re off!

What a great source of inspiration to keep us all moving this 2017! We can’t wait to see the progress as Erin, Erika, and Kati push themselves to the limit. Go team! #OneDropCaicos

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10,000 Pasos Para Reducir La Glucosa En La Sangre

Estar activo físicamente es una parte importante para mantenerse saludable. ¡Pero no tiene que ser complicado! Estudios han demostrado que caminar 10,00 pasos al día es una manera genial para alcanzar la Salud óptima.

¿Sabía usted que caminar 10,000 pasos también puede ayudarle a controlar su diabetes?

Revisa nuestra guía de One Drop 10,000 pasos a:

  • descubra cómo caminar puede ayudarle a cumplir sus metas de glucosa en la sangre, y
  • obtenga tips específicos sobre cómo incorporar estos pasos a su rutina diaria, sin importar su nivel de actividad!

A pesar de que 10,000 puede sonar como muchos pasos, en realidad es muy factible. ¡Es alrededor de 1.5 horas de caminata por día! Y no tiene que hacerlo todo en una vez. Haga sus pasos en cualquier momento que pueda — incluso caminar de un lado a otro durante llamadas telefónicas cuenta. 😉

10,000-pasos

Amy’s T1D Adventure: Marathoning From Sydney to Boston

Amy's T1D Adventure: Sydney Marathon Prep

My Sydney marathon training kicked off when I landed back home in May, after running up and down mountains in Latin America for 8 months. I was hoping the “altitude training” would pay off, with only 4 months until Sydney – the one marathon where I had the chance to qualify for the Boston Marathon in April 2017. To qualify for Boston, I had to run at least 3:35 in Sydney. Even with that time, there was no guarantee it would be fast enough to get me into Boston. The faster you run above the qualifying time, the higher your chance of getting accepted. And getting into the Boston Marathon is like getting the golden ticket in a Willy Wonka chocolate – a runner’s dream.

Sydney Prep

Amy's T1D Adventure: Sydney Marathon

My training tactics for Sydney weren’t nearly as disciplined as they were for the NY Marathon. I didn’t follow a specific marathon training plan. Instead, I decided to do a self-made routine of long runs, sporadic sprint training, strength training, high-intensity interval training and some much-needed yoga. I determined to run a lot, get a little bit stronger and a little bit faster. I had a few races in before Sydney: the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, the Sydney Harbour 10K, the Sydney City2Surf 14K, and a final 35K trail race 2 weeks out from the marathon. I PR’d in all of these, but the races push you to your limits and can tire you out. That was plenty of training for me.

Getting Those BGs In Check

My BGs were relatively well behaved until I started my new job just a month after returning home. My new hours flip-flopped my routine from morning runs to post-work evening runs. That switch in my routine began spiking my morning BGs so that I was running high after breakfast, and continuing on the same path throughout the day. While trying to get my BGs in check, I was also trying to refuel from my intense training. Let’s just say, my fuelling strategy was not up to scratch. I was restricting my usual carbohydrate intake. Only after returning to my morning run routine did my BGs improve dramatically and increase my insulin sensitivity.

Amy's T1D Adventure: Prepping for Sydney Marathon

Leading up to race day I was feeling good. I wasn’t quite as strong as I wanted to be, and I was a bit mentally tired. But I had my eye on the goal and felt my training had me positioned for a good result. Race day started at 3am when I woke up after a very restless sleep. With a BG of 160, I ate a bowl of buckwheat groats, almond milk and some strawberries. I went back to bed for 2 hours, then woke up at 5am with a BG of 95. Dressed with a banana in hand, I headed out the door.

Getting Started

I was lucky enough to be in the front group of runners just behind the elites, so crossed the start line just after 7am with a BG of 250. I always want to start a race with a BG of approx. 200. I didn’t need a pre-race snack, but I had plenty of backup in my waste belt, just in case. I started out fast and feeling good. Weaving in and out of fellow runners and setting a good pace of approx. 7:25 per mile.  

I managed to keep this pace until mile 20, even after stepping on a stone and bruising the bottom of my foot at the half way mark. At mile 5, I gave 0.3 units of insulin to get my BGs down a bit so I could refuel with a Clif bar and some apricot bites 30 minutes later. I kept my BG between 160-180 most of the race, not wanting to risk letting it go too low.

Halfway There

Coming up a small hill just before hitting mile 20, I saw my Dad cheering me on. “GO AMES, you can run a 3:20!” This gave me just the energy boost I needed as my legs started to tire and my mind struggled to filter out the pain. It was great having the support of my Dad, who got up early just to get to the sideline in enough time to cheer me on.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

The last 7 miles were tough. My BGs were okay, so I didn’t plan on eating any more food unless they started to drop. I only consumed 70g of carbs the whole marathon, while the recommended fuelling is 20g of carbs every 20 minutes. I was getting thirstier at each water station, and drinking more to try and stay hydrated enough to take me to the finish line. I hadn’t hit the wall, but my legs definitely didn’t want to move any faster and the ball of my foot was hurting from that damn stone. I knew if I could keep my pace I would be closer to a 3:20 finish.

Amy's T1D Adventure: Running the Sydney Marathon

For the last 5 miles, all my focus was on getting to the next mile. Repeating the “Boston” lyrics over and over in my head proved to be the best form of inspiration. I tried to stay in a positive mindset and push through the pain. The last mile I used all the adrenaline in my body to speed up and cross the finish line in 3:25:56 – 14 minutes faster than NY and 9 minutes faster than the official Boston qualifying time. Most importantly, my BG was nicely sitting at 190.

The Result?

Two weeks later, I was accepted to participate in the Boston Marathon! An achievement I believe I only reached because of my type 1 diabetes. It was my diabetes that gave me the resilience, determination and belief that I could finish the race. 

Here’s What I Learned

To finish, here are my top 3 tips for a marathon:

  1. Trial (and error) everything in training – this is essential so you are prepared for any situation on race day. Not only do you need to trial your pace and refueling strategy like any other marathoner. As diabetics, we also must trial food or gels that will sustain us but won’t spike our BGs; we need to trial running and testing our BGs multiple times – having good BGs is key for good performance. We also need to trial our approach if we have a low – do we stop and walk for 5 minutes, or can we continue running and treating at the same time? How much insulin do we need to give if our BGs are running high? For me, 0.2 units through my insulin pump is more than enough to bring me back in range from a 200 mg/dL reading.
  2. Have a plan for race day. Know what you are going to carry on you and how you are going to carry it. I always wear a waistband and take a backup insulin pen (in case my pump fails), my BG meter (even though I wear my CGM), hypo supplies and refueling supplies (a mix of Clif energy bars and apricot slices).
  3. Make sure you have something to identify you as a type 1 diabetic – whether it be a MedicAlert bracelet, card or  tattoo (if you like permanent identification like me). This is really important in case you have a hypo or another marathon related incident, like heat exhaustion or dehydration. You want the medical team to know you have type 1 diabetes. That way, they can be aware and treat you correctly.

Amy's T1D Adventure: Amy + Dad Post-Marathon

My final tip: Don’t let diabetes stop you from doing anything you want. Now, let the Boston training begin. See you in April, 2017.

4 ways Apple is helping prevent and manage diabetes

Apple Watch

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, says healthcare is an “enormous” opportunity for Apple. It’s led to the Health app, HealthKit, ResearchKit, and, more recently, CareKit. Last week, Apple hired a medical doctor. In the summer, they hired a pharmaceutical executive and an endocrinologist specializing in diabetes.

The new iPhone, Apple Watch, and iOS software are more health-focused than ever before, promoting health in a number of different ways.

How is Apple helping people prevent and manage diabetes?

Apple is using mobile tech to help people sleep better, reduce stress, eat healthier, and be active. All of these things can prevent diabetes, and, if diagnosed, help keep it in check.

1 – Promoting better sleep

Sleep is critical for everyone. Both not sleeping enough (less than 7 hours) and sleeping too much (more than 8 hours) can lead to diabetes. People (with or without diabetes) who don’t get good shut-eye tend to make unhealthy food choices. Blood glucose is harder to manage, and it takes a toll on physical and mental health.

love Get some rest

The iPhone clock app has a new Bedtime feature to help people sleep better. You can:

  • Enter what time you want to wake up and what days you want to wake up at that time.
  • Set goals for how many hours of sleep you want each night, and get a reminder when it’s time for sleep, and an alarm when it’s time to wake up.
  • See your full sleep history, and keep track of how well you’ve been doing.

With Bedtime, you can finally get your sleep schedule on track, which so many of us struggle to do!

2 – Promoting less stress

Stress and diabetes go hand in hand. Unhealthy responses to stress (e.g. emotional eating, drinking too much, etc.) can wreak havoc on our bodies. When we’re stressed, it can be difficult to take good care of ourselvesmanage blood glucose levels, eat healthfully and stay on top of our medications.

What’s the solution? Mindfulness: bringing your attention to the present, while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings and thoughts.

Studies show mindfulness helps keep blood glucose levels in range.

love Take a minute to Breathe

WatchOS 3’s new ‘Breathe’ app does a great job of promoting mindfulness by:

  • Reminding you to relax, focus, and meditate.
  • Guiding you through a series of deep breaths.
  • Displaying a series of circles that expand and contract as you breathe with the app.
  • Giving taptic feedback during each Breathe session.
  • Displaying completed Breathe sessions and a user’s heart rate.

It’s the perfect app for anyone wanting to keep stress at bay.

One Drop + Apple
One Drop fully integrates Apple HealthKit and CareKit, so you can track all your health and fitness data in one place.

 

3 – Promoting healthier food choices

When people think about diabetes, they instantly think about food. Food choices have a big impact on diabetes management and development. Healthy eating is key to managing blood glucose and living a long, healthy life.

love Keep track of what you eat

Apple wants to help people keep track of what they eat — whether counting carbs, calories, or fat grams. Through HealthKit, third-party apps like One Drop get data entered into Health or other apps. One Drop users can then keep an even closer eye on how their meals, medications, and activity — combined — affect their blood glucose.

4 – Promoting physical activity

Physical activity is good for everyone. For people with diabetes, exercise helps blood glucose levels.

Apple Watch Series 2 can help iPhone owners with diabetes who want a fast and durable activity tracker. Like the first Watch, the Series 2 measures steps, calories, distance, heart rate, and logs workouts.

The new Watch Series 2 has some additional perks. It has a standalone integrated GPS, a faster processor, and is water-resistant. It’s designed for more types of activities and wearers. It’s for people who want all of their activity tracked on land or in water, and without their iPhone nearby.

love Go for a swim

The Workout app has new pool swim and open water workout options. Swimming is a great activity if you’ve got diabetes. It:

  • improves cardiovascular fitness
  • strengthens major muscles, so muscle cells can better absorb glucose
  • is less stressful on the feet than other activities
  • prevents joint injuries or arthritis for people who are older or overweight

love Track movement more accurately

WatchOS 3 also stops tracking activity when you stop walking or running, say at a stop light. It resumes once you start moving again. This improves the accuracy of the activity being tracked.

WatchOS 3’s Activity app is also easier to use during workouts. Pressing the side button and digital crown at the same time now pauses a workout. This makes it easier to take breaks and start up again without logging rest time by accident.

There’s also a new watch face that shows Activity rings, and you can easily share your activity with others. The idea is to provide shared incentives, get support, and exercise more with friends and family. As Dr. Mayberry and I have shown, this kind of support helps people with diabetes eat better and be more active.

Personal Anecdote

I got the iPhone 7 on the day it was released. My husband got the iPhone 7 Plus and the Apple Watch Series 2. He immediately shared his Activity rings with me. I’m now reminded, daily, of his perfect 3-ring activity streak. I’m helping him continue that streak even though I haven’t become more active. I have, however, started to sleep more and be less stressed.

Any way you slice it, doing one or all of the above results in a healthier and and happier life. Everybody wins.