I’ll never forget how it felt to step on my yoga mat to practice the day after I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2008. I was distraught, afraid and disillusioned. The tears flowed like a river and I couldn’t imagine the road ahead. My doctor had armed me with some pamphlets and told me to google diabetes. Back then I wasn’t on insulin and still had quite a bit of my beta cell function so worrying about insulin and exercise wasn’t an issue. My practice that day took me on a journey. With every pose, I felt myself calming down. The more I followed my breath the less my mind freaked out. By the end, I felt restored and ready. Ready to confront what lay ahead.
At diagnosis, I thought I had to tackle diabetes on my own, I didn’t know there was a thriving community of people supporting each other with diabetes and I hadn’t met Christel Oerum the founder of Diabetes Strong.
Christel is a powerhouse who hasn’t let diabetes stop her. She’s tall, strong and looks like a warrior goddess. After meeting her in person, I can attest to the fact that she’s a motivator of note. We met at the Diabetes Sisters Conference in October. I was in charge of leading the yoga classes and she was leading the morning fitness workout. Our approaches couldn’t be more different but our message is the same. Working with the body is a total buzz.
Recently Christel asked me to check out her new e-book, Fit with Diabetes which is all about how to incorporate exercise and healthy eating into your daily life with diabetes.
Having started fast-acting insulin just 7 weeks ago I am now much more concerned about how exercise impacts my blood sugar levels. Being someone who loves to walk, swim, dance and do yoga I’ve been concerned about having too much insulin on board. Christel’s book and her message couldn’t have come at a better time.
The book begins with Christel’s personal story, not so much about her diagnosis but her discovery of how to work with insulin and exercise. She looked everywhere in the traditional medical and diabetes community for answers and no one could give her a precise formula so she decided to create her own.
What I love about Christel’s writing style and the format of this book is that everything is in easy to digest bytes. The first chapter sets the scene for assessing our goals and motivation for getting fit with diabetes.
As she states clearly, “in order to start any new fitness regime you need, clear and realistic goals for what you want to achieve and the (positive) motivation that will allow you to work towards your goals on a daily basis”
She then heads into some real-life examples of how she’s helped her clients to set measurable goals. Throughout the book, she either refers to her own life experience or the experiences of others. As the reader it makes me feel like I can make the necessary changes to be fitter and healthier.
The chapters that follow are about the different types of exercise and how diabetes might impact your blood sugar management. Topics like diabetes and cardio, diabetes and resistance training include relevant information like; how to manage each type of workout with a pump or MDI (multiple daily injections). She also covers how to reduce the risk of low blood sugar during and after exercise.
Her explanations are clear and supportive. She even provides a chapter on how to find your unique formula to take the mystery out of the math I feel I have to do every time I set out to exercise. If you’re still not sure about diving into the different types of workouts there are more case studies and real-life examples to relate to.
After you’ve found your individual formula she moves on to describe how to design your own home or gym work out. Throughout the book, you’ll find inspiring photos of Christel doing various workouts including a series of workouts you can implement straight away.
One of my favorite chapters is the one on nutrition and exercise and why it’s so important to have a healthy diet. As food is such a minefield in the diabetes world I like how she emphasizes that her approach to eating has to do with fuelling her workouts. In my opinion, she has a great attitude. We need a certain number of calories and carbs to approach different types of workouts and it’s not one size fits all. This chapter is all about working out your daily calorie and carb intake and includes some nutritious meal plans and how to create your own meal plans. The photos of Christel’s meals are mouth-watering!
Finally, there is a chapter on diabetes and losing weight. As she says, “weight management with diabetes can be done. It’s not impossible and it’s not out of reach”
This chapter is all about understanding the relationship between weight, insulin and calorie intake and what to do about it. I know for myself one of my concerns with starting a full insulin regime was that I’d gain weight. Understanding the mechanics of what actually causes weight gain helped me to reframe my thinking.
I have been learning on my journey with diabetes that what I need to nourish myself, how I respond to insulin and how exercise affects me is unique. Experimenting, try new things and finding peer support are all ways I stay balanced and well with diabetes.
So what do I think of this book? A huge thumbs up!!! I’ll be referring to this informative, inspiring and motivating book, again and again, to find confidence and support as I continue to navigate my life with diabetes. Thanks Christel for creating this incredible resource!
with great respect…