When diagnosed, doctors give you the basic information you need to get by with Type 1 diabetes. It's completely up to you to find the extra information you need to live a fulfilling life with Type 1. At the end of the day, it’s your life and your responsibility!! Given that everyone is different, one management method may work well for some and terribly for others. It’s all about exposing yourself to as much knowledge as possible and a matter of trial and error to see what works best for you. I’ve found that the best way of uncovering this info is from listening to and learning from other Type 1 diabetics. These are a few of my favourite Type 1 based books, podcasts and blogs that I’ve learned an invaluable amount from.
The book I wish I had been given at diagnosis is Think Like a Pancreas which you can find here, by Gary Scheiner. I only recently got my hands on it and read countless tips that took me years to figure out on my own. It gives both a basic breakdown of diabetes management and an interesting insight into the history of all. Did you know that back in the day they used to test for diabetes by drinking wee and seeing if it tastes sugary? Can’t exactly complain about finger pricking now, can you!! In fact, this book helped me appreciate everything that is available for Type 1 Diabetics today. It really shows how far along medication and technology has come. If you’ve been recently diagnosed, thinking about getting a pump or just wanting to learn more about diabetes, I would definitely recommend this one.
When I initially wanted to tone up and start going to the gym, I got in contact with a personal trainer. He gave me a food and exercise guide that would’ve been perfect for anyone with a working pancreas, but was simply no good for me. For example, the suggested pre-workout meals required a lot of insulin, so I was having nasty lows during exercise. I quickly gave up on these guides and turned to The Diabetic Muscle and Fitness Guide found here, by Phil Graham. As a Type 1 himself, Phil can give a thorough insight into how to shred fat and build muscle with diabetes that a normal trainer simply wouldn’t be able to relate to.
Lastly, an incredibly helpful book for overall lifestyle is Bright Spots and Landmines which you can get here, by Adam Brown. It’s filled with advice and information on nutrition, mindset, exercise and sleep. The easy-to-read layout means that although there is so much info, it’s simple to digest and remember. I learned a lot from this book. Having said that, I have to admit that it often made me feel a little guilty. Adam mentions how he avoids eating out and if he does, he gets a side salad instead of fries. Also, he exercises an incredible amount and gets 10,000 steps in each day. His diabetes management seems to be immaculate and he has plenty to teach, but lets be realistic- if I want fries with that, a few leaves won't cut the mustard.
I recently discovered the podcast Diabetics Doing Things hosted by Rob Howe and it quickly made its way into my morning routine. Every week a Type 1 Diabetic guest comes on and answers a variety of questions about both their personal lives and diabetes management. My favourite answers to listen to are the simplest thing they’ve done that has helped their diabetes management and the failures with T1D that have made them better at living the rest of their life. This podcast is not only an invaluable source of info, but I find it incredibly inspiring and positive to listen to other Type One Diabetics who are living and enjoying life to the fullest!
Another podcast I enjoy listening to is the JuiceBox Podcast. It’s hosted by a man called Scott Benner who is the dad to Type 1 Diabetic girl. As an injection user, I often can’t relate the best to some of the interviews, as many of them are pump-based. However, I listen in anyways as I love the attitude Scott boasts of ‘being bold with insulin.’ I went through a phase of being afraid of carbs and the insulin that goes hand in hand with them. This podcast helped me to realise that neither carbs nor insulin are things to fear. It’s also great for discovering the other insulin and glucose monitor options that are out there- I never even knew a CGM existed before tuning in!
The Insuleoin Podcast is the latest addition to my list. This one is hosted by Eoin Costelloe, a type one diabetic online coach. These episodes contain really valuable information as well as inspiring interviews. It's quite clear that Eoin himself really knows what he's talking about too. He covers points that you may not have considered, such as 'How Protein Impacts Your Blood Sugar'. One thing that's notable about this podcast is that it actually manages to hold my attention for the entire thing, which is quite significant considering I have an attention span of a goldfish. It doesn't feel like you're learning, but you are- which I love. Would definitely recommend having a listen to this one if you're looking for a light-hearted, enjoyable yet informative podcast!
There’s so many fantastic Type 1 bloggers out there, for example Type 1 Writes- a guy called Frank who is based in Australia. I’ve been reading this one for quite a while now and although I’m not on the pump, I find his posts so relatable and such an easy read! He manages to put the reflections that many diabetics would have into writing. It’s always reassuring and comforting to be reminded that other people are sharing the experiences that you have with Type 1 Diabetes and what’s best is that Frank manages to do this in a light-hearted way.
Another one of my favourites to follow is Dream Big Travel Far. It’s written by a couple who are currently travelling the world- one of which, Cazzy, is a Type 1 diabetic. Her aim is to become the first Type 1 to travel to every country in the world!! This blog provides both practical diabetes tips but is also extremely inspiring and useful for anyone who wants to travel with Type 1. From skiing to surviving the Amazon rainforest, they pretty much have everything covered.
For fitness motivation I always go to Life, Sport and Diabetes, written by Melanie Stephenson-Gray. I love seeing and reading about those who are thriving in areas that are too often considered out of bounds for diabetics, such as Melanie and sprinting. She is an international level athlete and even featured in her own Nike campaign during the London 2012 Olympics!! Her blog isn’t all sports orientated though, she also has great fashion tips and practical diabetes advice.
So those are the sources from which I gained a lot of insight and practical knowledge about living with Type 1 Diabetes. There are so many other helpful books, websites and bloggers- these are just a few! If you don't already, I would definitely recommend following the hashtag- #Type1Diabetes on Instagram. It's a great way of exploring diabetes all around the world and learning something new every day! Hope this post has been helpful. x
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