Here, Results with Lucy member, Laura, tells us about her Type 1 Diabetes journey with Results with Lucy... 💛
Most people have probably heard of diabetes or know someone with it. Diabetes appears regularly in the media with reference to healthier lifestyles and exercise but most of the time this is in reference to Type 2 diabetes (T2D). Since joining Results with Lucy I’ve discovered how healthier lifestyles and exercise can help me with my Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).
Firstly, what is the difference between the two. T2D is the more common type and tends to occur in older people and obese people (although not exclusively). It is caused by insulin resistance which is where the insulin produced by the body that controls our blood glucose (BG) level is not used properly causing BG levels to become elevated. If caught early enough a change in diet and lifestyle can help “reverse” the causes. T1D is where the body’s immune system attacks the pancreas where insulin is produced, killing the cells and resulting in the body being unable to produce insulin. This is why people with T1D need to have insulin injections. Currently, T1D cannot be reversed or cured, so people need to stay on injections for the rest of their life 💉
But can exercise and a healthier lifestyle help control T1D? I was diagnosed with T1D in 2002, I was 18 years old and just about to start university. I had never really been into exercise and over the years that didn’t really change. Whenever I attempted exercising, I would be faced with issues with my diabetes which put me off continuing. Due to the diabetes I could have “hypos” (low BG levels) whilst exercising and then for around 24 hours after. Hypos, especially if having several within a day, make you feel terrible. It also meant I would need to eat more to maintain a normal BG level which made me feel that the exercise I had managed had been pointless.
It was only when I had my daughter in 2016 that I truly became determined to overcome my diabetes barriers and become healthier. My motivation had changed from being skinny to being healthy...
Having a young child meant I needed something I could do at home. I had a static bike but it was in the nursery and tucked away. I started to follow some videos on YouTube but found it difficult to judge which levels were appropriate and got bored scrolling through endless videos for inspiration. Then in September 2017 I was watching Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls and Lucy Mecklenburgh was in it. After following her on Instagram, I found out about Results with Lucy. After trying the free 10 day trial, I signed up and started to fall in love with exercise. I completed the New Beginnings plan, used the recipe bank to inspire healthy meals and watched the with self love videos when I felt like I had lost my motivation 💕
When I started I had the usual issues with my diabetes that I had had every time I started exercise. This time was different though. Being at home I had everything I needed to hand without having to drag it around a gym with me. I could pause videos to check my BG levels and treat any hypos. If I couldn’t finish a workout I could pick it back up at another time. It wasn’t long until I started to see the benefits exercise was doing to my diabetes control. Losing weight meant I could reduce how much insulin I was having to inject.
By using the Results with Lucy recipe bank and meal plans, I was able to choose healthy meals which were lower in carbohydrate, again this meant I needed less insulin. As the carbohydrates were of a better quality, it meant I would get less of the post meal spikes in my BG levels. The less spikes and troughs you get in your BG levels the better you feel and I was definitely feeling better. Lower carb meals came with the added problem of working out how much insulin was required which was a bit of trial and error but worth it in the long run.
It has not been easy finding the balance between wanting well controlled diabetes and introducing new diets and exercise into my life. A lot of the time it has been by closely checking my blood glucose several times before, during and after exercise or new meals that I have been able to pick out the patterns to it all. But it has definitely paid off. Since starting RWL in September 2017 I have lost 1 stone and 5lbs in weight, gained muscle mass and feel the most healthy and energetic that I have felt since I was diagnosed.
I was lucky enough that I was a nurse working in Diabetes and had lots of previous colleagues I could contact for advice when starting my RWL journey. If I didn’t have this, I would definitely have needed guidance from the diabetes nurses or doctors at my hospital. I was also pointed in the direction of several online resources to help with guidance on managing T1D and exercises. One great paper to read to start with is Exercise Management in Type 1 Diabetes: a consensus statement (1). As with most things in life, it is all very individual and my experiences and answers may not work for everyone. The advice I would give, is do not give up- keep testing your BG and keep records of what you do, eat and feel. If you have a lot of hypos on one day after exercising, make a note of it so next time you give a little less insulin. And if you need advice there is so much support out there and people are happy to help.
Now I do a workout 3 to 4 times a week and continue with my day as usual. I love the RWL LIVE workouts and do these most of the time. I like to mix it up with some exercises from the video bank and some yoga. I cannot see a time when I will get bored of RWL, there is so much variety and it keeps me motivated to keep at it. I love where I am now with my diabetes and exercise but it has taken a lot of work to get here- it is definitely worth it though. And I can now truly say I love exercise! ❤
As with any medical condition or injury, we always advice seeking professional support and guidance from your GP before making changes to your levels of activity or diet.
Exercise Management in Type 1 Diabetes: a consensus statement (Riddell et al) Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2017; 5: 377–90 Published Online January 23, 2017 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ S2213-8587(17)30014-1