I was 15 years old sitting in English class after drinking my “ump-teenth” bottle of water just praying for the bell to ring, because I had to use the restroom again. During the following weeks, I lost around 10-15 pounds of my body weight, my performance in the weight-room crashed, and I continued drinking more water than a camel. I knew something wasn’t right but couldn’t bring myself to tell my parents and go to the doctor.
The night before my Annual Physical (something that was required to play on my high school baseball team), I googled the symptoms I was experiencing. It did not take long to self-diagnose myself with Type 1 Diabetes, as I could put a check mark next to each and every symptom that was listed on the computer screen. So when my doctor told me my blood sugar was in the upper 400’s (a normal range is somewhere around 80-100) and that I could cancel the rest of my plans for the day as I needed to immediately go to the hospital, I was not surprised. The next several weeks consisted of doctor’s offices, specialists, nutritionists and a lot of web searching.
I was confused. I was 15 years old and seemingly in great shape. I played high school sports, ate semi-healthy for a high school kid, and thought I was immortal as all teenagers do. I was embarrassed. Suddenly I was carrying around a fanny pack with all of my medical supplies, going to the nurses station every day during lunch, and felt like everyone thought I was dying judging by how they were all tiptoeing around me. I was scared. As with any illness or disease, if you google the side effects or complications you are sure to be left with nothing but fear and anxiety. And Type 1 Diabetes was no different.
I share all of this because this is my why. This is the reason I am so passionate about health and fitness. I decided at an early age that I did not want to deal with the complications associated with Type 1 Diabetes. Amputations, loss of eye sight, kidney failure…nope. Not for me. Over the course of the next several years, my passion only continued to grow.
While many factors influence my ability to be in control of T1 diabetes, I have found that for me nutrition and consistent movement is the single most influential factor in determining the quality of that control.
I have now come to believe that Type 1 Diabetes is more of a strength than a weakness for me. While most individuals take years to experience the negative consequences of poor nutrition and lack of exercise, I receive almost instant feedback on the negative effects of poor nutrition choices. Eating pizza? My blood sugar will be out of control for sometimes up to three or four days which directly affects how I feel.
Yes, I succumb to the same desire to look good at the beach. However, when I dig beneath the surface to find my ultimate WHY, it comes down to wanting to have the ability to live my life to its greatest capacity possible and minimize the complications that come along side my chronic disease so that I can spend as many quality days on this earth with my friends and family.
So, what is Your Why? Maybe it’s not a chronic disease or some dramatic experience. Maybe you want to feel more confident at the pool and stop making excuses as to why you can’t make it to the social gathering. Maybe you want to walk into your 15-year high school reunion at the same weight at which you graduated. Maybe you just want to feel good, have more energy, and set yourself up for a lifetime of experiencing life to the fullest. Whatever it is, nutrition and fitness are the foundation to any health and wellness program.
Spend some time thinking about Your Why.
Is it worth spending 1-hour a day at the gym to keep you doing the things you enjoy with the people you love for a long time to come?
Is it worth choosing quality, real foods consistently day in and day out to stay out of the hospital and off any unnecessary medications?
Only you can decide for yourself. Daily remind yourself of your WHY.
**The above is an account of my personal experience and is in no way meant to replace a medical professionals opinion or treatment.**