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No Excuses for Exercise!

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One of my goals this year is to live freely without letting diabetes get in the way and not to make excuses. When it comes to exercise, blaming and hiding behind diabetes and a sore knee easily made it to the top of my excuses list. I’ve had bouts of super enthusiasm in joining the gym or getting some sort of exercise routine back in my life, but they always fall through after a while. I made more excuses – too busy with uni, too tired, too cold, too dark…it goes on.

Towards the end of last year, I helped out students with their practical component of the Master of Exercise Physiology at the Clinical Exercise Learning Centre on campus. I attended my first session with the students and their supervisor with no personal expectations or goals for myself. It was purely to help them as I know how tough it is to get volunteers for anything. It never dawned on me how this will help overcome an underlying fear of how diabetes affects me while exercising.

Under the supervision of many professional eyes, I couldn’t hide behind my knee aches or my diabetes anymore. Each time I threw them a problem (or an excuse), they worked with me to resolve it. I was given exercises to strengthen my knees, and I taught myself to be prepared in case I hypoed during my exercises. The variety of exercises I did helped me predict when I was more likely to hypo and when I should check my sugars. I’m not very good at feeling my hypos, particularly when I exercise, so this step becomes fairly crucial. More importantly, I started including exercise into my weekly routine and I loved it. For me, exercise is an outlet to work away all my frustrations and stresses, but also a time to relax and chill to music. Plus I usually feel really good after a workout. (Gotta love those endorphins!)

At the start of the year, my gym started promoting their Challenge Fitness Camp. Six weeks, three days a week, 6.30-7.30am. I contemplated about doing it and the ‘yeah, but…’ thoughts started going through my head. ‘But I hate running and am absolute ‘chicken shit’ when it comes to new scenarios, and what if I can’t keep up and embarrass myself or what if…‘ All these different excuses I was coming up was holding me back and I thought back to one of my goals I had set out earlier – no excuses! With that in mind, I silenced the ‘yeah, but’s’ and singed up for what was essentially, boot camp.

And so, it has been one week at fitness camp and it has been physically demanding as I expected it to be. I don’t think there was a day this week that I haven’t had a muscle aching somewhere! Yet, I’ve surprised myself at keeping up with most of the crowd, except for when we are running. (I really hate running, in case you haven’t picked up on it!) Because of the session’s intensity, I was so paranoid that I would hypo that I tested myself at each break in my first session. I love a good challenge and this is definitely a challenge for me! Just imagine – if I had listened to that nagging voice in my head, I would have missed out on this! But I didn’t and I am very proud of myself for it. I hope that by the end of six weeks, I can do a decent amount of running so I can keep up with my boyfriend, who is always bugging me to run with him. (The things you do for love…seriously!)

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Pancreatically challenged, diabetes advocate, PhD student and dietitian - working to positive changes within the diabetes community and healthcare setting. Although diagnosed at age of 19 with T2DM, the type of diabetes I have is under constant debate. Finally pumping as of March 2014.

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