Lofty Goals

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Lofty Goals

Are the goals you set this New Year too lofty?

Do you find you can be like a race horse waiting for the gate to open? You give it your all but you haven’t trained or prepared enough OR don’t have the build or stamina to be a race horse…yet?

My Mom used to say to me “you can only hit the telephone lines if you reach for the sky.”

I’m sure as you read this you say…”What the heck? Isn’t this supposed to be a website for motivation & empowerment?”

It is…this is the point of my post;

I want to help you create positive, realistic goals that are achievable long term.

There is nothing more defeating then setting goals that you are not prepared for which are so lofty yet you are SO excited about. All of the sudden you begin to make excuses, you let the goals drift into what was and you look back and realize you have let them dwindle into a memory, harshly criticizing yourself for failing. A terrible cycle to be in.

An important point to support you in succeeding is to be realistic & committed. The other point is to know that setting small goals that work toward your desired accomplishment is OK!! Congratulate yourself when you reach each small goal. Mark those as your successes.

Bottom line…be realistic.

If your A1C is 10%, don’t expect it to drop to 7% in 3 months. Pick 1% every 3 months & in 9 months you will have reached your goal.

If you decide to test 4 times a day but test randomly throughout the week, start with 1 time for 1 week & 2 times the next week & so on. Establish the habit of testing pick test times that coincide with your life, your schedule.

If you want to lose weight set your goal at 1-2 pounds per week. Weigh yourself once a week, not everyday. Eliminate self-defeating variables that are beyond your control. Did you decide to set your goal to exercise for 1 hour everyday? Will that work with your crazy schedule or your fitness level?

Do you want to run a marathon this year but have never run? Start with running the distance of a telephone pole or run for 1 minute walk for 1 minute for 15 or 20 minutes. If it’s too much, it’s okay to say ‘that’s enough’ and try again tomorrow or re-set your goal to what you can achieve.

What small, realistic goals will you set that will help you get to the final achievement?

Put one foot in front of the other & focus on where that foot is going. Before you know it you have crossed the ‘finish line’.

How Green is the Grass?

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How Green is the Grass?

This pic is where the movie Laura Croft Tomb Raider was taped. We were there when we visited Ta Prohm at Ankor Wat in Cambodia. I’m a big Tomb Raider fan. it was pretty amazing to be where it was filmed. The tree you see in the pic was jaw dropping. It was also amazing to think that something with such grandiose roots, reaching for the sky could survive in such barren conditions. It seemed it was in a totally foreign environment in which it needed to survive, yet it thrived & boasted so with its huge roots.

Thinking about that tree I reflect back in time. I remember being a “Diabetes Consultant” i.e. a sales rep for Novo Nordisk Inc. I fought hard to get that position. I knew I was fortunate to be there. I also was confident I had the passion to move it forward & benefit others, namely Health Care Practitioners. My goal was to influence so they would improve the lives of those living with diabetes en masse. I wanted to change the world of diabetes. I had been on the other side working in I.C.U. & I wanted to stop the madness. I believed that the best way to make that impact was in this way. Because I believed so passionately & so deeply about ‘my’ cause I passionately believed Novo Nordisk’s products were the best out there. No other pharmaceutical company selling insulin, pen tips, insulin pens or Type 2 oral agents could have a product as good as the one I sold. Their pipeline & success was overwhelming. Based on my steadfast belief & guidance from those who taught me to sell, I learned to sell & I sold well.

Did I sell like a pharma rep? I have & will maintain I didn’t. I had a hard time asking for the business, closing the sale. Instead, I believed through building relationships, earning trust & education inadvertently I did sell. When I left the company I was vying for 1st place out of 65 reps in less than 5 years. When I began the territory I looked after was flat lined, when I left it was growing in double digits. I steadily climbed the ladder of sales success. My drive wasn’t because of the money or recognition. Why did I ‘want it all’? Because I wanted to tell others that I succeeded based on building trust, relationships AND most importantly educating my clients with passion because I believed. I believed in the best for people living with diabetes & I wasn’t afraid to say so. My clients reassured me voluntarily they heard me loud & clear & I lead them to believe. They wrote the products I sold because they trusted that I would provide for them what was needed to take care of their patients living with diabetes. I would give them the information they needed to help them empower their patients.

Little did I know I was establishing my diabetes roots & standing out in an environment that is tough to penetrate. I was often asked why I wasn’t a diabetes educator. I just couldn’t envision myself doing it. I liked the rush of sales & the impact I made. I loved the relationships I had. I could walk into clinics & see Docs that other reps couldn’t. I didn’t think there was anywhere else I could make such a huge impact.

After my tenure with Medtronic, I honestly didn’t know where I belonged & believed exiting the diabetes world may be best for me to take care of myself & my family. What I learned was, when the roots are deep, it’s really, really hard to transplant somewhere else.

Seven weeks today I have been a Diabetes Nurse Educator at the most amazing clinic for Type 1’s. I don’t know of any other like this. As I said, first, I didn’t think I’d ever be an ‘educator’, which now I see I always was. Secondly but most importantly & the reason for this Blog is the deep roots I have established with the relationships & trust I developed over the past 9 years. All of these things have brought me to where I needed to be. Many I work with were my pharma clients, now they are my colleagues.

The greatest thing I have learned in the last 7 weeks? For all the products; insulin, meters, insulin pens, pen tips & pumps….my passion for certain products has dissipated a lot. I have realized & I have preached it…each persons diabetes is unique. It is their own. The product needs to chosen for the lifestyle of the person living with diabetes…not the other way around. I sit at my desk listening to my patients & I ask…what tools & education can I share with you to empower you to live with your Diabetes Beyond Borders?

The roots just keep getting deeper.

Obvious

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Obvious

The tabby cat in the picture is Oscar. Yes, he is wearing a cast. He broke his leg in our basement shortly after we moved in to our new home last June. How? We have no clue. Young Oscar just wanted to be cuddled & cared for by our 12 year old Midge. How did Midge sense that Oscar needed some down time & snuggling to heal? Who knows. BUT…it is obvious to anyone looking at the picture that there is a cat with a cast. Something is wrong with him. Shortly after this photo op the cast fell off. For the cost of re-casting & the misery we caused him by doing so we decided to let him heal without it. He limped & hobbled around for several weeks, obvious he still had something painfully wrong with his leg. It was difficult to watch. Today you can not tell he broke his leg just a year ago. Does it hurt him still? Does it ache? Maybe. But as cats do, unless it is serious they can’t, won’t or don’t have the ability to communicate that. They act like all is normal. They keep to themselves & prove they can rebound from the impossible.

I hear time & time again the frustrations of people living with diabetes. Where is the cast, the seizure, the wheelchair, the appearance that tells those around them they have a chronic condition that somedays can make them feel like they’ve been hit by a bus? Aside from having a hypoglycemic seizure what are the obvious signs that one living with diabetes has had a series of highs or lows that have left them feeling like they want to be cuddled & cared for until they feel better? Words can only express the experiences one has. How can bystanders relate?

The frustration for many is to call into work or not go to school because they had 2 low BG’s in the night, woke up really high in the morning & just want to nap a few more hours to get the sugar back on track & clear the cobwebs out of their head. This is near impossible if one wants to continue to be a productive member of society….which is the expectation…because diabetes is not obvious. To the contrary, many living with diabetes attempt to hide it from others, compounding the exhaustion of managing it & recovering from the times of variability that come with it.

There are pros & cons living with a ‘not so obvious’ disease.

We hear about the cons all too much. Let’s focus on the good. Consider anyone living with diabetes that are in the spotlight & those that achieve many feats but have not gained the recognition. Examples which I encourage you to Google & research…Team Novo Nordisk (a team of cyclists competing in various events), Chris Jarvis (Olympic Rower & founder of iChallenge), Sebastien Sasseville (1st Canadian with T1 diabetes to summit Mount Everest, completed the Ultra Marathon Sahara race & 5 IronMan races to date), Chloe Steep (Founder of Connected In Motion), Steve Richert (Founder of Living Vertical), Kerri Morone Sparling (Six Until Me), Shawn Shepheard (Sugar Free Shawn), George Canyon (Country Music Artist), pilots, doctors, nurses, pro sport & not so pro athletes, trades, heavy equipment operators…these are just a few. There are so many it would seem like you are reading the Census in the book of Numbers in the Bible….but far more exciting!!

By living with a ‘not so obvious’ disease, people with diabetes accept that because we appear as ‘normal’ we want to supersede normal, we want to communicate that despite living with a not so obvious chronic condition we can & will accomplish whatever is put before us. We want to prove we are different in a good yet obvious way. Sometimes to the point of achieving near superhuman achievements.

Is that a good thing? I have heard time and time again from many..”I am thankful for my diabetes because I am healthier living with diabetes then if I didn’t.”

Many living with diabetes see themselves as healthier as those who don’t because they become more aware & pro-active in their health. Initially one with diabetes becomes healthier & begin to set goals beyond what they knew existed by no choice of their own but ultimately by the drive, strength & tenacity that become product as a result of the benefits they experience by living that way.

There is an obvious that surfaces by living with diabetes. That is the incredible accomplishments & outcomes that result in living with the not so obvious.

How To Cross the Road

How To Cross the Road

In June 2012 we travelled to Vietnam and Cambodia.  It is considered a trip of a life time.

This picture is one of the streets of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.  One of the first strategies we learned; how to cross the street without getting maimed or killed.  The bikes were a barrage with what seemed to be no break.  There were very few traffic lights.  The motorcyclists seem to be on a mission to travel from point A to point B.  Period.  It was quite a sight to see.  It was organized chaos.

It reminded me of a symphony.  The music was in front of them and they played at the right time with the right notes. We wish we could see the music so we could read and play it too.

The picture you see and the description above is how best to describe my mind.

I have a plan, similar to crossing the road in Ho Chi Minh City.  I need to get across.  The great part is, I can see the other side of the road.  The challenge is all of the opportunities and work that comes with meeting these goals is overwhelming me, like the constant barrage of motorcycles with what looks like no rules, traffic signs or signals.

Several challenges are new to me thus a few major learning curves.  I am in a different world with different rules.  Many opportunities have recently come to me which I have wanted for quite some time.  These opportunities are very promising, but, have changed the focus I thought was in place.  With that comes an abrupt change in how to complete the ‘BIG PLAN’.

I am aware of the multitudes of phrases and quotes that summarize how to eat an elephant, take baby steps and carpe diem.  Believe me, that is top of mind each day.

I make lists, I cross them off.  I thought crossing off the little stuff first, leaving the really big stuff last would be best.  I understand now this is not going to get me across the street.  It’s like taking a step on the road, seeing the bikes and stepping back on the sidewalk.

How did we cross the street in Ho Chi Minh City?  We looked for the biggest gap of motorcycles.  We held hands tight and began to cross.  We were concerned we would be hit.  We were surprised when we came in front of a bike that it would stop and let us cross.  We finally had the music.  We were learning how to be part of the symphony.

The Vietnamese motorcyclists chuckled at us.  I am certain I could hear them say in their chuckle…”Foreigners.”.  It was a huge sense of accomplishment to get to the other side.  And…we learned the motorcyclists had compassion and understanding of our goal.

It is time for my mind and actions to know and do the same.

Eden’s Worst Nightmare

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Eden's Worst Nightmare

Below is a mind-blowing 2 minute read.  Eden’s diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes came at the age of 17. After gaining a lot of weight & feeling she did not have the support from the health care profession she needed to empower herself, Eden set out on her own to learn & discover how to live life with diabetes beyond borders. Eden has a very busy life, finishing her degree at University as well as setting goals to manage her diabetes & lose weight in a healthy way before her graduation in May.

Support Eden as she moves forward daily in her journey to empower herself living with diabetes & successfully meet a weight that is healthy for her body. What she is achieving since being diagnosed 4 years ago is nothing short of amazing!

“Hey Everyone,
Sorry I was away since Thursday with the family for a weekend shopping trip! We had a lot of fun.

So I thought I would write on a mix of things today !

When I was away this weekend I tried to behave the best I could (even though some regular chocolate just happened to work its way in their LOL) I got some diabetic/sugarless candy from my family today ….I had chai tea candies…soooo good! Go to Bulkbarn and get some!

I thought I would share some more personal stuff, since I know everyone grapples with this when trying/thinking about losing weight.

One big deciding factor when trying to lose weight is …why are you losing weight? I do not know about you, but just saying “to be healthy and be slim” can be a very vague reason to start to lose weight….Plus this is a LONG term goal.

A HUGE recommendation I have is to sit down, with a pen and paper and write small term goals to lose weight. For example here are some of mine (some I have already accomplished, some I have not)

1. Be able to do the stair master for longer then 10 minutes (I can do 45 now!)
2. Test my blood sugar 4-5 times a day (I have been good on this lately)
3. Go to the gym 4-5 times a week (finally getting this habit)
4. Get to second goal weight 165 (I hope to be here around May 10th this year)
5. Drink 8 glasses of water a day (very hard to do ….lol and not much fun)
6. Take vitamins every day
7. Be able to feel confident when I am in public
8. Be able to wear clothes that are comfortable and make me look and feel AMAZING
9. Have more self-confidence when doing day-today stuff
10. Be fit and ready trying on wedding dresses.

OK I wrote 10 of my 20 down lol Some of these are going to take a lot of work for me (especially 7 and 9). I have always struggled with self-confidence issues. But one incident that really hurt me I will discuss since I think most have gone through a similar situation.

Two years ago during the summer my boyfriend (who is beyond amazing in every way) and his friends wanted to go to the beach down the street. Now a big girl with confidence issues does not get excited about this! I literally felt my blood sugars go up from stress and I did not want to go. This would involve me being in a bathing suit, wet and in front of people in shape….needless to say WORST NIGHTMARE.

I decided to go since I also did not want to be home alone (which would make me feel worse). So I went…I sat on the beach with jeans, a black hoodie and tank, and running shoes (put in mind it was 30 degrees out!) I was hot, I felt fat and awful and everyone was having a great time in bikinis swimming. I luckily had sun glasses on because I started to cry.

Every time I feel like eating something like a whole cake or a bag of chips, I think of that day. I felt so left out, and awful! Yes everyone cheats once and awhile, but I refuse to ever feel like that again. So I hope you guys push yourself, like walking an extra 5 minutes, or eating popcorn instead of cake, etc etc.

I thought I would share ! Hopefully I keep inspiring you guys: :)”

Eden’s Journey – Tips, Tricks & Must Have’s

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Eden's Journey - Tips, Tricks & Must Have's

Below is more of Eden’s Journey to exercising and losing weight in a healthy way. Eden lives with Type 1 diabetes. She has a goal to be in tip top shape for her graduation from University in May. Help support and encourage Eden as she shares with us her journey. Today Eden shares tips & tricks that have worked for her & may for you as well. She recommends a “must have” piece of equipment that will encourage & support you when exercising!!

“Okay as I promised, I am going to talk about how I have handled my blood sugars at the gym ha ha. Now I am sure a lot of people struggle with this. You get a low and you don’t want to eat because you want to burn calories and it becomes pointless, or you do not want to go high and have to take insulin to bring it down etc etc etc. It is honestly a battle for some, and it has been for awhile with me. I have noticed in the last 2 weeks since I have been working out so hard, I have struggled with this. I would work out and go down to 3 or lower (obviously not good).

Here are a couple tips that seem to work for me.

1. If you know you are going to work out after a meal, eat a carb during that meal. I find yams are a great thing to eat, and healthy for you. They do not have a huge amount of sugar, and metabolize well. I usually bake mine with a bit of olive oil for 10-15 minutes till they are soft…so good. I also tend to eat a lot of Ezekiel brand products (they have no gluten or flour!). Do not be shocked when you go to a store and see a loaf of raisin bread for $5.99 at Sobeys! The loaf for me alone lasts usually2-3 weeks. I recommend their products; they seem less heavy on my stomach and work well with my sugars.

2. If you are working out during a time where you did not have a meal within the hour, I usually eat a small banana before my work out and a kiwi after. I only do this when I know I will be burning 500 plus calories. Sometimes this is needed for me, but everyone is different.

3. DRINK LOTS OF WATER…Most people seem to think there is a magic pill, there is! It is something that is free and at your disposal all day long. I bought a bottle that’s big enough for my “8 glasses a day.” I found that you instantly feel more refreshed, have more energy and needless to say my skin looks like it has a nice glow to it ha ha. Seriously drink your 8 glasses and I can guarantee with a bit of exercise you could lose at least an inch or two in one week !

I am by no means a doctor! These are tips that seem to work for me, and maybe they can help you. I have had to do a lot of figuring out of this stuff on my own.

Here is a pic of me at the gym last week with my low blood sugar 😛 I thought every post needs a picture!”

Saying No.

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Saying No.

How can one word cause so much stress?

Is it the concern of being selfish? Is it the fear that we are not allowing ourselves the opportunity to have new experiences and challenges? Is it the fear of believing there is no one else that can do what you’ve been asked to do? Are we afraid to disappoint? Do we need to prove a point to ourselves or others? Are we afraid of conflict and burning bridges?

In this day and age the pressure we are living under to perform, accept, accomplish, respond to, access and be accountable for is too much, not just as adults but teens and young children are being subjected to this prematurely. Our private lives are jeopardized by the creation of global urbanization and technology with the expectation to keep up at all costs.

Yes is stress. But saying no is too. How do we find balance?

Take a look at how stress can influence our health:

1. Stress hormones raise blood sugars
2. Stress contributes to insulin resistance
3. Stress leads to weight gain
4. Stress can increase blood pressure
5. Stress can suppress the immune system
6. Stress can worsen or create allergies
7. Stress can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke
8. Stress can impair fertility
9. Stress can accelerate the aging process
10. Stress can create psychological imbalances such as anxiety and depression
11. Stress can cause or enhance addictive behaviours such as drugs, alcohol, sex, exercise etc.

Here are some guidelines to assist in determining when it is right to say “No’ and find or keep your balance.

1. When you have a bad feeling and your gut says “this doesn’t feel right”…trust it!!! Be true to yourself!
2. Thinking about saying “Yes” to the request causes you to feel overwhelmed before you have even committed to it.
3. Your principles, ethics and/or beliefs are in jeopardy.
4. The financial expense doesn’t fit your budget.
5. It is not fulfilling the goals and objectives you have set for yourself.

It’s OKAY to say “No”. Words and body language are our most powerful ally. How you respond will empower you and the person who has asked.

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” – Stephen Covey