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How I Cultivate a Strong Body and Mind with Diabetes

The following is a guest post written by healthy lifestyle blogger, Lauren Bongiorno. Check out her blog Lettuce Be Healthy and Happy for more health and fitness motivation. 

Everyone has his or her own challenge. For me, it’s Type 1 diabetes. I was 7 years old when I was diagnosed and since that day on October 30th, my world has never been the same.

At such a young age, I’m not sure I really understood how much diabetes would impact my life, but when you have to prick your finger with a needle 10 times a day, you learn that it is just the beginning. I would soon find out that my disease was: waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, shaking because your blood sugar has dropped too low, hearing stories of people going to sleep and never waking up because they went into a diabetic coma, staying up all night because your insulin pump broke and having to play in an 8:00 am soccer game the next morning to impress a college coach. Becoming so dizzy from high blood sugar that when you get out of bed you can’t stand up, and trying to figure out how to use your hands because your fingers are so sore from pricking them so often. You then figure out that diabetes wants to control every aspect of your life.

Yet, in the face of all the challenges diabetes has brought me, it did bring me one good thing: a strong body and mind.

When you live with a disease, you have two choices. Either you control it the best you can or let it control you. I learned over the years that a big part of controlling diabetes is not letting yourself believe you’re a victim. I tell myself, “I am strong. I am not a victim. I accept the challenge I am given and I will overcome each daily obstacle.” The mind is everything. What you think, you become.

Secondly, I know that if my body is strong inside and out, my blood sugar numbers will be under much better control and I will always feel empowered and strong. How I cultivate a strong body is through the two F’s: food and fitness! I eat a diet primarily of vegetables, low glycemic fruits, superfood powders, grains, nut butters, avocado and fish. And of course when I want a treat, I’m always stocked up on dark chocolate!

As for fitness, working out is a huge part of my life. In the past, the gym was something that I dreaded because it meant a boring 45 minutes on the treadmill. Now, I’ve learned that the most important part of a workout is finding something you enjoy. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll look forward to it each day! Nowadays I get my sweat on Monday through Saturday with Sunday as a rest day. Whether through yoga, running, rock climbing, weight training, or swimming … each morning I wake up and can’t wait to make my body stronger and compete with myself to improve on the previous day.

Regardless of your challenges, do not let them dictate your life. But rather use them to catapult you into a whole new direction to build a stronger and more resilient mind and body. Over the years I have learned that if you can dig a ten-foot hole, digging a five-foot hole will seem like nothing. Any other challenges that come your way, you will be ready for. Use your obstacles as an opportunity to strengthen your character and create a life of endless opportunities!



All Photo Credits to Lauren Bongiorno
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