By Brandon C. Hall
When I was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of
21, I had not given the first thought to living a healthy
diabetic lifestyle. As far as I was concerned, a healthy
lifestyle was reserved only for fitness junkies and overweight
I didn't know squat about the benefits and overall happiness a
healthy lifestyle would lead to. I was perfectly content
frozen pizza, smoking cigarettes, and binge drinking on a
regular basis. After I was diagnosed with diabetes, I had a
lengthy discussion with my doctor that resulted in an
"Everything I love is killing me!"
First, we'll define what I mean by healthy lifestyle. When I
asked the question, "What is a healthy lifestyle?” the common
answer seemed to be, "Don't smoke, don't drink, eat only
vegetables and protein, and make sure to exercise every day."
My first thought was, "You can give that crap right back to
birds." I was 21, loved to party, and absolutely chock full of
The ideas, practices, and benefits a healthy lifestyle
sounded great for managing my diabetes, but I sure didn't like
the idea of my social life falling off the face of the planet.
Believing in the power of moderation, I made some compromises
with my disease:
I quit smoking cigarettes and only smoked cigars on special
occasions such as bachelor parties, Super Bowls, or the birth
of my first child. That last part was a joke. After many years
of searching, special occasions are the only reason I can find
to put nicotine or smoke of any kind in your body.
For me, this was a big one. I'm not really the type of guy
likes to meet girls at church, and school was not really an
option for me, but drinking was all my friends and I did. As a
result, drinking alcohol (sadly enough) was a major component
of my social life. From that day forward, I laid down some
No liquor. Liquor causes severe instability in blood sugar
levels, and will cause serious problems. I stick only to beer
and wine with a maximum of three drinks. If you monitor your
sugar regularly and eat beforehand, you should be able to
a nice night out.
Of the areas available for improvement in my lifestyle, eating
was the easiest for me to adapt and overcome. When I learned
that protein had a minor effect on my sugar that was good
any hamburger and steak-loving American would be happy to hear
that, but the bad news was that French fries, baked potatoes,
and (my favorite) sweet potatoes were off limits. That meant I
had to learn to love vegetables.
>From that point forward, I began cooking veggies with light
butter and cayenne pepper. I know that sounds odd, but I like
spicy food. As far as your diet is concerned, for the sake of
your happiness, find your favorite spices and seasonings and
begin experimenting with healthy foods.
When it comes to exercising many people (including myself) do
not follow through for long enough to see substantial results.
Personally, I believe in living an active lifestyle instead of
becoming a fitness and free-weight junkie. What worked for me?
Basic exercises (lunges, squats, and crunches) in front of the
television every morning followed by a 15 minute walk.
Complying with the guidelines I listed above, I'm still able
have a fun, active lifestyle while controlling my diabetes.
Finally, I need to say that I'm not a doctor, just a guy with
Type 1 Diabetes. The practices I listed worked for me to
maintain the young-adult lifestyle that I wanted. You may be
different, and understanding your own personality traits is
critical to successful moderation and control of your
About The Author: Brandon C. Hall is an online business owner
and Type 1 Diabetic who runs many websites. For the latest
articles and news related to diabetes and the diabetic
lifestyle visit: www.diabetic-resources.com