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22 Things To Remember If Your Loved One Suffers From Type 1 Diabetes

22 Things To Remember If Your Loved One Suffers From Type 1 Diabetes

Many people mistakenly think Type 1 Diabetes develops because of a sugar-laden diet and lack of exercise. If your loved one has this disease, you know how far this is from the truth.

But imagine how difficult it is for them to constantly hear phrases like, “but you’re not fat,” or, “should you eat that?”

Day in and day out, they live with a disease that is largely misunderstood by the public. Unless you have Type 1 Diabetes, you can never completely understand what living with a life-threatening disease that needs constant treatment is like. However, you can support, empathize, and find heartfelt compassion for your loved one.

If you can remember the following twenty-two things that your loved one faces, you’ll come a lot closer to walking in their shoes:

1. They constantly face misguided judgments

Many people don’t know that Type 1 Diabetes is inherited. Your loved one constantly feels faulted by ignorant people for eating too much sugar or not exercising.

2. They have an incurable autoimmune disease, not a lifestyle disease

They cannot cure their disease by changing their diet or by exercising. Please help them by correcting people who suggest they quit eating sugar or start riding a bike.

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3. They live each day with a serious disease that often seems to arise out of the blue for no apparent reason

With their diagnosis of diabetes, their lives changed forever and they had nothing to do with it.

4. Their definition of normal is much different than yours and mine

They will take injections or use an insulin pump for their entire life. Their normal is giving themselves several shots a day or monitoring a pump attached to their abdomen.  Normal is keeping their blood sugar in a safe range, or else they could get hypoglycemia and slip into a coma.

5. They look like everyone else from the outside

…but the inside is way different. Their pancreas has stopped producing insulin, and if they don’t take insulin, they will slip into a coma and could die. They live with this reality.

6. Insulin pumps can make management easier, but not worry-free

Insulin pumps come closer to mimicking how a healthy pancreas would work, delivering insulin on a set schedule. This is not a cure, and diabetics need to monitor their carb intake and watch their blood sugar levels. Successful pumps require frequent user input.

7. They want to smack people who ask them if they got the disease from eating too much sugar

Their disease has nothing to do with indulging in too many sweets and they are sick of being asked if they have an insatiable sweet tooth.

8. They live with a disease that never leaves

Even using state-of-the-art monitoring systems, there is no program-and-forget option for Type 1 Diabetics. Too much or too little insulin can result in death.

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9. A canine could be their best friend and save their life

Specially trained dogs can sense rapid changes in blood chemistry before the symptoms of hypoglycemia are evident. A diabetic alert dog might be a wonderful gift for your loved one.

10. They grew up with parents who need to protect and hover

Most people are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as small children or adolescents. They grew up with parents who needed to protect and care for their child. It can be a matter of life or death, after all.

11. They represent just 5-10% of the diabetics in the world

…but the impact it has on their lives is often huge and overwhelming.

12. They need you because they have lost other close friends to the disease

Type 1 Diabetes is life-threatening and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

13. If you see them acting strangely, they are not drunk, and it could be life threatening

The symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, blurred vision, confusion, and lack of coordination.  Get help if you notice them acting strangely.

14. The insulin they inject or pump each day is not a cure

They will take it every day in order to stay alive.

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15. They can’t ever have a holiday from this disease

It is with them every minute of every day.

16. Life is a never-ending balancing act

They have to be their own mathematician, nurse, and dietitian just to stay alive.

17. They hate it when you offer everyone but them a slice of birthday cake

They know how to handle their blood sugar much better than you do, so let them indulge and adjust their insulin levels.

18. They live with a disease that is often stigmatized

Some 71% of people with type 1 diabetes feel like they are stigmatized as being a burden on the healthcare system or a failure of personal responsibility.

19. Help them by becoming a Type 1 Diabetes myth-buster

They live in a world that misunderstands Type 1 Diabetes. Help people understand the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

20. They don’t want you to treat them like they are handicapped

Yes, they live with a disease, but diabetes does not affect their intelligence or make them immune to people’s stares at their pumps and insulin pins.

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21. They are wise well beyond their years

From a young age, they have had to take control of their health care. Diabetes pushed them to be their own best health advocate and nurse.  They have seen friends die from this disease.

22. They want your love and support, but not your pity

They want you to treat them like a human, one who feels joy and pain. True compassion and empathy show that you want to understand what life is like for them.

True empathy is walking in your loved one’s shoes and seeing their world without judgment. Empathy is not being bossy or giving unsolicited advice.

Remember that your loved one understands their disease a lot better than you do. So rather than telling them to change their lifestyle, why not treat them to a fun evening or pamper them with a day at a spa? Perhaps join them for a diabetes fundraising walk.

What would be the biggest improvement in their life?

A cure for diabetes. Help the research by donating to research for a cure

People with Type 1 Diabetes often feel alone and misunderstood, but with your support and solidarity, they can feel accepted and appreciated.

Featured photo credit: Person-woman-alone/Pixaby via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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