Q.Where are you from?
I’m from a town called Bray, just outside Dublin, Ireland.
Q.What do you do with your time? (Job, Pastimes, Family life etc.)
I studied Animation in college and graduated last year but at the moment I actually do a few different things: I’m a digital marketer for a new start-up company in Dublin, I’m signed with a modelling agency and work part-time in a trampoline park, haha. Health and fitness is where my true passion lies and being involved in that industry is what I want to pursue as a career. I’ve recently completed a Personal Training course and my aim is to specifically coach and train diabetics.
Q.Tell us about your diagnosis? How did you know something was wrong?
It was around Christmas time 5 years ago and I just didn’t feel well. I had the typical signs and symptoms of diabetes: frequent urination, fatigue (almost any time I sat down I would fall asleep), dizziness, weight-loss and constant thirst. I didn’t notice the weight-loss myself as I would see my reflection each day. It only really came to my attention when a friend, who I hadn’t seen in a couple of months, was almost shocked at how thin I looked. It was actually my parents who were more concerned about these symptoms so they urged me to go to the doctor. A week or so later, when the blood test results came back….. BAM! Diabetes.
Q.Pens or Pump? Any preference?
I’ve always used insulin pens (lantus and novarapid). I’ve never been too pushed to use a pump to be honest. I’m always very active and I’d be worried I’d hit it off something or disconnect it from myself.
Q.How often do you check your blood glucose?
I check my bloods between 7-10 times a day. There wouldn’t really be a set number of times. I generally just check when I feel the need to. It’s just part of my daily routine now. It’s easy to underestimate how important checking your levels is but it is such a vital part of your Diabetes management.
6.1! which I was very happy about. I’m curious to know what it is now…
Q.How often do you train?
I train 6 days a week. My training is primarily weights/resistance work and then I base my cardiovascular exercises around that. At the moment I’m doing a legs, push, pull workout split. I enjoy using this split as I can train every body part at least twice a week.
Q.What is your daily calorie and macro breakdown?
Right now I’m eating quite low calories. I’m currently trying to lean out for an upcoming shoot so I’m only taking in about 2,500 calories per day. This isn’t too low and I feel more comfortable sustaining a low calorie diet over an extended period of time rather than take drastic measures in a shorter time frame. My macro split is: 245g Protein, 245g Carbs and 54g Fat.
Q.What food do you love, but messes with your blood sugar the most?
My absolute favourite meal is a Chinese takeaway! It’s always been my favourite food and guilty pleasure. There have been a few times since being diagnosed that I’ve given into the temptation and had one but I’d regret it almost instantly after eating it. There’s no food I’ve eaten that messes up my blood sugar levels more. I would honestly be up all night with hypers and hypos from it. I decided to cut it out completely as it’s not worth messing around my glucose levels so much.
Q.Have you any body composition or performance goals over the next 12 months?
At the moment I’m sitting at about 83kg. Next year I want to be touching 85kg but a lot leaner. I’ve actually been quite lucky because I always stayed quite lean throughout my life. Over the past few years I’ve learned so much about nutrition and this year I want to track my foods and see how lean I can get (while, of course, still staying healthy though).
Q.3 Things diabetes has taught you in life?
It has taught me so much in many different aspects of my life so it’s hard to pick three. I’d say… in no particular order,
1.Developing a strict and steady routine. Having the condition almost forced me to be disciplined. I get up early, the same time each day to take my medication, I stick to a ‘healthy’ whole foods diet and I honestly feel I live a healthier life than I would have if I didn’t have Diabetes.
2.You can do anything you want. Since having diabetes I realised that no matter what sort of barriers come your way, you can still do what you want. It’s all about adapting.
3. Be thankful. I know it’s a cliché thing to say but I really am. People take their health for granted and underestimate how important it is. We always think that we’ll stay clear of disease or injury- ‘that’ll never happen to me’. Obviously, I would prefer not to have diabetes but there’s nothing I can do about it. You just have to get on with things. Being in hospitals quite often I see people in similar (or other) situations to mine. There are a lot worse people out there than me, so I seldom complain.
Q.Top 3 tips for managing diabetes?
I feel it’s important for any Diabetic out there or anyone who is reading this to know that there is a lot of trial and error with diabetes. Everyone’s diabetes and everyone’s body is different so you need to learn from your own experiences with food, exercise, stress and so on as to how your body reacts. My top 3 tips would be:
- Always test! I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to check your blood sugar regularly. If you don’t know, test. If you think you know, test anyway!
- Try to eat healthily. It’s something everyone has heard thousands of times and are probably sick of hearing. For us diabetics, it’s very important. Diet is an indispensable tool toward anyone’s diabetes management. Of course you can have a balanced diet and treat yourself to the foods you love but for the most part, try to eat cleanly. Avoiding sugary, unhealthy foods and sticking to the good stuff will reduce the risk of hypos and high blood sugar. It will benefit you in the long run.
- Don’t eat carbs after a certain time at night. One of the things that annoys me the most about diabetes is waking up with high blood sugars. There is nothing more frustrating than having a great workout in the evening, a good post workout meal and heading to bed only to wake up with a high reading. What I found works well for me is to stop eating carbs about 2-3 hours before bed so my bloods have time to settle and I have the chance to correct any hypos/hypers before I nod off.
Q.Biggest fitness myth dispelled?
I really dislike all these ‘six pack quick’, ‘fast track abs’ and ‘ab blaster’ fads. Getting a six pack and becoming lean doesn’t happen overnight. It’s important that people realise you bring out your abs by building them up and losing body fat. You can’t train your abs 5 times a week and lose the body fat around your waist area. You need to train your abs like any other body part to gain muscle and size and you need to be in a caloric deficit for an extended period of time to reduce your body fat percentage. You lose fat from all areas of your body, not just one particular part. Generally, though, we carry most of our body fat around our midsection. Just be consistent and disciplined, it will eventually budge!
Q.What is the single best piece of mind-set advice you could give someone who’s been newly diagnosed with diabetes?
I remember when I was first diagnosed it was a huge shock. I didn’t know how to react and I barely knew anything about diabetes as a condition. Initially, it’s quite daunting and is a lot to take in. What helped me come to terms with it, and reassured me that it wasn’t the end of the world, was something one of the diabetic nurses said to me. She said, ‘diabetes is like stirring a pot’. What she meant by this was that it’s not something that will take over your life. You can live a normal, healthy life, do anything you want to do and travel anywhere you want to go. Behind it all, you just need to keep an eye on your diabetes. Keep stirring the pot!
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