Thanks To Diabetes, I Have Learned How To Overcome Obstacles And Achieve My Dreams

Thanks To Diabetes, I Have Learned How To Overcome Obstacles And Achieve My Dreams

This disease changed my life.
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In honor of National Diabetes Month, I want to write about my life as a Type 1 Diabetic.

My seven-year diabetic anniversary, or diaversary, is fast approaching. Being a diabetic is a daily battle of ups and downs. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that affects the insulin production in the pancreas. Which means that my body doesn't produce insulin and I must manually inject it by syringe or by something called an insulin pump. Without this daily injection, my blood sugar will continue to rise, with the digested glucose having nowhere to be absorbed.

Since my diagnosis in 2011, I have had to deal with daily finger pokes, multiple insulin injections, and the mental struggles of having to deal with extreme highs and lows.

Diabetes is an invisible disease, there is no physical evidence that anything is wrong, which can be emotionally draining.

Without the support of my family and friends, I know that I wouldn't be the person I am today. The amount of support it takes to be able to walk around every day, with a disease that's invisible to the majority of the world, is tremendous. Every day I wake up and hope that today is going to be a good day, but I have no earthly idea what my day will actually be like.

Even though we are told that we can eat whatever we want, just as long as we give the insulin for it but it's not that easy. I am slowly beginning to learn that eating clean makes my numbers so much better. Being in college makes having a disease like this so much harder. You want to be able to get pizza at 11:00 while you're studying, or sleeping until 2:00 on Saturdays, but diabetes makes that almost impossible. I spend night after night, being woken up by blaring alarms telling me my blood sugar is high and I need to give a correction dose of insulin, or that I am too low and I need to get up and find some juice or fruit snacks.

There are many times that I wish I didn't have this disease and that I was normal, but I'm so glad that it's me and not someone else. Having diabetes has helped shape me into the woman I am today and for that, I'm forever thankful.

If I hadn't grown up with this disease I wouldn't have learned how not to let difficult things stop me from achieving my dreams.

In the last 7 years, I have successfully continued to show horses competing at the state and national levels and now at the collegiate level. I will not let diabetes run my life or stop me from my passion.

Cover Image Credit: @diabetesresearch

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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I've Recovered From An Eating Disorder and Exercise Addiction... Now What?

I am ready to be simultaneously healthy and fit, rather than hurting my body while trying to be fit.
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While recovering from an eating disorder and exercise addiction, I purposefully didn’t force myself to work out much or put a huge emphasis on working out.

As I continued to recover, I also did my best to not deprive myself or restrict any certain foods, which I have an extensive history of doing. Exercise and eating healthy are two of my biggest passions and two things I have been surrounded by my entire life. My parents are marathon runners and we were "that family" that wasn't allowed to eat candy or junk food.

However, recovery meant letting go of the suffocating hold that I had on these two passions.

My recovery has primarily been in the last 6 months, even though the issues I struggled with started in 9th grade. I turned my focus to body-acceptance, forgiveness, and healing — and away from negative self-talk and hatred for my struggles.

I hated what was happening, but didn't control being pulled back towards it.

For me personally, recovery has been a journey I've primarily taken on my own. It has taken A TON of hard work. It has required training, not unlike physical body training.

This kind of training has been mental and physical — training the thoughts, ideas, and beliefs in my mind and training my physical responses and actions. From harmful, life-consuming actions to beneficial, life-giving actions. Recovery is more than worth it.

It has been difficult, to say the least, but so necessary, eye-opening, and freeing, as anyone with these types of struggles knows.

You have to fill your mind with truth, find support (even if it's very small), re-train your mind, and be fully invested in your recovery — in order for it to happen.

For internal struggles like eating disorders and addictions, there is no perfect formula or set of steps to follow. There's no pill you can take or encouragement someone can give you. Everyone's story is different and recovery comes with a lot of ups and downs.

I've come to a point in recovery where my body and mind are ready and begging to dive back into better eating and consistent working out (with a better, healthy mindset of course.) I'm really curious as to if anyone else with similar struggles is at this point or has been here. I am excited about health and fitness, and excited to be able to enjoy these things that I love. But there's still a sense of fear in the back of my head.

It’s hard for me because uhhh... Where do I start!?

What do I do?! The last time I was fully invested in fitness was years ago.

I went from feeling like a fitness and PRO to feeling like a complete newbie.

I am ready to be simultaneously healthy and fit, rather than hurting my body while trying to be fit. One of my MAIN goals for this summer is to get back into a clean eating lifestyle (that allows me to feel my best!!) and to find a consistent fitness routine that I will be excited about and will stick to.

Crossfit workouts used to be my PRIDE and JOY, and I desire to find a place or activity that allows me to LOVE fitness again.

I've found confidence, peace, and joy without restriction, obsession, and deprivation... and I'm ecstatic to be able to incorporate balanced, safe health/fitness back into my life.

Cover Image Credit: StockSnap / Nirzar Pangarkar

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