I got into health and fitness about three and a half years ago, right after I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. When I started working out I did not lift a lot of weights, well actually, I barely did any weight lifting. It was never because I was scared of looking ‘oh-so-manly,’ but solely because of the fact that I didn’t know its importance back then. I would go to the gym and run on the treadmill for about 45 minutes and then do a few funny things with 5 pound dumbbells. After about six months of doing this 5-6 days a week, I changed my gym and started training under a more professional trainer who didn’t just train me but also educated me with how important weight training really is.
Gradually, I started loading onto heavier weights and my workout sessions got more intense. This is when I actually realised the impact of weight training. Looking back at this time, I can confidently say that fitness wouldn’t have been such a big part of my life today if I wasn’t diagnosed with Type 1. When I understood that one of the side effects of insulin was weight gain, I knew I had two options — either I could sit and get upset over this or take control and do something that wouldn’t let the thought of weight gain take over my life.
In the last three years, I’ve gone from having a very average body type to a muscular lean physique. Then I gained quite a bit of weight after starting university, but lost most of that weight and got my strength back while remaining curvy at the same time. In short, what I’m trying to say is that it’s been a roller coaster ride and I would be lying if I said that gaining weight wasn’t upsetting. In fact, for a short period of time it was all I could think about.
One thing I’ve learnt over the past few years though is that what matters isn’t how training makes you look but how it makes you feel. What’s funny is that over the period of this roller coaster ride, I had never stopped working out and never gave up when I put on fat or lost muscle. It’s all a part of the process and even though sometimes it will take you a while to get to your goal, you will eventually get there, so stop being so hard on yourself and appreciate the journey towards your goal.
I can’t stress enough on the importance of self-acceptance and self-love. It’s hard enough for most teenagers out there, so one can imagine what it would be like for a Type 1 diabetic teenage girl! Something everyone needs to realise though, is that, everyone has those days where you’re not happy about several things but you know what? You’ll get out of it and when you do, you’ll truly understand the meaning of self-acceptance irrespective of what people or the society says.
Read Start Working Out with T1D by trainer Christel Oerum.