Living With a Type 1 Diabetic and Other Musings

It’s been 2 years since I last updated this blog. So much has transpired over that time that it’s hard to know where to begin. Over the next few months, I intend to let my story unfold for you. I feel in my heart that I have something worth sharing with you. That my journey is your journey. Whether or not you resonate with my process, I know that I cannot keep it to myself. I must write about it, share it–for whatever purpose it fulfills.

To that end, I begin my story at the urging of my partner to write about what’s it is like to live with a Type 1 Diabetic (T1D). I met Todd last year and when we began dating, he informed me that he was a diabetic.  At the time,  I had no idea how involved I would become in his life and nor how his diabetes would affect me. Todd is writing a book on T1D–and asked me to contribute a chapter on what it is like to live with a T1D.. I share part of that story with you now.


It’s 3:45 AM, I reach across the bed to place my arm over Todd. My arm falls on a mound of wet sweaty sheets. As I begin to awaken, I hear a spoon clanging against a bowl from the kitchen.  The hall light is softly illuminating the bedroom. I roll out of bed and make my way down the hall to the kitchen. Todd is leaning over the kitchen bar shoveling spoonfuls of cereal and almond milk into mouth. He’s not speaking, he barely notices me.

“What was your blood sugar?” I ask.

“48 “, he responds.

I know better than to ask: “how do you feel.?” I know how he feels –he feels terrible. He can’t think clearly, he is sweating profusely, his balance is unsteady. He’s scared, he has to get sugar into his body, fast. I wait for him to finish his food. Soon he begins to come around and we check his blood glucose again.


That’s better. I think we can go back to bed now.

All during the previous day, Todd was checking his blood sugar at frequently regular intervals trying to get an idea of when his blood glucose spikes after eating and how long he can go between meals before it starts to fall drastically. He’s trying to figure out how to set his insulin pump so his blood sugar levels resemble more of rolling hills rather than peaks and valleys.Until I met Todd, I had very little contact with anyone with T1D.

I am a nurse practitioner and often see patients with Type 2 Diabetes–a whole different disease. I coach Type 2 Diabetics on proper nutrition, exercise and supplements and how to best manage their disease. It’s possible to reverse Type 2 diabetes; it’s preventable. It comes about because of one’s lifestyle choices. Type 1 is completely different and more rare.

Type 1 diabetes usually manifests during childhood or young adulthood.   It is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks the beta cells located within a cluster of cells in the pancreas known as the islet of Langerhans.  The beta cells are responsible for producing insulin.  They sense sugar in the blood and then release the necessary amount of insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. It is not yet completely understood why some people’s immune system, which is supposed to protect you, mistakenly attacks and destroys these beta cells. Trauma is thought to be one of the causes triggering the body to attack its beta cells.

Todd’s condition was diagnosed when he was 14, during a very traumatic period of time in his life.Insulin is crucial to life.  Without it, glucose cannot move from one’s bloodstream into the cells of the body to provide them with energy to function.  When the pancreas fails to produce insulin, blood glucose levels rise preventing the body from functioning properly.  Overtime, high glucose levels damage nerves, blood vessels, organs and eventually cause death.

Living with a T1D has been an eye-opening experience. There is constant pricking of your finger and checking your blood sugar–first thing in the morning, after breakfast, mid morning, before lunch, mid afternoon, before dinner, after dinner, before bed…sometimes in the middle of the night. It means adjusting the insulin pump to raise or lower the blood sugar, it means eating at regular intervals and carefully planning what you eat. If you don’t, you may end of eating anything within reach just to get the blood sugar to functional levels. It means being diligent whether you want to or not. It means that before you do anything in morning, you must attend to your blood sugar/insulin relationship. You have no choice. If you don’t, you will die.

When we were first dating, I thought it was a novelty when we would stop and check his blood sugar levels. I often joined in. We compared numbers–and planned our next meal or snack around his blood sugar levels. He would adjust his pump if too high or too low. I didn’t have to do anything. My pancreas would figure that out for me and administer the correct dose of insulin at precisely the right time and the right intervals. But Todd has to figure that out for himself and program his pump to do what my body does without me thinking about it–as long as I take care of myself, my pancreas will take care of me.

I am learning to be more appreciative of my body, to feed it regular meals and never to take it for granted. I am learning how fortunate I am that my body works really well. I have very few health issues and mostly what I do have–achy joints and the tightness in my neck or shoulders– is manageable with stretching, yoga, massage, rest, etc.

Todd needs to plan his day with great attention to detail. He didn’t always do so and he is paying for it now with damaged vision and peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in his legs and feet). There are other side effects too, and we don’t even know some of the long-term damage that may occur from the drastic blood sugar swings that have ravaged his body for so many years.

For many years I struggled to be in my body.  I frequently ignored its signals of hunger, fatigue, pain.  I pushed myself to keep going when I should have stopped to rest.  I exercised rigorously to stay in shape, lose weight or keep those dreaded extra pounds at bay.  Often I skipped meals either because I was too busy to stop and eat or because I thought starving myself would help me attain that perfect body.  Then there were those times when I would polish off a carton of coconut ice cream or a bag of chips–my body craving immediate gratification.  As I grew to love myself and listen to my body’s messages,  I began to find refuge being in my body.  It’s still something I am getting used to.

More recently I was experiencing some old thoughts and patterns reminiscent of my early days with my disordered eating and body dysmorphism.  Frustrating because I thought I had laid this behind me.  Then in walks Todd into my life, and I get to look at this head on.  I am a firm believer that there are no accidents.  I know without a shred of doubt that Todd and I were brought together for some very important reasons.  I know if he had not met me and my access to cutting edge health care, he would be on a rapid train ride to some serious and likely irreversible medical problems.  I have a strong intuition that he and I have something very important to share with the others regarding his healing journey to health.

But I wasn’t aware of how impactful his journey would have on me.  I had no idea that I would get to face my unfinished business regarding my relationship with my body.

Living with a T1D requires patience, compassion, understanding, commitment.  I am as committed to his health as he is and fortunately he is fiercely committed to his health.   Just like an infant who cries incessantly until he is fed,  Todd’s body requires the same attendance.  You can’t reason with a baby and let him know that gee, this isn’t a good time to stop and eat.  We’re too busy, too tired, too cranky to attend to your needs. Todd’s body won’t listen to any “reasoning”.    When his blood sugar gets low, he HAS to eat.  When it gets too high, he HAS to adjust his insulin pump.

I call him at work sometimes and ask him if he has eaten.  When we prepare dinner, we cook for 4 so we have dinner for two and lunch the next day for the both of us.  Being prepared is key to living healthily as a diabetic.  It’s important for all of us–diabetic or not.  It used to never bother me if I ran out of food in the house.  I could always grab a protein bar for breakfast and run to Whole Foods or other healthy deli for lunch.  Now when I see food getting low  in our refrigerator, I panic.  We need to replenish–now.

We never leave the house for a hike, a drive or a bike ride without food.  We never go anywhere without his glucose monitor, we always make sure there is extra insulin on hand.  Meals are planned out, carbs are counted, most food is prepared at home.  Gone are the days for him of pizza, sandwiches, fast foods, convenience foods, sugary foods.

I cannot and will not ever ignore that Todd has T1D.  Yes some days it is a huge inconvenience.  Some days it would be so nice to just to lay in bed and get up for a late leisurely breakfast.  Some days it would be nice not to have to sleep with an insulin pump next to me.  His disease is part of our relationship, it doesn’t define who he is or who we are.  But it is something that we both attend to every day.  I am seeing how much it requires of him to manage his blood sugar:insulin:food ratio.  I want to help him.  To take some of the stress and responsibility from him.  He managed it by himself for over 40 years.   He doesn’t have to do that anymore.  It is not a burden and it never occurred to me to not be with him because he has T1D.  But I can truthfully say that I had no idea how involved it is to live with this disease.

For those of you interested in reading more about Todd’s personal journey on becoming a Type 1 Diabetic and what he is now doing to heal this condition, you can access his Kindle version here.

Holiday Greetings

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.
 – Hamilton Wright Mabi

I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very joyous and peaceful holiday season and to thank you for your continuous and unwavering support throughout this past year. I look forward to serving you in whatever capacity I can in the New Year. We are poised for an exciting year filled with opportunities for growth and expansion in so many areas, especially around health and consciousness.

I’m not big on making New Year’s resolutions, but I do like to take time to reflect on the past year and see what is enriching my life and what makes me feel good.  Additionally, I’ll assess what didn’t work, hone in on what is draining and distracting. This helps me to make adjustments in the present moment so I can expect different outcomes as I move forward. I’ll write these reflections in a journal and sometimes I’ll make a vision board about how I want to feel and what I want to create in my life for the new year. When I get in touch with my core desired feelings, I am able to be clear about what I want.

If what you want for 2013 is more health and vitality, then you may be interested in one or both of the programs I’m offering in January. The first is my 21 Day Whole Body Cleanse. It’s a great way to kick off the new year and release all the those toxins that may be accumulating during this holiday season. It’s also a great jump start to a weight loss program. One of my previous participants just emailed me to say that she lost 22 pounds during the detox and went on to lose another 10 pounds for a total of 32 pounds!  

My wish for you in 2013, is that may you move more fully into who you are, that you have more joy, experience (even more) health and vitality, and that Love fills you from the inside out and from the outside in.

With Love and Kindness and Holiday Blessings,


Transformational Weight loss

Weight loss is a huge business with countless men and women struggling with obesity and overweight. Losing those excess pounds and maintaining that loss is not for the faint of heart. It requires dedication, commitment, a willingness to change, and the courage to look at the underlying issues that contribute to overeating, emotional eating, or choosing the wrong kinds of foods.
Transformational weight loss is about transforming your relationship with food, your body, and your Self. Ultimately it’s about transforming your approach to life and learning to truly nourish yourself on all levels: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
For some, it may be about transforming your state of health from “sick and tired” to “vibrant and energetic”. For others shifting from depression and low self-esteem to self-confidence and personal empowerment is the key. Weight loss is so much more than reaching a specific number on the scale. Transformational weight loss can take you from fear and stagnation to finding and fulfilling your life’s purpose.  
Physical Transformation
My approach to weight loss uses a customized integrated system. I look at an individual’s biochemistry through sophisticated lab work and metabolic assessment forms that my patients complete when they come to me. I also evaluate their current nutritional status and eating habits. Patients complete a food and mood diary so we can see not only what they are eating and when, but how that food affects their emotions and their energy levels.
We may even do food sensitivity testing. Often people are sensitive to foods and don’t even know it because their symptoms are subtle or delayed or both. It may take up to 4 or 5 days for some symptoms to reveal themselves and by then you may not have a clue that it was the corn tortilla you ate last Sunday that is giving you the belly ache or bloat you are feeling today.
With these tools and information at your disposal, the path to lasting physical transformation is clearer and in many ways easier to navigate.
Mental Transformation
Using your mind to help you lose weight is equally important. Align your subconscious with your weight loss goals by visualizing your body healthy and at your perfect weight. This will help you make wise choices around food and exercise. Yes, your mind can easily help you make healthful choices instead of always thinking about hot fudge sundaes or pizza!
You mind can also help you to discover a deep appreciation for your body and develop a positive relationship with food. It is the power of the mind that lets you learn to eat without stress or fear so you don’t trigger the hormones that cause you to eat more and turn much of what you eat into stored fat.
Emotional Transformation
Discovering the feelings, thoughts, and stories you have around food that underlie the habits and compulsions that are sabotaging your health and fitness is one of the most important steps to weight loss.
Self-defeating thoughts and emotions can drive a person to overeat, causing more self-loathing and low self-esteem that perpetuate the cycle of overeating because you feel so bad about your self that you are driven to eat to try to numb out those feelings.
Compassion and patience can replace the angst and fear around food and eating. The more you develop a healthy relationship with your body and self, the more you will WANT to choose to take care of yourself by eating healthy foods in an environment that is nurturing and pleasant. This change in perspective helps you live life to the fullest without unhealthy habits or addictive behaviors continually holding you back.
Spiritual Transformation
The more you believe in yourself and the better you feel about yourself, the more capable you are navigating life’s challenges successfully and potently. You can rise above self-doubt by trusting in yourself. It is possible to transcend negative thinking and release unhealthy relationships and move into a state of peace and self-confidence.
Putting it All Together
When working with a client on weight loss, or any health issue, I individualize my approach depending on the unique needs and history of that person. It is never a one-size-fits-all approach. Each person’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual history is unique and must be taken into careful consideration to achieve success.
I love the one-on-one relationship I develop with each patient and find that the most successful are those that see me on a regular basis, checking in with me either in person or virtually at least weekly. Our interactions are not about judging success or failure, but more about identifying right or wrong behaviors and understanding where and how I can best support each person.
Success is not about reaching a specific number on the scale. It’s so much more than that. It’s about changing one’s lifestyle, internal belief system, and shifting negative thinking to compassion for one’s self. It’s about trust, and healing and feeling good inside your skin.
Sometimes the changes you make are big strides, sometimes baby steps are a cause for great celebration. And sometimes there’s a slide backwards, but all of this is part of the process. Finding success is all about learning from what is and isn’t working, and getting up and starting again when we fall short of our ideal.
Partnering for Success 
My intention is to be your coach, your guide, your confidante, the wind beneath your wings!  I develop life-long relationships with my patients so I can be there when they lose their footing, need a little assistance to get back on course, or just need to check in from time to time.
Change doesn’t come easy for most of us and old habits are sometimes extremely hard to break. We can all use a compassionate comrade to rely on who won’t judge us or fault us if we slip and fall. I hope I can be that someone for you when you most need it.

It’s All About Balance

With fall Equinox nearly here, it seems fitting to talk about balance. In the Northern Hemisphere the sun is now rising later while nightfall comes sooner. This week will mark the Autumn Equinox when day and night are approximately equal in length. From then until the Winter Solstice, the days will gradually become shorter as the nights grow longer.

We’ll shift from spending more time outside, to the more contemplative season indoors. But until then, get out and enjoy the last golden days of summer because it will soon be over!
Just as the Earth requires a balance of light and dark, heat and cold, death and rebirth, the cycles and various aspects of our lives must also find a balance. What does being in balance really mean? And how do we create balance in our lives?Most of us are very good at doing, but not so well-practiced at being. In this To Do world, we are in the habit of doing something or thinking about doing something from the moment we get up in the morning until our heads hit the pillow at night. Right from the start, we are already out of balance.
Usually our bodies will give us a clue (or two or three) that things are out of balance, and if we pay attention, we can change what we are doing and shift things. For instance, too much doing can cause fatigue, headaches, depression, anxiety, digestion issues, unexplained body aches and pain to name a few. 
To help your mind and spirit find balance, try having a daily “being” list, as opposed to just a “to do” list. For example, commit to spending a few quiet moments each morning with no agenda but sitting, focusing on your breathing, relaxing your body, meditating, sipping on a cup of tea, and expressing gratitude for your life. Wayne Dyer writes that when he wakes up each morning the first words and thoughts he expresses are “Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!”

When it comes to your body, being in balance means a number of things. For one, when your body is in balance, it is in homostasis and homeostasis is necessary for health. Your body naturally gravitates toward balance and it will do what ever it can to bring all systems into harmonious function. Those uncomfortable symptoms of dis-ease mentioned above are your body’s way of trying to get your attention, to tell you things are falling off the rails somewhere.

To give your body what it needs to achieve balance feed yourself a fresh, healthy diet of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Balance exercise with rest, pleasure with work, and quiet time activity.
Living in balance looks different for each person. You have to find out for yourself what your life looks and feels like when in balance. With daily practices like a “being” list, proper attention to the needs of our physical body, and setting good boundaries when it comes to external commitments and obligations you are well on your way.
Some of the benefits of living a balanced life include:
*Better health and more vitality
*More self-confidence and sense of purpose
*More happiness and peace of mind
*Positive relationships
*More Positive thinking (which leads to more positive outcomes)
*Better budgeting with some savings
*More self-discipline increasing the likelihood that you will achieve your goals
*Less stress and living in a relaxed manner
*Living in harmony with nature
*Better time management
*Living a more fulfilled life
*Balancing work and family results in being happier at work and happier at home
*More joy, peace of mind, better health
No question, I think these benefits are worth the energy it takes to make a few changes, if that’s what’s needed to bring more balance into your life.
Think about one or two things you can do today to bring about more balance, at a minimum set aside time for “being” rather than doing, and treat your body to the physical conditions it needs to be healthy and strong. From here just wait and and see what positive changes show up!

The Healing Power of Presence

One important component of healing from abusive and emotional eating is learning to stay in the present moment and becoming fully aware of what you are experiencing emotionally, physically, and mentally.

There is usually some driving force that we are unconsciously aware of that sends us running to refrigerator, or the candy drawer for another piece of chocolate. Some overwhelming thought, feeling, or memory is invoked from deep within our subconscious and before we know it, we are reacting to it by trying to numb out with food. The truth is, food can never heal an uncomfortable emotion or feeling, nor will it erase a painful memory, or fill an empty heart.  

What food can provide us is sustenance and a direct connection to the abundance of the Earth. Food also brings friends and family together and is a means of creative expression for those who love to cook.
The next time you sit down to eat, try this one simple act: put down your eating utensil between bites while you chew your food. Do not take another bite of food until your mouth is empty.  Observe what your mind is saying to you while you slow down and eat. You may feel impatient, anxious, and annoyed. Your mind might be saying “this is stupid”. But as this way of mindful eating becomes a habit, you will begin to notice something new emerging in your relationship to food: appreciation, pleasure, and satisfaction.
Even the simplest snack can be a joyful experience when what you eat is chosen mindfully and you are fully present while eating it.
Next month’s newsletter will focus on the body and how to exquisitely care for your precious vessel from a loving kindness perspective. I will also share ways to inhabit your body and appreciate its inherent magnificence!

The Sacred Art of Mindful Eating

If you have ever continued to eat even when you were full or ignored your body’s signals that it was time to eat, obsessed over your weight, or felt guilt or shame around your body, then you have engaged in mindless eating. These behaviors inhibit your ability to listen to and understand the messages your body is sending you and often this disconnect arises out of a dieting mindset.

Chronic dieting encourages the split between your body and mind making behaviors like mindless eating highly likely if not inevitable. What’s more, chronic dieting and obsession with your body and weight has a truly devastating effect on your self-worth because it severs your relationship with your Soul, the unifying force that balances mind and body.

Division between your body, your mind, and your soul keeps you locked into the ego and its often faulty messages. You begin to think that your thoughts and your ego’s interpretation of your feelings are truth, believing whatever your ego is telling you. It’s a no-win, no-way-out situation that creates an endless cycle of misery and pain, preventing you from living joyously and passionately.

The only way to re-establish the connection between your mind, body, and soul is to begin the practice of mindfulness. For chronic dieters, overeaters and under-eaters alike, years of mindless eating have robbed you from living a Soulful and balanced life. The behavior of mindless eating is not the underlying problem itself, but it is a symptom of deeper, more complex issues that exist in your psyche and body. Learning to eat mindfully, then, can be the first step on your journey to living a more soulful, spiritual, and passionate life.

Embrace where you are now. In this very moment make the commitment to break free from your patterns of mindless eating and all the negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that go along with it. Allow yourself to take one step at a time. Your journey to mindful eating is a spiritual path. And everything that arises on this journey is worth paying attention to. There is no failure here, only information that will help you to more deeply understand who you are and what you need in order to be in balance.

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindfulness is about relaxing and tapping into your body’s infinite wisdom. Mindful eating is paying attention to all the thoughts, feelings, patterns, physical sensations, and emotions that arise around hunger, food, and eating. It is to master control of your mind. It is to know your hunger and to determine if it is true physical hunger or emotional hunger. It is not about developing strict disciplinary rules.

Learning to eat mindfully is a process. Most people find that they need help to change their old patterns. I highly recommend working with a group or professional who is well versed in the practice of mindfulness and mindful eating. After years of facing my own struggles with mindless dieting and obsessive thinking around weight and body image, I found that the practice of mindful eating was the most profound step to developing a loving relationship with my body and realigning myself with my life’s purpose. How ironic that my life’s purpose is to help others heal from abusive eating and learn to love and live in their bodies and to reconnect to their Soul!

One Size Does Not Fit All: A Holistic Approach to Break Free from Abusive Eating™

Most weight loss programs take one of two approaches: focusing on what you can or cannot eat, or advocating giving up dieting once and for all and focus on healing the underlying reasons why you eat emotionally.  Which approach is right?  I say both are!
Abusive eating, like most addictive and destructive behaviors, evolved over a period of time.  It started out slowly and built gradually so it likely didn’t even seem like there was a problem; maybe for many years. But over time, the behaviors solidified into patterns that are now a problem affecting your soul, your mind and heart, as well as your body. In order to overcome these deeply ingrained patterns and behaviors, one needs address the issues within the body, the mind, and the Spirit. The process of unraveling can seem daunting and endless but once we begin to actually drop in and experience what is there to be worked with, it’s usually not as intimidating as the thought of it is.
I remind my students that it is the journey not the end result where we experience our true nature and divine healing. This, my friends, requires us to stay in the moment and not lament about the past or worry about the future.  This is an ongoing practice where we gently bring ourselves back to the present when we find ourselves planning, worrying, regretting the past or fearing the future.
I wrote in last month’s newsletter about the importance of being in your body to be able to know what it is telling you it needs, whether that be food, rest, touch, etc.
My holistic integrated approach to healing abusive eating takes you through practical steps to be in your body.  We address:
  1. Dietary guidelines that meet your body’s current needs – these often change as your body’s  biochemistry changes.
  2. Hormonal and blood sugar imbalances that could be triggering your emotional eating.
  3. Eating guidelines adapted from my own practice to help you relearn healthy eating habits.
  4. How to distinguish emotional hunger from physical hunger.
  5. How to manage emotional hunger; hint: it will never be healed with food.
  6. Self love and Self care practices to feed yourself with love and nourishment on a Soul level.
  7. How to love and enjoy your life as it is right now.
  8. Ways to bring more pleasure into your life.
I do not embrace a “one size fits all” approach.  Instead, I tailor my program to meet your individual needs. With this holistic approach to healing, your life will simmer with possibility and an abundance of gratitude as you are freed from the torture of abusive eating.