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Life is busy! When there are competing demands on my time, here four strategies I use to prioritize exercise:

Identify the Optimal Workout Time

Right now 6:15 AM is my time. Early morning works for me because (for the most part) the rest of my life doesn’t get in the way. If something does interfere, I can often manage to squeeze in a little exercise later in the day (multiple short walks, evening run, etc.). Another huge motivator - I can dial back the insulin for a couple hours afterward.

Leverage Technology

With so many tech tools designed explicitly to support the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, why not give some a try? Here’s what I’m using right now:

  • Garmin Connect logo Connect App Garmin Vívofit  – A birthday gift from my family.
  •  5K Runner App Logo 5kRunner App – With this $3 investment I got in shape for my first 5k.
  •  audible logo Audible.com – I got a Groupon for a 3-month trial and liked the service so much, I extended my membership. The trick? I don’t let myself listen to a book unless I’m out for a run.
  • Podcasts – Sometimes I change it up and listen to podcasts while I run. Current favorites include: The Moth, This American Life, New Yorker Fiction.
Recruit Friends and Family

I don't know about you, but I don't get to see enough of the people I care about. So here’s what I did:

  • I got a pedometer for my husband and challenged him to a steps competition. While I know the 10,000 steps are arbitrary, they still serve as a useful milestone. In fact, it was those 10,000 steps that inspired me to start running - because I didn’t have time to walk them all 10,000 of them.)
  • I invited friends to walk and/or run with me. It’s good for us all, right?
  • I invited a few other friends to go to Zumba with me. Just $5 a class at our local rec center. Great music, great company.
  • I signed up for a neighborhood 5k. Did I mention that I am was not a runner? (See what I did there? Now I am a runner.)
  • I invited my 11-year old to run with me on the weekends. (We take turns playing favorite songs for each other. I love learning what she’s into!)
  • I realized that my neighbor and I have memberships at the same gym. Now we go to the gym together.
Vary the Activities

Admittedly, I like routines, and I have to work at introducing variety. Here's what I'm doing now:

  • Cardio and weight lifting (2x/week)
  • Yoga (1x/week)
  • Running (2x/week)
  • Fast-walking (1x/week) or Hiking

How about you? How do you stay committed to exercise?Logo for 7th Annual Diabetes Blog Week

This post is part of Diabetes Blog Week.
The Prompt: Diabetes tips and diabetes tricks.
For more perspectives on this topic, click here.

I was diagnosed with diabetes the summer before my sophomore year of high school. The initial treatment plan? “Take 2.5 mg of Glyburide daily and restrict sugar intake.” Because it was 1987 and glucometers weren’t available yet for home use, the doctor sent me home with Tes-Tape® and instructions to test my urine once a week or “whenever I felt like my blood sugar might be running high.”

For those who don't know, Tes-Tape® was just litmus paper. You’d tear an inch-long strip off the roll, pee on it, observe the change in color, then compare the color to swatches on the back of the container. The darker the the paper, the greater the urine glucose concentration. As a refresher: for kidneys to spill glucose, serum glucose level has exceed 180mg/DL, high enough to be causing damage. And by the time it shows up in urine, it's likely been that way for several hours. So, any color at all on the test strip indicated some degree of bad news (with no strategy for correction).

Tes-Tape
Image courtesy of perlebioscience.com

I dutifully carried the Tes-Tape® to school every day at school, zipped in an interior pocket of my backpack. But here's the thing: peeing on a narrow, inch-long strip of paper is messy! So, no, I didn't test my urine in my high-school bathroom stall. In fact, I never, ever, would have used it at school. None of my friends had diabetes. None of my friends' friends had diabetes. No teenager I had ever heard of had diabetes.  And, like many teenagers, I just wanted to be like everyone else.

Over Spring break that year I visited my friend in upstate New York. At some point during the trip, her aunt asked me, “I understand you recently found out you have diabetes. How is that going for you?” I replied that it was OK, but admitted that it was a drag not to be able to eat everything my friends ate.

She listened, and then offered a fresh perspective: Had I ever considered how movie stars ate? She went on to describe that movie stars - who lived lives of luxury and ate as they pleased - elected to limit their sugar intake. Movie stars knew sugar was bad for them. It was bad for their bodies, bad for their complexions, and it contributed to premature aging.

I had not considered this, and it got my attention. Sure, she was appealing - very effectively - to my teenage vanity. But I also understood in that moment that I could create a positive framework for diabetes. Instead of feeling deprived of sugar, I could choose to bypass it in favor of something better. Say, ripe, seasonal fruit.

I remember this conversation often when I reach for a luscious July peach instead of a sugary doughnut. "What would Jennifer Anniston do?" I think to myself.

This post is part of Diabetes Blog Week.
The Prompt:
How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally?  Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk?

To read more posts on this topic, click here.

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