From Iowa, USA:
I'm a sixteen year old male diabetic. I take good care of myself. Is there anywhere I can contact runners or soccer players? I feel like it is hard to train for sports as a diabetic. I also need to know how to lose weight as a diabetic. I've been diabetic since I was 10. It was easy when I was younger and less social, but now it has become more difficult. Are there any helpful hints you could give me to dealing with social situations, or put me in contact with other sixteen year olds?
First of all, I think it is great that you take good care of yourself and that you are active and like sports. Training for sports as a diabetic is really no different than training for sports if you do not have diabetes. The same training principles apply to everyone. The one significant difference for an individual with diabetes is that blood glucose monitoring before during and after exercise is an essential part of your training program. This will enable you to make any adjustments necessary with your food and insulin requirements.
With regard to your losing weight. You have not supplied me with any information about your height and weight. My suggestion to you would be to see a nutritionist (one who works with people like yourself, who play sports and are athletic). This person will be able to look at what you are eating and help you make the necessary changes that are appropriate for you; e.g., you may be taking in too many calories with each meal, you may need to adjust portion sizes, or you may be eating foods that are high in fat and/ or sugar. A good nutritionist will be able to guide you in making healthy choices and lifestyle changes that you can enjoy and stick with.
Lastly, with regard to dealing with social situations. Diabetes can sometimes affect both how you feel about yourself and your relationships with others. At the present, you may be experimenting with relationships, trying to find out who your really want to hang out with. If you aren't having the greatest experiences, it probably won't do wonders for your self-esteem. On the other hand, when you are in control and doing well, it can add to other areas of your life. This is the time for trying out relationships with all sorts of different people, that is I mean giving people a chance who aren't like any of your other friends. This is part of finding out who you are as well as the kind of people you want to hang out with. Remember, when you have diabetes, finding out how other people react to your disease is also part of the bargain. Even though friends can understand part of what it is like to have diabetes, they'll never completely know what it's like. Remember: that's okay. What's most important is that if they really are your friend they will accept you for who you are whether you have diabetes or not. One nice way to meet new people and deal with social situations might be to try the chat rooms here at children with DIABETES. This is a good place to start.
Original posting 26 Jun 97
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