Have you ever been told that you can’t do something and found that it only fueled your desire that much more? Been told no so many times, you decided to finally stand up and say yes? My life completely changed when I decided to believe in MYSELF, stand up, and live the life I knew I deserved. Taking control of my health and well-being is the single greatest gift I could have ever given to myself. And by INVESTING in myself first, I found that all areas of my life turned for the positive. What is holding you back from reaching out and taking the life you want and deserve?
Back story - I was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes at age 5. No, it wasn’t because I ate too much candy or lived a sedentary lifestyle. I was a healthy, active kid who happened to come down with double pneumonia that would shut down my pancreas and leave me with a chronic condition that would overhaul so much of my life in the years to come. There are so many misconceptions about Type 1 and a social stigma around diabetics that honestly make me cringe. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard things like “aren’t diabetics fat?” “my grandpa lost his leg and died from diabetes” and my favorite “my cat had diabetes. I had to give it shots.” So many people tell me that they could never be diabetic because they can’t fathom the thought of giving themselves shots. Well guess what? When it’s take a shot to live, you adjust pretty quick! Over the next two decades after my diagnosis, I would deal with medical issues, disordered eating, and a shame associated with being chronically ill that would shape the rest of my life.
I had always been active, I played sports, rode horses, and was a cardio bunny, but nothing seemed to bring me the happiness I was so desperately seeking. For the life of me, I couldn’t get my blood glucose stabilized or a handle on my medications. My primary goal at the time wasn’t even my health. I was chasing a goal of being as thin as possible – even to the point of manipulating my medications. Nothing else mattered to me but being skinny. I truly thought it was the key to happiness. Added to that, an unhealthy relationship with doctors didn’t help. You were shamed any time your numbers were a bit out of whack (hello, hormones, stress, sleep schedule, training, food, everything under the sun impacts your glucose). Having a bad relationship with the one thing that was supposed to help me only made the situation worse! Many times, I would try to stretch my insulin to eat as little as possible or let my numbers run high so I wouldn’t be forced to eat extra calories. It was a dark time. Not many people were speaking out in the Type 1 Diabetic community either so you felt alone in the journey and a sense of shame – as if it was your own fault you lived this way.
Fast forward to five years ago when my life completely took a 180. I fell in love with the body building lifestyle. I saw women like Ashley Horner and Amanda Latona kicking ass, taking names, and living a life they loved. I decided that day I was going to do whatever it took to find that happiness. I started to teach myself everything I could about lifting and nutrition. I remember trolling the pages of Bodybuilding.com and coming across the Jamie Eason Live Fit program. I dove head first into soaking up everything I possibly could about this lifestyle. Very quickly I saw that my health condition became so much better. I was using less medication, feeling better, and FINALLY seeing the body changes I always wanted. All with doing less cardio, eating more food, and learning to love myself and love my life again.
The physical change wasn’t the biggest driver either. As I started to be more confident in myself and achieve milestone goals I set out for, my mind took the biggest shift. I started to speak out about my condition, connect with others who had shared similar feelings of shame and guilt, and start to build a platform to encourage, connect, and lift others up! I wanted to bring light to this at times dark condition and prove that you are really in control of your circumstances! I went out on a limb and thought if I could just show one other person there is light at the end of the tunnel, it would be worth it. And today, every message I get from a fellow Type 1 just proves that point. I owe everything to this lifestyle! I have met some of the most inspiring, courageous, and down right amazing friends throughout this transformation journey and I am forever grateful!
Since then, I am a lifestyle coach to other Type 1 clients, personal trainer, and have competed in 3 bikini seasons and this year am taking the leap into my next goal, to step on stage as a figure athlete in the NPC! I have the best support team behind me from my extremely understanding and positive light of a fiancé, amazing sponsors, extremely knowledgeable and proven coach, and community of friends and fellow diabadasses! I can say that today I am living a life that I truly love and can’t wait to wake up and work towards my goals every single day. Through consistency, dedication, and an irrefutable pursuit I live my life in a mindset of continuous improvement. Every day should be a little bit better than the last. Set a small goal, keep pushing forward, and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.
I will continue to work every day to bring awareness to Type 1 Diabetes, eliminate stigmas around chronic conditions, and prove that with a little heart, nothing can hold you back from your wildest dreams! I have big goals and can’t wait to see what the year brings! At the end of the day ask yourself, what’s your motivation? #knowyourmo #traininspired #fitsmoWritten By: KatLynne Joerg