How to heal your relationship with your body after being diagnosed with T1D

June 15, 2023

On episode 61 of the Reclaim Your Rise podcast, Coach Emily shared her story about being diagnosed with type one diabetes two years ago. She talks about her experience being stereotyped as a T2D because she was an adult and how she felt pressure to “look fit… thin… strong, and the relationship that I had with my body was very much like I have to do whatever it takes to try to look this certain way.” A major shift in her mindset was learning how learning how to appreciate her body for what it does, not necessarily how it looks.

Part of that journey for Coach Emily included learning to paraglide with her husband 6 months after being diagnosed with T1D.
“We didn't want diabetes to hold us back from living our dreams. So we figured out how to do that, how to make the shift of living out of our house for a few months in Utah where we could learn to fly. And being able to take away some of the fears around unknowns… how that relates to my relationship with my body is just like appreciating what it can do… I can paraglide, I can hike, I can exercise and feel good in my body, and it doesn't have to look a certain way for me to do any of those.”

Read on for 5 key strategies Coach Emily uses to manage her blood sugars while paragliding.

5 things I do as T1D Paraglider

  1. Have my low snacks + insulin administration devices accessible and tethered.
    I have all my stuff hooked on so if it gets bumpy/crazy up there and it falls out of my flight deck it'll just be hanging on a cord vs gone forever. I also have plenty of extra supplies with me for the flight + more so I am prepared if I need to hike out from wherever I land
  2. Get curious about my patterns.
    Just like other kinds of movement, you can't know what's going to happen without observing. I've learned what to expect through observing what happens and applying that to the next flight.
  3. Look out for the stress hormones!
    On more intense flights or most landings I'll see a little spike in my blood sugar. I can either practice calm mindfulness techniques to help ease some of that or give a correction where needed.
  4. Be intentional in preparing for the flight.
    Flights can be hours long so I like to have an easy-to-bolus-for meal beforehand so I am full + can feel confident with my BS going into it
  5. Communicate with others about my T1D
    I let my instructors or flight friends know about my diabetes so I can get assistance from anyone if I ever need it. Should an emergency arise, everyone benefits from being in the know!