Being diagnosed as diabetic can come as a shock; you may wonder, how serious is it? Is it going to impact on the quality or length of my life? How do I live with diabetes and manage a busy career and family?

Don’t despair! Pascal is a 50 year old father of two young kids and works full time as a CEO of a startup named Talent Cloud Media He is also a type 2 diabetic, but this has not slowed him down one bit. He regularly runs long distances, including full marathons, and also competes in long distance cycling events. I bumped into him 2 months ago while doing the Bray Cliff Walk and was inspired to write this article. Pascal took on the diagnosis with willpower, determination and a solid grounding that has enabled him to achieve incredible goals in his sporting and personal life, as well as his career. The reason why I am sharing with you his story is that I believe his journey is inspirational. Everyone can relate to it even if you don’t have diabetes.

I always assumed that only people suffering from obesity could be diagnosed with Type 2 or 1 diabetes. Meeting Pascal for the first time in 2011 as he was my manager in Microsoft consulting services, the one thing that struck me was both his mental and physical fitness. Although our department was on the 8th floor, he never took the lift and always found ways to remain active if he wasn’t able to do his run.

Managing your diabetes successfully

Overcoming the challenges that lie ahead with diabetes first means taking control and physically managing the condition – as Pascal puts it ‘’ taking personal responsibility and accountability”. Pascal explains diabetes as “glycaemia management” – that is, helping the body control blood sugar levels. This can be controlled via nutrition and lifestyle changes alone, as in Pascal’s case. For those with the rarer Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin so this needs to be administered medically. He also mentions that along of a healthy nutrition he has to take medication while he is not insulin dependent ” Type 2 diabetes can be be managed through nutrition only, I happen to be doing both, medication and diet and some diabetes can also be insulin dependent not only Type 1, which I would not qualify as ‘rarer’ but less prominent ”

Exercise is highly important in the management of diabetes – both on a physical as well as mental level. Regular exercise aids in maintaining a healthy weight, lowering blood pressure and reducing stress, amongst other benefits. Heading out for a walk, run or ride is also a great way to clear your head and bring back some mental strength when faced with a tough obstacle. Pascal was already a marathon runner and cyclist prior to his diagnosis, so fitness has been part of his life for a long time. However, with a busy work schedule and young family, it often takes much discipline and willpower to make it happen. As the well-quoted saying goes, “be stronger than your excuses”.

Nutrition is also an important factor in managing diabetes. With a busy life, it is too easy to grab a quick-fix food but ultimately this will make you feel worse. Instead, get to know healthier options and plan ahead. Pascal enlisted the help of a nutritionist to better understand how certain foods act in his body and set a solid dietary foundation. As he quotes “We are not part of the food police but we always have had healthy habits, we understand food, proteins, irons etc…. Obviously there are many things I cannot eat and we are working around that as a family, we scrutinise labels to death for example “

There are lots of resources out there for planning a diabetic nutrition, and it is well worth educating yourself and your family for a healthier way forward when living with diabetes.

Keeping a positive mindset

‘’ Nobody really knows what health challenges life may have in store for us but for me it was important to make sure I was doing my best to see my kids grow and become adults.’’

There are always going to be challenges ahead when living with a chronic condition, but you have it within yourself to achieve anything you set your mind to. There are a lot of misconceptions around diabetes and what diabetic living means, so think about educating your family and co-workers about the condition so they can better support you too. Pascal took on the diagnosis with a strong mindset, to stay positive, become educated and have the power to make the right choices for his long-term wellbeing. For him, one of the major considerations in how he lives his life is being a good role model for his children – they are always watching!

With a few simple changes and a little bit of determination and willpower, you too can live a full, happy, healthy life – even with diabetes as part of the plan.

Thank you for reading !

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