Me And My Diabetes Journey

Vanessa Haydock

Type 1 Diabetes is a chronic, lifelong condition that effects the pancreas’s ability (an important organ in our bodies) to produce the hormone insulin, a hormone responsible for consistent blood glucose control. Without insulin, our body basically cannot function as it should, as this would result in high levels of glucose in the blood stream, leading to life threatening consequences, both long and short term. A person with Type 1 Diabetes is therefore required to self-administer the hormone insulin, consistently monitor blood glucose levels and food consumption, as well as make healthy lifestyle choices to compliment better control. So basically, we are required to do the job of an organ...LOVELY! Overall, Diabetes is not just physical strain on the individual, but also emotional and mental strain.

My Journey

I have had the joy of living with Diabetes since the age of three years old. Jokes aside, as I have now lived with the condition for such a long time, I don’t know any different! From the age of 3 – 11, my parents pretty much did everything for me, including:

  • Preparing my food
  • Carb counting my food
  • Administering my insulin
  • Checking my blood glucose levels
  • Sorting out my prescriptions and appointments

….. It was a breeze for me (not so much for my mum and dad!). Then BAM! I hit my teens, whereby the fact I was so reliant on my parents, meant that gaining independence was HARD! I fell in to a huge state of denial and was incredibly de-motivated as a teenager to look after my Diabetes (YES DIABETES COACH OVER HERE HOLDING MY HAND UP, BUT I think we can all relate…..). Growing up as a teenager with Diabetes is HARD, especially when you want to be just like your friends, eat what you want, drink what you want and have that ‘f**k it’ attitude. But, as a Diabetic it isn’t that simple. Worst of all, social media back then wasn’t as well known (Piczo and Bebo were the closest thing), meaning I didn’t know anyone else with Diabetes (Imagine being a Brit in the middle of foreign country and nobody speaks English), resulting in motivation dropping and ultimately causing me to FORGET a lot of the time.

Unfortunately for me, it was the shock tactic that made me change……… a diagnosis of retinopathy at the age of 18. As a lot of you will know, retinopathy is a Diabetic eye disease causing damage to the blood vessels at the back of the eyes, due to long term high blood glucose levels, which unfortunately if left untreated, over time is likely to lead to blindness. That was the last straw for me! I wasn’t going to lose my sight at such a young age! So what did I do back then to start off my journey to better control:

  • Networked – Searched other diabetics online and started to communicate with them
  • I started to volunteer for Diabetes UK and JDRF, leading the peer support groups over google hangouts!
  • I started to check my blood glucose levels consistently – before and after each meal, eventually up to 12 times per day
  • I started to train hard and consistently
  • I tidied up my diet (bye-bye Fanta Fruit Twist)
  • I documented my BG levels to analyse exactly what was going on and why

Over time, my Hba1c dropped at a steady, healthy pace, I felt healthier, and I enjoyed networking with other Diabetics.

As I went through my 20’s, I went to university to do my bachelor’s degree in Psychology, along with my Masters in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), whereby Diabetes did not stop me regarding my education. I continued to improve my control, whereby 5 years ago I got into weight training in the gym consistently, also taking a huge interest in the wonderful world of nutrition, leading me to pursuing a career as a qualified health and fitness coach (alongside being a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst/consultant, whereby the two work VERY well together). This led me to think about who I wanted my niche audience to be – PEOPLE LIVING WITH DIABETES! Why – because us Diabetics need the support from those who UNDERSTAND what it is like to live with condition, and how to take back control of our Diabetes, both mentally and emotionally.

So, I set out with the goal to be a health coach for those living with Diabetes, not just coaching my clients towards achieving their health and fitness related goals (fat loss, muscle mass etc.), but most importantly, helping them to take back control of their Diabetes via implementing healthier behaviours and habits, whilst also providing peer support to my clients.

So here I am…… a Diabetic health coach, personal trainer and behaviour analyst, out to help as many people as I can meet their health and fitness related goals. For more information on my Diabetes online coaching, along with the other services I offer, please click here. And to all the Diabetics reading this………..KEEP PUSHING FORWARD!


No Control During A Hypo

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Contact Details

VH Health Coaching Services
Unit 4
Roundhouse Court,
Barnes Wallis Way,
Buckshaw Village
Tel: 0787 517 6661