Diabetes and Your Goals by Rebecca Kelly

Does diabetes impact the goals you set?

We all have goals, desires, dreams to achieve something, to do something, to imagine ourselves being on Cloud 9 smiling so big that we did it!  When I turned 40, I had an unbelievable goal, one that did not even fit my personality or my diabetes disease….I wanted to compete in a bodybuilding show!!  Wow!  Really?!?!  Get on a stage, in a bling-bling bikini, be “judged”, and enjoy the journey???!!  You had to be joking, right?!

I remember driving to work and passing Kristal…she was a known IFBB Pro living in my community at the time…and I thought, “Why not?  Ask her if she can help.”  She exercised in the gym that I worked at.  I parked the car, marched in, determined no matter what to at least ask.  And guess what?  She said “Yes!”  And off we started, this journey of exercising 3 times a day, literally watching what I ate and knowing what foods I had to stay away from, and managing diabetes on top of it all.  Was I crazy?  No!  I was committed, more than ever, to show this disease who was in control.  I worked, I sweated, I cried, I started over again and again, knowing that if I could do this, anyone could.  People started following my journey, watching on the sidelines, asking questions about everything, being curious of the outcome.  Kristal was pivotal in guiding me both physically and mentally as this was wayyyyyyy out of my comfort zone.  I went through weeks of exercise cycles, heavy lifting, pyramid lifting, metabolic workouts, cardio cardio cardio, timing my food intake and keeping a close eye on my sugar.  Fatigue was a weekly monster always on my back.  I kept going.  I was noticing changes and so was everyone else.  I had more muscle definition, I was losing weight, I was getting stronger, my endurance was improving…and my sugar was leveling with the better nutrition choices of proteins and veggies coupled with the exercise.  

The day finally came!!  The hard work was done, the variables were managed and conquered, and the stage fright…well, that was still there!  With my husband cheering me on and Kristal prepping me backstage, it was my turn to shine.  With all the thoughts in my head, I pushed everything aside, whispered a prayer, and with 5-inch high heels and my headstrong determination, I walked on that stage to prove someone with diabetes CAN accomplish amazing things.  My very first bodybuilding competition, I brought home a 4th place trophy and an intense “fever” to do it again!!  I was so proud and so in awe of that moment and I made it happen, with the help of my husband and a couple close friends who believed in me as much as I did, we accomplished more than we could have imagined.  Others gained confidence knowing my story, they started setting goals they thought were previously unattainable.  They congratulated me and literally said “And you did that with diabetes!”  Yes, yes I did!  Since that day I have competed in 9 bodybuilding competitions and brought home 13 trophies!!  

Don’t let diabetes stop you from doing something big, something impactful, something out of your comfort zone.  We have diabetes, it is a disease, do not allow it to be a “Debbie Downer” for how we live our life.  Set your goal, find your passion, and go get it!!

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