Wednesday Warriors

Wednesday Warrior: Jessica Willard

I’m Pumped to Announce This Week’s Wednesday Warrior: Jessica Willard

Jessica is one tough cookie. We were connected by a mutual friend because we have very similar goals in life. We both are on a mission to help inspire others to live a life full of happiness & health that is not bullied by diabetes. Jessica is a health and fitness coach and is consistently inspiring others to start their health journeys & live a life on their own terms (she inspires me every day!).

She is very encouraging and strong, mentally and physically, and I’m thankful she wanted to share her story with us all because it deserves to be heard!

If you want to make a life change but don’t know where to start, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Jessica. She is empowering, caring, and will inspire you to take action of your life today!

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Here is her story: 

I was diagnosed in July 1994.

I’ve been living with diabetes for 24 years.

I’m living in St. Louis, MO

My current occupation is a Full-time Meeting & Event Planner, Passion Project… Health/Fitness Coach

1. How do you currently manage your diabetes?

I have been managing my Diabetes using the Omnipod and Dexcom for years now. I love the Omnipod because you are Tube Free (the number of times I had previously gotten hooked onto a spiral notebook in the hallway at school or ripped a site out from getting hooked on a door handle was unreal! haha) and the Dexcom has completely changed the game when it comes to monitoring my blood sugar levels.

As far as diet goes, I am a strong believer in not cutting certain food groups out completely. I believe for anyone, but especially diabetics portion control is so important! Knowing how many servings of protein, veggies, carbs, fat, etc. that my body needs has helped me to get my blood sugar levels under control, and has also allowed me to enjoy some guilt-free treats!

I also typically workout 5-6 days per week, which not only improves my blood sugar levels but my overall mood and quality of life!

2. When did you begin your fitness journey?

I struggled with body image and binge eating disorder for years… I was never able to be happy or content with where I was at, always felt the need to lose weight, and felt so alone in my struggles.

This past fall something just clicked, and I decided to break the cycle I constantly found myself in.

I started sharing my health/fitness journey on social media and have been able to connect with so many other people who struggle as well, Type 1 Diabetics in particular. I’ve found workout programs that I enjoy, a nutrition plan that has taught me to have a healthy relationship with food and I’m more confident than I ever have been.

I share my story because I want to connect with others who have struggled, and I want to help them dig deep and find the beauty and confidence within them again!

3. How does exercise impact your blood sugar levels?

Personally, I have found that keeping workouts to about 30 minutes a day makes it easier to keep my blood sugar under control both during the workout and throughout the rest of the day.

During long periods of cardio, my blood sugar drops quickly. If I am planning on an hour of intense cardio, I will turn my basal rate completely off for about 30 minutes before my workout or have about 20 g of carbs before starting my workout.

The past few months I have incorporated more weight lifting into my routine than I ever have and found that my blood sugar does have the tendency to rise slightly during this.

Everyone is different and as we all know Diabetes is a game of guess and check until you find what works best for you!

4. Where do you get your support from?

I have the absolute best Fiancé, family, and friends. They all care so much about my wellbeing and will, of course, ask what my blood sugar is or how I am feeling without being too overbearing.

I am also an open book when it comes to my diabetes and they all know exactly what to do if my blood sugar is too high or too low and I can’t take care of myself… and I have been in that situation before.

My fiancé now inserts my CGM because I think he is better at it than me! If you are a friend of mine you can almost guarantee you have also had your finger pricked by me at least once! haha

Oh, and I have to brag on my mom who visited my elementary school classes every year growing up and read a book to the class about T1D and taught all of my classmates what Diabetes was and that I was still “just a normal kid”.

5. What is a piece of advice for someone who was just diagnosed?

You’ve got this. You are not alone. Don’t let diabetes hold you back. You can still do anything you want to do in life.

Lean into the diabetes community for support and ask questions, but know you have to find what works best for you! Diabetes is going to shape you into a very strong and independent person you just don’t know it yet.

6. What would you like someone who doesn’t have diabetes to know about your diabetes?

Unless you see my “robot parts” diabetes is very much an invisible disease and it is also the butt of many jokes.

And although it often looks like I have it all together and maybe like having Type 1 Diabetes isn’t all that hard, having diabetes can definitely take its toll on you. It can be both physically and mentally draining.

I read recently that someone with Diabetes has to make roughly 300 more decisions per day than a person without diabetes. Imagine having to count every carb that you ever put into your body, determining the correct amount of insulin to throughout the day to ensure your blood sugar does not go too high or too low, figuring out if you even have enough money to afford the medication that keeps you alive when the pharmacy companies keep raising the prices, never getting a full night sleep because diabetes calls and the list goes on…

The real kicker is that you could eat, drink, and dose insulin the same every day, but your results will never be the same.

I guess what I am trying to say is we can make this disease look like it is easy to manage, but it is not always easy, which is why we are all T1D Warriors… hoping to one day witness a cure that will change our lives.

7. How can someone reach you for more information on your fitness advice/exercise programs?

Connect with me on Instagram! @jwillard9
I would love to hear your story and cheer you on in your own health/fitness journey! 🙂

 

 

If you would like to personally connect with Jessica, please don’t hesitate to reach out! She would love to connect. 

You’re not in this war alone. We’re fighting this TOGETHER.