Catching up with Ginger Vieira

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Where do I start?  Ginger is like a powerhouse of a gal.  She has type 1 diabetes and Celiac disease.  She is a record holding power lifter, a yoga instructor, expert vlogger, a health coach, motivational speaker, a published author, and an all around great asset to the Diabetes Online Community.  I’m always appreciative of her perspective and positive energy.

Here, I interview her to find out what she’s been up to lately and see what wisdom we can take away.

I loved your book, “Your Diabetes Science Experiment” and highly recommended it in my review on this site. What other feedback have you received from people who’ve read it?

What I’ve heard the most is that it’s very easy to understand, and it explains the answers to questions that so many people are frustrated over all the time! My goal in writing the book was to help people not only understand why their blood sugars were high or low, but to empower them! To give them the confidence that they can actually take action to prevent those unwanted highs or lows, instead of accepting them as part of life with diabetes.

I recently received a Facebook post from a woman who’d read the book saying that it saved her life because she was about ready to give up on her diabetes. Instead, she found the answers to questions she’s had for so long and discovered that she is absolutely capable of managing her diabetes. I can’t ask for a better impact on someone’s life with this disease than that.

Another big thing I think almost everyone will gain from the book is a deeper understanding how balance exercise around a life with diabetes. It can absolutely be done, and you can absolutely enjoy exercise with diabetes, but you have to learn a few really important things in order to make it all happen. So far, my book seems to be providing those lessons for people!

In the end, what I hope reaches the reader is inspiration, empowerment, and motivation. And of course, a feeling that you are not the only person in the world having to deal with this crazy disease every day. It’s really crazy when you think about what we have to do day in and day out. We’re keeping ourselves alive, and we all deserve a good pat on the back.

For more testimonials, interviews and blogs about my book, visit this link!

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Are you planning to write any more books?

YES! Have I begun writing it? No. But I have the outline and I know exactly what I want it to give to its readers. This book is about how diabetes impacts your relationship with food. As a diabetes coach, this is one of the challenges I help people with the most often. Diabetes twists up your emotions and connection to food so much that it’s so easy to wind up using food as a weapon against yourself, against the disease.

It’s often builds like this: You can’t control that you have diabetes.You can yell at any specific person for giving you this disease. And you can’t throw the towel in completely just to spite your diabetes because that’ll be the end. Instead, you punish your body, your disease, with food.

It’s incredibly common, unspoken, and difficult to overcome. It is one of my favorite things to help my clients overcome because it is SO POSSIBLE to overcome — I’ve seen so many do it! But you’ve got to start at the beginning and I believe I have a few methods of working with people that prove to be very effective.

Where would Carmen San Diego be if she had diabetes?

Oh, she’d definitely be in Vermont. :) It’s beautiful in Vermont, people are friendly and happy, and being active and eating well is always encouraged as a regular part of your daily life!  And we love dogs in Vermont!

You tend to be very focused on positive and empowered thinking. Why is that and do you have any tips for others on how to do that?

I guess I would say I’ve always been a very positive person, but gradually, I became very, very aware of how much impact our own inner-dialogue has on our lives, our actions, and who we become.

I don’t leave much room in my head for negativity anymore. When I find it there, I get rid of it as fast I can. If you keep putting negative thoughts in your head, or criticizing yourself, or telling yourself you’re not capable of something, then that is exactly what you’re going to believe.

I tell myself, “I can. I can. I can.” And then I try my very best. If at first I don’t succeed…I try again!

If you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re ugly or stupid, make a rule with yourself: you are not allowed to keep allowing those thoughts in your head. As soon as you start telling yourself negative things, stop yourself, and tell yourself the opposite: “I am beautiful. I am smart.” Even if you don’t believe those things yet, tell yourself those things until you realize they are true.

I also started noticing that every time something scared me, and I pursued it anyway, it became another experience that absolutely made me a stronger, smarter person…and the more it made me understand who I am and what I want for my self.

Even little things: during high school the movie theater I worked at promoted me to Assistant Manager with a bunch of 40 year old men, and then me, a 15 year old female. In college, the writing department asked me to be the Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper even though I had no journalism experience. And you can bet that when someone suggested I compete in a powerlifting competition, I was extremely nervous! But I told myself “I can. I can. I can.” And it was so worth facing that fear, small or big.

The first step is admitting that the way you talk to yourself DOES MATTER! I think it’s very hard for people to accept this, and really take responsibility for their own happiness. Yes, there are situations like depression where you have additional challenges, but in the end, life is hard for everyone, and it’s up to you to make life what you want it to be. The way you think impacts the way you believe…which impacts your actions…which impacts your life.

What is your favorite way to de-stress?

Ohhh, exercise! Powerlifting, especially, makes me happy. I mean, literally, I can be having a really stressful day, and then my time to workout with my coach comes along and I get to do deadlifts and squats and lat-pulldowns and power-cleans…and I am happy!

I also do a lot of cardio and plyometrics on the days I don’t powerlift. The challenge of it lights my brain up. I’ve been working on my box-jumps, being able to jump higher and higher. I can jump onto a box that’s about 2.5 feet now. Earlier this summer I was terrified of box-jumps! I do sets of 10 jumps, and then I jump-rope in between each set for about 90 seconds. Then I do either a set of 10 kettelbell snatches or pull-ups. Then I repeat the whole circuit 6 – 10 times…depending on how exhausted or sore I am from my other training! But by the end of that, I am always happy and tired! Exercise makes me feel like a million bucks.

I used to stretch and do a lot of yoga. I only do yoga once a week now. I used to do it more like 3-5 times a week, but part of my back pain last year was due to being hyperflexible, so the physical therapists told me to stop stretching so much! Ridiculous! I never knew a person could become too flexible. It’s not unlike me to overdo things!

And friends. I have awesome, fantastic, hilarious, kind friends. People I’ve found to surround myself with. They’re always a phone-call away.

You’ve been a health coach for a while. Why is health or life coaching so beneficial for people with diabetes?

Because this disease is insanely complicated. Not just the management of it, but the actual task of including it in your life and making it part of your daily world. Diabetes is non-stop. As a coach, I help you break it all apart and look at what really matters, what you really want for your life and your health. I help you clear out the gunk that you’ve been storing in your head, all the things you’ve told yourself and that you’ve settled into a habit of believing that are getting in your way. Then I help you build new habits, new ways of thinking, and new beliefs about who you are and what you deserve.

That’s very hard to accomplish on your own. As your coach, I’m with you every week!

Winter is upon us and so many people, including myself, seem to struggle a lot with staying on top of our diabetes management during this time of year. What would you recommend a fellow diabetic who is suffering from diabetes burnout?

The first step? Acknowledge what you’ve been doing (or not doing) and forgive yourself! This disease is hard work. Constantly. I would love a day off. LOVE IT. I cannot imagine what my brain would do with all of that extra energy if I didn’t have to manage my diabetes all day long. It’s understandable that we get burnt out. In fact, it should be something we expect. So forgive yourself for being human.

Secondly, write down what you REALLY want for yourself. Ask yourself: Do I deserve to be healthy? Do I want to be healthy? And put it down in words. Write it down!

And lastly, start slow. Set a small goal for yourself. If you haven’t been checking your blood sugar at all, then set a simple goal like: I’m going to check my blood sugar once a day at 8 a.m.

If you’ve been skipping your insulin, then set a simple goal like this: I’m going to make sure I count my carbs and take my insulin for lunch–always. Just lunch. If I happen to take my insulin at other meals, that’s great. But for two weeks, I’m just going to focus on lunch.

And write it down. In big, bold letters that you can’t ignore. Make your new goals known.

Here’s a video blog I made on Diabetes Burnout!

What are your plans for this upcoming 2012?

To have FUN. In work. In play. In everything. I’ve really come to learn that I cannot, and will not, continue to do anything in my life that doesn’t feel right. Whether it’s a job that doesn’t line up with what I really believe in, or uses of my free time that don’t really feed my energy…I won’t do it! Life is too short and I want to spend my time and energy doing things that mean something to me and the people around me. Things I believe in.

I plan to write my next book, “Your Diabetes Relationship with Food” during the year of 2012, and hopefully have it ready to be published by the beginning of 2013. It will be a different process than my first book because I plan to do a lot of interviewing and incorporating other people’s stories in how diabetes has impacted their relationships with food. If anyone is interested in sharing their story, and being interviewed, please let me know! (Ginger@living-in-progress.com).

I will also begin working as the Mental Skills Coach for TeamWILD! If you sign up for one of the TeamWILD training camps in Boulder or San Diego…or one of the TeamWILD online training programs to become an endurance athlete, I will be your Mental Skills Coach! At the camps, I’ll be running seminars in person. If you sign-up for an online program, you’ll receive three videos from me over the course of your program.

During 2012, I hope to build my powerlifting strength back up enough to possibly compete next winter, or during the early Spring of 2013. I don’t know yet! My back is feel pretty great but I still can’t train as hard as I used to be able to. Mostly, I’m just grateful and happy to be able to lift heavy again…so when the time comes to compete, I’ll be grateful for that, too! The training is my favorite part.

Like I said, it’s about having fun and enjoying life. I choose how I spend my time. Everything I just talked about in the last few paragraphs are things that absolutely give me energy and make me smile.

Blue-Philo

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Thank you for the fun interview, Ginger!

Ways you can connect with Ginger:

Ginger’s website: http://www.Living-in-Progress.com

Ginger’s YouTube: http://www.YouTube.com/user/GingerVieira

Ginger’s Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/Ginger.Vieira

Ginger’s Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/GingerVieira

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