Take the “Healthy With Diabetes” Challenge!

By August 30, 2017Fresh Air Blog

Christel Oerum is the co-founder of TheFitBlog, a website about exercise, nutrition, and health for people living with diabetes. She just announced her next Healthy With Diabetes Challenge starting September 13th, 2017.

We had a chance to ask her a little bit more about her life with diabetes, what motivated her to start TheFitBlog, and what the Healthy With Diabetes Challenge is all about.

Tell us more about yourself and your connection to diabetes.

I’m a blogger, wife, diabetes advocate, doggie mom, fitness lover, MSc in Finance & Strategy, and certified personal trainer. I have been living with type 1 diabetes since 1997.

I run TheFitBlog.com together with my husband Tobias from our home base in Santa Monica, California, USA. The site is dedicated to all things health and diabetes with a strong emphasis on being active. Our mission is to inspire people with diabetes and give them the tools to live an active and healthy lifestyle.

My motto is “there is nothing you can’t do with diabetes”.

 

What inspired you to start The Fit Blog? 

My husband and I moved to Santa Monica in 2009 with our corporate careers. As I immersed myself into corporate America, I also got really into the local fitness culture (Santa Monica is sometimes called the world capital of fitness). I kept seeing all these strong fit women around me, and decided that this was what I wanted for myself.

I’ve always been active, but nothing like this. California brought out the fitness fan in me.

I’m very structured and analytical, so as I progressed in my fitness journey, I wanted to optimize my diabetes care as well, and make sure that my diabetes and fitness goals were aligned. So I looked online and in the scientific literature, but I didn’t really find the resources I was looking for. There are some resources on running and biking, but my love was resistance training, and the available information didn’t help me very much.

So I decided to create and document this knowledge myself, and that’s how TheFitBlog got started.

I started as my personal blog but very quickly grew to become a full-fledged website with around 100,000 monthly visitors, which just shows how big a need there is for information about exercise and healthy nutrition for people with diabetes.

We share diabetes articles, healthy recipes, meal plans, workout videos, and much more. We also have articles from a lot of other diabetes and health experts about the things that I don’t know enough to write about, like mental health, yoga, pregnancy, etc.

Can you tell us more about the Healthy with Diabetes Challenge? 

It’s a free 4-week challenge where a team of diabetes experts and I will take you through some of the most important things you need to know about diabetes and exercise, healthy nutrition, and how to establish healthy habits when you live with diabetes.

The challenge consists of 5 things:

  • Daily activities or “challenges” that takes you through everything you need to do in a step-by-step fashion
  • Articles covering the most important topics on physical and mental health with diabetes
  • Weekly meal plans
  • Workout programs that you can do during the challenge (home and gym workouts)
  • A Facebook support group for challenge participants in which you can ask questions, share your experiences and connect with other people who want to be Healthy With Diabetes
  • So if you’d like to join the challenge simply follow the link and sign up on TheFitBlog and we’ll send you your daily challenge per email.

The challenge starts on September 12 and you can sign up for the challenge now.

Tobias and I were inspired to create these challenges by all the (sometimes silly) challenges we saw in the fitness world. We wanted to create something specifically for people with diabetes that had a lot more impact and could really help people in their diabetes management.

We hosted our first “Fit With Diabetes” challenge in September 2016, expecting perhaps 100-200 people to sign up. Instead 1,900 people joined the challenge!!

The challenge was extremely popular with our readers and we have hosted two more since. For the last challenge, called “Strong With Diabetes”, almost 3,000 people signed up.

My motto is “there is nothing you can’t do with diabetes”.

If you were to make a recommendation to folks for the next book to pick up, website to visit, person to talk to, or tool to get their hands on that could be most helpful in diabetes management (maybe something that has made a big impact for you!), what would it be? 

I’d recommend connecting with other people living with diabetes. One option is to do that online and there’s a strong Diabetes Online Community (#DOC) across most social media channels.

I really like the different diabetes Facebook groups, since this is where you can find a “diabetes tribe” that’s interested in the same things you are. My tribe is the Fit With Diabetes Community, but there are plenty others, whether you’re into hiking, marathons, etc. Just do a search on Facebook.

Then of course there’s the in person interactions, whether that be through non-profits like Connected In Motion or local meet-ups. Meeting face-to-face always gives another depth of conversation, and I’ve never meet another person living with diabetes that I couldn’t learn something from.