She's known as the Diabetes Dominator, but the real name and face behind that moniker is fellow type 1 Daniele Hargenrader.
Diagnosed as a girl more than two decades ago, Daniele not only has a strong voice in the Diabetes Online Community through her monthly series of video interviews, but she also works as a personal health coach. I met her at the first-ever Diabetes UnConference in Las Vegas this past Spring, and it was great to be able to give this powerhouse PWD a big hug.
Daniele is also in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to help her self-publish a book called Unleashing Your Inner Diabetes Dominator.
What does that mean? We'll let Daniele tell you herself...
A Guest Post by Daniele Hargenrader
When the diagnosis of diabetes hits, we all go through a multitude of heavy, sometimes crushing emotional reactions. Shock, disbelief, sadness, anger, denial, pity (why me?), confusion, and fear of what lies ahead. All too often, as it was in my diagnosis, there was no addressing the intense emotional aspect of living with diabetes, and many things began to go wrong as the future unfolded.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in September, 1991, a few weeks after my 9th birthday. After weeks of losing weight, excessive thirst, and bad stomach aches, my mom took me to the doctor, and after a finger prick in the office I was sent directly to the hospital where I stayed for seven long days trying to grasp all the information that was to be my new way of life. My mom, who is my best friend and the reason I know how to be strong in the face of adversity, slept on a cot next to my hospital bed every single night, never leaving my side. My incredible dad held down the fort with the plumbing business he owned, while also coming to the hospital every day. Since at that time computers were not a household item and there was no Internet, my mom, dad, and I got along for the next few years like most did in the beginning, with books, some info from doctors, a whole lot of trial and error, and luckily for me, unconditional love and support.
On August 25, 1994, which also happened to be the day after my 12th birthday and about three years after my diagnosis, my father passed away very unexpectedly at the age of 55. Combined with the unaddressed emotional fallout of diabetes, his sudden death sent me into a deep depression fueled by binge eating and feeling completely helpless and hopeless. I ballooned up to 200 pounds and my A1C stayed around 13.5-15% for the entirety of my teenage life.
It wasn’t until I was 19 years old that I realized that I was slowly but surely killing myself through my choices, and that I wasn’t reflecting the person I felt I was on the inside to the outside world. I knew I needed to change, and so the journey from obese to athlete began. What also began then was the first intentional acknowledgement of the fact that I never processed my diagnosis emotionally in the ways we all need to in order to move forward, make progress, and truly love and accept our perfectly imperfect selves.
Making life-altering changes is not easy, and to sound as cliché as possible, in order to have something we’ve never had, we have to become someone we’ve never been, and that is exactly what I did. In order to succeed at changing our bodies, we must first change our minds and know that we are ready, willing, and able to transform into an upgraded version of ourselves. Once we reach version 2.0, we will then start working on 3.0 and so on for the rest of our lives as optimal health is a never-ending journey that we have the privilege to be on if we so choose.
I decided to use my mind to change my body. I decided to (while completely out of shape) go to school to become a Certified Personal Trainer. Pairing that with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition Science, I am now blessed to have been living my passion for the last six years, teaching and coaching others with diabetes how to think, eat, and move in ways that allow them to achieve a quality of health they never thought possible, the same way I once thought about myself.
What started as an awesome interview series that I created with the intention of providing our amazingly powerful Diabetes Online Community (DOC) with as many positive role models as possible to inspire other people with diabetes to step into their own personal power of choice, has now transformed into our first diabetes book, aptly titled Unleash Your Inner Diabetes Dominator.
The book is part inspiring personal stories of struggle and triumph, part how-to book on mindset and healthy habits, and part guidebook highlighting the meaningful relationships we build with others with diabetes, written to show others how they can do much more than simply “get by” with diabetes, but thrive with it.
We are currently running a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign to raise awareness (and of course funds!) for this book written for the diabetes community by the diabetes community. We are incredibly happy, shocked, and proud to say that we hit our initial funding goal in just 3 days and are now working hard towards our first stretch goal. For more information on the project, to see some exclusive limited edition rewards that won’t be offered again, and to be part of the movement towards thriving with diabetes go to http://diabetesbook.com. Even a $1 pledge means the world to us and moves us that much closer to helping more people.
Being willing to embrace and welcome change is the most crucial aspect of both surviving and thriving. Change gets a bad rep and so many of us resist it, but in reality it is one of the only things that remains constant in our lives. When we expect and understand change rather than fear it, incredible things begin to happen. This requires strongly believing two things that I have learned from two of my most influential mentors, Tony Robbins (pioneering life coach) and Brendon Burchard (one of the most-followed personal development trainers): 1) the past does not equal the future, and 2) we should never limit the vision we have for ourselves or our lives based on our current circumstances or competencies.
Thanks for sharing, Daniele, and for everything you're doing to help others. We look forward to reviewing your book in the near future.