My name is Terra Hillyer. I'm a health coach that was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 17 years old, and I believe that you are more than just your numbers, your trends, and your time spent in target.
Before I was diagnosed with diabetes, I was winning races and getting letters from universities that were looking to recruit me..... after diabetes I was coming in last.
I went from being a competitive high school athlete on a state champion team to barely finishing my events.
It was an identity crisis for sure.
I was sad, frustrated, angry and quite overwhelmed.
Before diabetes, I could push all my limits and my body just took care of me. It was automatic. Throwing up after a race meant you gave it your all, success! Going to the limit with running, the edge, made me feel incredibly alive. To live meant to push toward the limit.
After my diabetes diagnosis, I had to be aware, always in tune with how far I was pushing and extending myself. To live now meant to limit. It was now manual. Overtime, I have learned to return to pushing limits, so the message isn't that diabetes ends our dreams or abilities in life, the message is finding the right support and guidance to keep it possible!
Often people living with diabetes choose between focusing on reaching the numbers their doctors ask of them OR living their life to be who they desire to be, compromising one side or the other.
I know I did for a long time. Truly, it doesn't have to be that way.
What It Feels Like Today
Over the years, I have met few people where optimal numbers (HbA1c, BP, weight, BG, etc) and a balanced quality of life (dreams, relationships, aspirations) align.
To add to the stress, society is very loud about screaming “IT’S YOUR FAULT!”
I felt (and still feel) the heavy weight of shame and blame with diabetes, and that I was somehow at fault for my disease. For a person living with type 1 diabetes, this means spending a lot of time explaining the difference between type 1 and type 2. As though if it isn't our fault, it makes it easier.
I see a lot of the people I help spending energy trying to defend their type of diabetes or spending energy trying to deflect shame and blame.. and that sucks. It takes away the energy you need to achieve your dreams and live a better life.
That day I walked up to the high school track after my diagnosis, I felt like an explorer.
I had no one on my health care team supporting me in that goal to go back to the track. I had no one in my life who understood how to do diabetes and exercise like Terra did exercise. Which is scary as hell, but I said to myself...
"Let’s see what I can do".
I tried, I failed, I kept going, always. The only other option was to compromise what was important to who I am.
Three decades later, I have 2 wonderful kids, all sorts of outdoor adventures around the globe, including running ultra-marathons. (Note: ultra-running and diabetes have a lot in common. At times your body responds in ways that you can't understand, so looking into your toolbox is your only choice, you pick a tool, trust it and see what happens, you keep going.)
In 2020...the healthcare system is now offering services to look at diabetes management a bit differently and the technology and the treatments have evolved to provide new options and resources. So why would people living with diabetes benefit from a health coach?
No. Though health coaching is an emerging field, it is not a widely covered benefit by most health insurance companies. I do recommend that you check with your health insurance company.
I specialize in helping people living with pre-diabetes, type 1 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes looking to accomplish weight loss, increasing energy levels, curbing cravings and hunger, reducing stress, decreasing intake of processed foods and living a more whole & balanced life.
Personally, I have found a way of eating and lifestyle habits that serve my goals as a person living with diabetes. However, I firmly believe in the concept of each person has a unique food and lifestyle to serve their bio-individual needs. I work with my clients to figure out what will work for them on an individual, case by case basis.
Probably not. My recommendation is to contact me for more information, but I normally only accept clients who are interested in losing weight and lowering their HbA1C within the context of achieving a higher level of overall health and wellness.
I am contacted more often with this question than any other question. Yes, I can help anyone living with diabetes who is motivated to work toward their health goals. If the person you are asking about is not motivated to work toward their health goals, I recommend you contact me to further explore your concerns for your loved one.
Health coaching for people living with diabetes is beneficial for anyone ready and inspired to make changes in their life but unsure how to get started. Health coaches take the time to listen to your unique concerns and help you identify goals, strategies and solutions that work for you. If you are experiencing resistance toward your goals and are ready to change that, health coaching is right for you.
Seeing your doctor every 3/6 months ensures you are receiving regular medical care for living with diabetes. My coaching offers support and guidance between these regular medical visits with your doctor. Together we create a plan to implement actions to create the behavior change you desire.
Certified Diabetes Educators and Registered Dieticians are an excellent addition to your healthcare team. Their role is to provide advice and recommendations according to the goals your doctor prescribes for your diabetes. I provide support and lifestyle guidance to my clients according to the goals they have for their life and often work in conjunction with the recommendations of their healthcare team to create a comprehensive bio-individual approach to their health. I fill in the gap between your visits with your healthcare team, offering support and guidance to cultivate motivation toward the goals you identify are important to you.